Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Do Nots of Software Testing - a #pnsqc Live Blog

Melissa Tondi makes a point that, at this and many other conferences, we learn a lot of things we should do. She's taking a different tack and suggesting things we should not be doing.

Do NOT Be the Enabler

I can relate to this in the sense that, in a number of sprints or times of challenge, we jump in and we become the hero (sometimes). However, there is a danger here and that danger is that it can communicate to others on the team that things can wait because the test team will be the ones to make sure it gets in under the wire. Possibly, but then that also means there may be things we miss because of being left at the end.

Risk-based and Context-driven testing approaches can help here, and we can do quality testing without necessarily driving ourselves to distraction but ultimately if we are in a situation where we can see that we are going to find that testing is about to enter an enabling phase, we as a team need to be able to figure out how to not allow that enabling to happen. As Scrum Master on my team, I am actually in a good position to make sure that this doesn't happen (or at least I can give my best effort to help see that that doesn't happen if possible).

Do NOT Automate Everything

I agree with this. I think there are important aspects that can and should be automated, especially if it helps us avoid busywork. However, when we focus on the "Everything" we end up losing focus and perhaps developing better solutions, not to mention having to charge through a lot of busywork. We should emphasize that automation help make us more efficient. If we are not achieving that, we need to push back and ask why or determine what we could/should be doing. In my world view, what I want to determine is "what am I doing that takes a lot of time and is repetitious?" Additionally, there are methods of automation that are better than others. Simon Stewart gave a great talk on this at STPcon in Newport Beach this year, so I suggest looking up that talk and reviewing it.

Do NOT Have QA-ONLY" Sprints of Cycles

If you hear the term "hardening sprint", then that's what this is. The challenge of this is that there is a lot of regression testing that needs to be processed and has the potential of losing both momentum and time as we find areas that don't mesh well together. Melissa describes "The ABC Rule":

- Always Be Coupled (with dev)
  Try to keep development and testing work coupled as closely as possible

Do NOT Own All Testing

Software Testing needs to happen at all levels. If a team has developers that have all of the testing aspects performed by the testing group, that's both a danger and a missed opportunity. By encouraging testing at all levels of development, the odds of delivering real quality product goes up considerably.

Do NOT Hide Information

This is trickier than it sounds. We are not talking about lying or hiding important things that everyone should know. This is more the danger of implicit information that we might know and act on but may not even be aware of it. We need to commit to making information as explicit as we possibly can and certainly do so when we become aware of it. If we determine information is needed to be known and then we don't act on it, then we are just as guilty as if we deliberately hid important information.

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