Redesigning Testing Processes
Agile software development has been refined to the point where it is a serious alternative to the Rational Unified Process (RUP) or V-model. Unlike conventional project planning, the agile approach is streamlined to include only a small number of roles and clear-cut proceedings, with two to four-week cycles, called “sprints,” used in place of milestones. The more manageably sized teams communicate daily (“face to face”) and work is performed on a self-organized basis as far as possible. Agile software development requires a redesign of existing testing processes, and the role of the tester also changes. Whereas testers traditionally remain external to the development team as a “neutral authority,” the agile approach calls for testers to be an integral part of development. Agile teams are heterogeneous and interdisciplinary, combining software development know-how with sound business and quality assurance knowledge. Typically, agile testers are faced with the challenge of delivering results in a very short period of time – for they are asked to “accomplish within a few days what normally takes weeks or months to accomplish in conventional testing projects.“
Agile testers require competencies and experience in four key areas:
- To be successful within an agile team, a tester’s technical competencies should ideally include several years of experience as a software developer.
- Similar to explorative processes, agile testing also requires knowledge of the functional requirements and an ability to communicate them. In particular, agile testers act as “guardians” of user interests.
- Software test automation is a necessity to ensure that test cases can be accomplished within the given time. Experience with test automation tools is therefore required for efficient and effective automation.
- Above all, agile testing demands excellent communication skills. This means testers must be team players with an ability to think in terms of the big picture. OBJENTIS’ agile testers bring all of the above competencies to the job – be it to conduct risk analyses, to support clients with software delivery cost estimates, to help define user stories, or to maintain agile artifacts. Ultimately, they are highly competent advocates of the agile methodology.
Agile projects demand a big-picture perspective and the ability to think beyond individual roles. OBJENTIS consultants actively support the client in establishing the necessary mindset, thus helping to speed up the agile transformation process.