Code of Agile Tester

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Principles of Agile Tester

I’ve been an Agile and Scrum twitter contributor for more than a year already and I have read countless blogs and articles about Scrum and Agile Development. There’s this one Agile article that I really like and I want it to share with you. This article is entitled Ten Principles of Agile Tester. Author Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory wrote the recently published Addison-Wesley book Agile Testing, a book that fills a much-needed break in agile literature. It is a detailed guidance for testing in an agile environment. However, in this article I picked the important ones based on my experience that helped me do my work better.

1. Provide Constant Feedback — The agile tester is the one who is providing the team with feedback: One of which is providing daily status reports wherein it contains the testing duration, types of tests made, total number of bugs found, total number of bugs fixed, total number of bugs remaining and issues/concern regarding the project. This will help the team to track whether the system is ready for release or not.

2. Have Courage — This is one of the larger challenges of agile is nourishing a swift iterative environment, where every three to four weeks we need to deploy quality software. This certainly demands significant courage. Yet the irony is that we also need to understand that iterations give us opportunities to learn how to fail and adapt something that require an even heavier dose of courage!

3. Keep it Simple — This principle has two significant usage to me. One is that an Agile tester can aid the insistence on overly-elaborate features. Testers can help the customer appreciate and know the necessary features that a system should have. In this way, customers may lessen enhancements which are not needed by the system. Second, tester can help developers understand the features that are needed to be done by providing simple list of bug records. This may help the team in meeting the expected time of deployment (or not).

4. Practice Continuous Improvement — The reason why we are using iteration is to allow learning to take place. Testers should be part of the retrospectives (and if you’re not consistently adapting based on the results of retrospectives, you’re not agile enough). Testers should also consider their career as a profession by continually learning. Technology is fast approaching and it is certain that as the technology goes swiftly, testers should also keep abreast with the latest tool, testing techniques and systems to keep pace on the technology we have right now.

5. Respond to Change — Here in our company, enhancements and change request are not new to us, and as an agile tester and as a person working in an agile environment, we need to cope with the customer changing his or her mind from iteration to iteration, and correspondingly learns how to incrementally flesh out necessary testing specifications.

6. Self-Organize — An agile tester should be organize, especially in releasing bug reports. It must be categorized by priority to determine the bugs that are needed to be fixed a head of time. This will help the team accomplish whatever task they have and meet the deadline.

7. Enjoy — The ability to help drive the process and be a true, equal contributor to a team can be extremely gratifying for an agile tester. Enjoying and embracing what you were doing is one of the biggest factor for a person to stay in a certain organization.

I chose only seven from the list because I find this seven much essential from the other principle that I did not choose namely Deliver value to the customer, Enable face to face communication and Focus on People. If you have all the principles stated but you’re not enjoying what you are doing, well I guess it’s useless. Because being a tester is not just testing a software and giving bug reports, it’s all about enjoying and loving what you’re doing to be successful and feel successful.

3 thoughts on “Code of Agile Tester

  1. Hi Ellaine,

    Nice Article.

    You may also want to take a look at a great talk from well respected Agile tester Elisabeth Hendrickson. Here’s a Youtube video of her Google Techtalk way back in 2005.

    A nice quote from her which relatea to your principle about enjoying what you do as a tester – “I felt loved and appreciated, now that’s a weird feeling for a tester”…

  2. This presentation provides an overview of the role of testers on agile teams. In essence, the differences between testers and developers should blur so that focus is the whole team completing stories and delivering value. Testers can add more value on agile teams by contributing earlier and moving from defect detection to defect prevention.

  3. Hi Teri,

    I like your statement “moving from defect detection to defect prevention”… this is exactly an agile principle that should be practiced.
    Unit testing and automated integration testing helps…


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