Agile methods are revolutionizing software development, and one of the key principles of agile development is that developers write tests. But if that's the case, what’s the role of a tester? Do agile teams need members with QA backgrounds? And what does it really mean to be an "agile tester?"
Two of the world's most experienced agile testing practitioners and consultants, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, have teamed up to bring you the definitive answers to these questions. In Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, Crispin and Gregory not only define agile testing and the role of testers in an agile team, they approach the agile testing area from every possible angle, dealing with organizational challenges, teaching you how to use the agile testing quadrants, chronicling an agile software development iteration from the viewpoint of a tester, and explaining the seven key success factors of agile testing.
Review By: Melissa M. Tondi
08/21/2009In the opening sentence of this book, the authors indicate that "'agile' is a buzzword that will probably fall out of use someday and make this book seem obsolete." Within the software development industry, we've seen many methodologies come and go to meet the needs of the company implementing it. However, I believe, although this book is categorized under agile development and testing, the practices and theories described will weather the changing methodology storm. I am a senior manager within the quality assurance industry and my company began implementing agile company-wide about a year ago. One point I felt that was missing in that company-wide roll out was the importance of the agile tester on the team. This book not only concisely summarized the tester's (and other's) roles on the agile team, but it also clearly defines the importance of the role. The lines between the business, development, tester, project management, and user on these teams become a bit more blurred and the team is able to thrive as a whole.
The writing style is clear, concise, and easy to understand. The authors' "story paragraphs" scattered throughout the chapters brought a personal style that made me feel like the book was born out of real-life experiences furthering the credibility of both authors. Each take-away was presented in a sound manner with proper introductions of the point, reasons why it will work, and case studies of how the authors effectively implemented it.
Anyone in a software development organization should read this book. Don't let the title fool you into thinking it's only for testers. If you or your company are considering agile or using some other methodology to deliver software, this book is a worthwhile investment. This book will guide you each step of the way from the moment a team is formed until a project is successfully implemented.
For the QA managers out there, check out chapters four and thirteen. The role of the manager is suggested (and rightly so!) as one of support. Ideally, the team will work out the team's goals and successes. Managers' roles are supportive and guiding, not dictatorial and mandating. For those teams that are wondering where automation plays a part in an agile team, part four presents the foundation and implementation strategy to help your team be successful.
In a company where we are continuing to research the needs for automation and justify the cost of a high-dollar automation tool, chapter 13 sums it up better than anything else I've read: "Automation frees people to do their best work." We all know the benefits on automation, but this book provides suggestions on how to implement it within a team and get results.
Review By: Noreen Dertinger
08/21/2009Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory have addressed many questions about testers and testing on agile projects in this book. The book covers where testers and testing managers fit in, how to transition from a traditional project to agile, how testing can be completed in short iterations, and how to overcome barriers in test automation, and other topics. One message that comes across quite clearly in this book, as well as during Web seminars that I've attended featuring Lisa Crispin, is that quality is not just the responsibility of the testers; it is the responsibility of the entire organization.
Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams is divided into six parts. Part one explains what is agile testing and principles for agile testers. Part II deals with organizational challenges, such as lack of training and not understanding agile concepts, as well as attitude. The authors also cover logisitics (as in team structure, resources etc.) and transitioning typical processes. Part III, IV, and V are the heart of the book. Part III covers testing processes and strategies. Part IV covers automation. Part V is about tester activities during release planning, test iteration planning, coding and testing, wrapping up the iteration, and successful delivery. The final section of the book, Part VI, consists of a single chapter and it summarizes key factors that will help an agile tester succeed.
Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory provide real-life examples from their years of work with agile teams throughout the book to help testers relate to their own experience. These examples are supplemented by pointers to other books and resources by other agile experts. The authors provide enough information to help explain the points they are making without overloading their audience. I found this book to be very helpful in learning about agile testing, issues and questions that may arise, and potential approaches, tools, or solutions that can be used. In summary this book is a valuable resource with a wealth of information for all software development practitioners who are transitioning from traditional lifecycle projects to projects making use of agile methodologies or who are already working on agile projects and would like to learn more about them. I recommend this book be read end to end and then kept close at hand as a reference by all software development professionals.