Friday, November 20, 2009

Agile Testing, by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

Agile Testing: A Practical Guide For Testers and Agile Teams, by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

Agile isn’t about speed, it is about quality. While speed is obviously an attractive element of the methodology, if the resulting software is buggy then it doesn’t really matter how quickly it gets released. For many teams, especially young ones, how to work QA into a sprint cycle isn’t clear. This book is an excellent treatise into how testing and agile can work hand in hand.

Unlike waterfall processes, there usually isn’t a separate team responsible for testing in agile. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for traditional QA personnel, though; in fact, a QA skill set is even more important because without a dedicated test team, developers end up doing more of the testing work. With dev executing test cases, the QA folks can apply themselves to exploratory testing, usability testing, and generally non-developer-think testing. The authors state “successful projects are a result of good people allowed to do good work;” this mix of skills and duties is what allows for both speed and quality to be maintained in a project.

What makes this book great, though, is that it covers not only roles and methods of agile testing, but metrics as well. Metrics are always an interesting topic in agile, because each self-organizing team will have different methods, making measurements difficult to standardize. The authors recognize this, and wisely warn against reading too much into the measures, too. “Having the number of unit tests go up every day is a nice bit of feedback... However, it is important to recognize that the number itself means nothing.” In this sense, the implication is that a large number of useless tests doesn’t add value, even if the metric is always increasing.

Easy to read, Gregory and Crispin have authored a very useful reference that should be on the shelf of every agile team.

First Sentence:
“Agile” is a buzzword that will probably fall out of use someday and make this book seem obsolete.


Klobetime said...

This is a terrible review—poorly written and organized. The book deserves much better.

Daun said...

I liked it. In fact, I sent it to my current boss. I think he team could benefit from this book. Thanks for reviewing it!

I hope all is well down in Tejas!

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