F12 – 204: Building a Solid Foundation For Agile Testing

Track: Agile Testing

Software testing in Agile development environments has become a popular topic recently. This may be due to the fact that some Agile methodologies, most notably eXtreme Programming (XP), emphasize the process of writing the code and say little about the role of the QA group. This has led some to believe that conventional testing is unnecessary in Agile environments. Further, some feel that all testing in Agile should be automated, diminishing both the role and the value of the professional tester. While automated testing is essential in Agile methodologies, it is by no means sufficient to ensure an application’s readiness for deployment. Manual testing has a significant part to play, too.

Successful Agile testing depends on a strategy built on four pillars: automated unit testing, automated acceptance testing, automated regression testing, and manual exploratory testing. As with the columns that are used to hold up the roof of a building, no single pillar is able to support the entire load. The four are interdependent, and each provides benefits that are necessary for the others to succeed. In addition, they provide a system of checks and balances that allows the strengths of one to compensate for the weaknesses of the others. Each pillar is the responsibility of a different group within the Agile development team, and when everyone does his or her part, the result is a solution where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Session Takeaways:

  • Gain an understanding of the challenges faced when testing in Agile environments
  • Learn how automated unit testing, automated acceptance testing, automated regression testing, and manual exploratory testing provide a solid foundation on which a successful testing organization can be built
  • Learn why the pillars are interdependent and understand why the absence of one leaves a gap in the testing effort

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Session Speaker:

Robert WalshRobert Walsh – Senior Consultant, Excalibur Solutions, Inc.
Over the course of his career, Robert has been a teacher, a hardware technician, an IT director, a trainer, a programmer, and a business owner. His unique blend of skills in education, technology, and business allow him to communicate effectively with people in different roles within an organization.

Robert believes strongly in delivering quality solutions that solve real customer problems and provide tangible business value. Since 2002, he has been a proponent of Agile software development processes and techniques. He helped bring Agile processes to EnvisionWare, a company that he co-founded in October 1998. Now, with Excalibur Solutions, he is working to help other companies transition to Agile.