Review of the Agile Connexions Meetup event hosted at Trainline. A presentation by Schalk Cronjé on Agile Testing.
Testing is an ever-changing discipline that has been disrupted and reworked after the dawn of Agile development. Traditional testing has made way for leaner, more focused alternatives- where it was once relegated to being a post-development step in Waterfall, testing has since been redefined as an integral part of Agile development and adapted to suit the faster pace of Continuous Delivery. Old practices have been re-examined and changed beyond recognition… but is Agile testing doing anything new? Is it delivering value, or is it too focused on process and management instead?
Schalk Cronjé turned to ancient texts and philosophies to question whether or not Agile testing had stayed true to its principles or if we, as testers, had lost track of what we were doing. He suggested that the focus of Agile testing and development had shifted to tools, processes and methods and away from the more philosophical question of “why [we do] what we are doing”. Relating his own experiences of working in and managing small, cross-functional teams, Cronjé explained that a leaner, harmonious and more responsive workflow could be disrupted or destroyed by the imposition of unnecessary governance from new management or external entities. He also emphasised the importance of working closely together in teams- testing is often a collaborative process and is assisted by tools that utilise Behaviour-Driven Development. Working together also improves tacit knowledge within a cross-functional team, which reduces waste caused by lost knowledge, handoffs and last-minute defects.
Instead of focusing on following methodologies, Cronjé suggested that teams should focus on delivering value. Referencing Kautilya’s Artashastra (and echoing the ethos of Continuous Delivery), he proposed that teams could reduce waste by delivering more low-value projects at a low cost, as opposed to delivering high-cost projects less frequently. Cronjé closed the talk by saying that effective testing focuses on value and not on maintaining wasteful governance.
You may also be interested in reading “Fear is Waterfall”