Doing Agile ≠ Being Agile

Testing as a discipline will cover a lot of concepts, but there was something different I heard in the session conducted by Majid Bhatti in the Agile Testing & Test Automation Conference organized by KnowledgeHut in Singapore.

The start itself was interesting as Majid hinted where his inclinations are, which were running two parallel approaches of testing, for Functional Requirements, which are pre-documented and are clearly defined and other for Non-Functional requirements that keep emerging in the go as users disclose those in layers.

He also emphasized over testing first and thus fail fast and recover fast. It is no brainer that if software testing is left for the last, any bugs that are reported either miss the build deadline or take an enormous amount of effort in the far end of the project to go for a bug-free release. This may even derail the timelines or even running into the budget over-runs.

No stakeholder is happy if they get a feature, that runs only halfway and doesn’t do the job, nor they’re happy to shell out more money for something they already expected to be delivered on a certain cost. We in IT, are sometimes warped from common sense and feel budget overruns are common so they’re accepted.

Thus, no wonder with such strong emphasis on testing, Majid turned towards TDD as his favorite strategy for development. He went to the extent that he referred the Testing Manifesto from Karen Greaves and Samantha Laing (Growing Agile), which provides a crystal definition of what we should be focusing while undergoing a software testing process.

Also, he covered the integral theme in which I too believe. Doing Agile ≠ Being Agile. I myself hasve written on this so I won’t be elaborating much here, but what I will mention, is that Majid brings his experience while explaining these concepts and helped the wider audience to introspect on some basic processes we follow on regular basis in our projects.

Lastly, I feel there was 1 image that I felt was iconic to capture the general engagement among developers and testers, and that is feeling of mistrust. In an agile team, people coming in from traditional mindsets will keep facing this challenge and this is where the culture and mentoring can help. Building a real cross-functional team is very difficult, but with diligent efforts, it can be made and sustained to deliver amazing software quality.

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