Tips for manual testers working in an agile environment
This book is 60% complete
Last updated on 2014-07-23
About the Book
Whenever I join an agile team I ask myself the following question. How can I provide meaningful, quality-related feedback in a way that is compatible with the values and pace of agile software delivery, whilst maintaining independence, diligence and predictability?
You would be forgiven for thinking that after many years of asking myself this question I would have converged on a common answer. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that every agile team is different and must continually be the subject of various experiments and trials to help the team evolve a blend of testing practices that will aid them in achieving their particular testing goals.
It is for this reason that I have decided to write a book of tips for manual testers working in an agile environment, rather than step by step tutorials for specific testing practices. It is through these snippets of information that I hope to seed new ideas in your mind that will inspire you alter the way you work by trying something new.
Maybe that new thing will work for you; maybe it won’t. Either way, you will have expanded your experience of testing in an agile team through your own success or woes. This, in my opinion, is a great way to study the craft of testing and continue to improve as a tester. I wish you the best of luck in all your agile testing endeavours and I hope you enjoy the tips. You can read them in any order you like.
The following tips are available in the current version of the book.
Tip 2: Tailor your agile testing practices to meet your specific needs
Tip 3: Understand the risks associated with manual test scripts
Tip 4: When testing or preparing, don’t allow yourself to be blocked
Tip 6: Enrich your knowledge and expectations using multiple oracles
Tip 7: Favour dedicated learning resources to educate new testers
Tip 8: Before you document information, question who it is for
Tip 9: Help your team by undertaking work that isn’t testing
Tip 11: Follow an exploratory approach to your testing
Tip 12: Keep supporting information in a single place (not in your tests)
Tip 13: Set testing objectives that realistically align with regular releases
Tip 14: Be cautious of any sprint that is organised like a waterfall
Tip 16: Share common information with other members of the team
Tip 17: Use traditional testing tools in a way that makes you agile
Tip 18: Ask yourself what you can do to improve overall team performance
Tip 20: Value demonstrations from developers as a source of information
Tip 21: Use self-generated maps to help organise your testing
Tip 22: Look for opportunities to generalise less relevant interactions
Tip 23: Offer to demonstrate the team’s software to your customer
Tip 24: Resist overlaying traditional testing processes onto a sprint
Tip 26: Describe tests using design techniques and a coverage target
Tip 27: Learn how to spot risky automation: an upside-down pyramid
Tip 28: Learn how to spot risky automation: infrequent execution
Tip 29: Learn how to spot risky automation: most runs “fail”
Tip 30: Consider visual ways of representing your tests
Tip 32: However you document your manual tests, don’t repeat yourself
Tip 33: Attend the daily stand-up to keep in sync with your team
Tip 34: Be prepared to occasionally trade testing early for technical debt
Tip 36: Invent a multi-dimensional scale to discuss documentation detail
Tip 38: Question the efficiency of representing each test separately
Tip 41: Test multiple stories together to uncover different perspectives
Tip 42: When you describe your tests, don’t just copy existing documents
Tip 43: Agree a simple means of visually tracking your testing
Tip 46: Use existing documents as a canvas for test ideas and bug reports
The tips below are currently being written and will be included in a future version of the book.
Tip 1: Appreciate that an agile tester never blindly follows a tip or practice
Tip 5: Don’t try to test so quickly that you slow yourself down
Tip 10: Ask questions, but if nobody knows the answer, research yourself
Tip 15: Look to automated tests for inspiration for manual test ideas
Tip 19: Learn how your software works under the covers
Tip 25: Consider using the gherkin notation to record manual tests
Tip 31: Use abstractions to help you plan, but don’t lose focus on reality
Tip 35: Build a support network of people that can aid your testing
Tip 37: Familiarise yourself with how agile teams organise “requirements”
Tip 39: Appreciate examples, even those that aren’t automated
Tip 40: Regularly remind people that testing is everyone’s responsibility
Tip 44: Encourage your team to automate their build and deployment
Tip 45: Agree a place for everything and keep everything in its place
Tip 47: Consider bringing many tests together into a single checklist
Tip 48: Try to avoid requesting unwanted features via the backdoor
Tip 49: TBC
Tip 50: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever”
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