Test Automation on an Agile Project: An Interview with Alexander Andelkovic


We recently had the opportunity to speak with Alexander Andelkovic, who works as a test lead for Spotify in Stockholm, Sweden. Alexander is a driving force for implementing agile model-based testing techniques and is an ambassador for session-based test management.

Alexander Andelkovic is a test lead at Spotify in Stockholm, Sweden. An exploratory tester with more than fifteen years of experience in the software industry, We recently spoke with Alexander ahead of his presentation titled “Making the Most of Test Automation on an Agile Project” that he’ll give at STARWEST 2012 on Wednesday, October 3rd. 

Noel Wurst: What are the advantages of session-based test management?

Alexander Andelkovic: Exploratory testing (ET) is a powerful complementary testing method but in most cases it is difficult to manage ET, and to spread knowledge. This is due to the fact that most of the testing results remain undocumented. Session-based test management (SBTM) is a good way to timebox and follow up ET for an agile test organization.

Noel Wurst: Are there any scenarios where session-based test management would not be ideal?

Alexander Andelkovic: This would not be ideal inside organizations where a dedicated tester, or test lead/team are not committed to owning and executing SBTM. It's also vital to use a SBTM tool that has been adopted to the testing organization to avoid people spending too much time with the SBTM tool instead of doing actual testing.

Noel Wurst: How exactly does traditional test automation struggle to implement automated tests of new functionality?

Alexander Andelkovic: In agile projects there's too little time (usually only 1-3 weeks) to implement robust test automation. Normally more time is needed and the whole organization needs to be fully behind test automation for it to be successful. Unfortunately, in most cases, test automation is seen as a cost, which can create a struggle with limited resources to keep test automation updated.

Noel Wurst: How does Spotify use rapid test automation?

Alexander Andelkovic: Spotify has realized that manual testers are an untapped resource in the organization that can be used to help implement test automation. The manual testers make their own test automation, which is needed on a daily basis. Valuable automated tests are then shared between manual testers. 

Noel Wurst: What advancements can we expect in test automation's future?

Alexander Andelkovic: We can expect to one day utilize fully automated solutions where humans are not needed to execute the actual test instructions. This technology will gain ground in the future along with a crowd based testing oracle that is nurtured by the crowd.

Noel Wurst: Lastly, what do you hope attendees to your session are able to take back to their own companies/projects?

Alexander Andelkovic: Manual testers should feel encouraged and be more agile by using their own test automation when needed in an agile project. The journey to fully automated testing has started, and I’ll be providing an introduction and an inspiration to see how agile test automation can be incorporated into the attendees’ own company/projects.

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