Guide Your Agile Development with Traceable Tests

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Summary:

Testing professionals who are learning about agile often want to know how they can provide traceability among automated tests, features, and bugs and report on their testing progress. Here, Lisa Crispin gives an example of how her previous team worked together to integrate testing with coding and helped everyone see testing progress at a glance.

Testing professionals who are learning about agile often want to know how they can provide traceability among automated tests, features, and bugs and report on their testing progress. They’ve never worked on a team that guides development with examples and tests, and they want to know how to manage their manual and automated test cases.

When I get these questions, I sometimes try to explain how testing in agile is inherently traceable. When we start developing each story by writing tests, by the time a story is done, it will be adequately covered by automated regression tests at various levels. In addition, a wide range of testing activities—including exploratory testing; other business-facing tests that critique the product, such as usability testing; and technology-facing tests, such as performance and security—will have been completed.

I find it helps agile newbies more if I illustrate this idea by explaining how my own teams have made testing progress visible and kept track of what tests cover which features. Over the years, testers, programmers, and other generalizing specialists on my teams have succeeded in guiding development with executable tests and completing other testing activities by collaborating.

Here's an example of how my previous team worked together to integrate testing with coding and helped everyone see testing progress at a glance.

Planning Our Testing

When our small team (four programmers, three testers, one or two database experts, and one or two system administrators) started on a new epic or big feature, we testers would mind-map test cases and the different types of testing we'd need to do. See Figure 1 for an example of a mind map my team used to plan testing for a theme that was a major rewrite of batch processing of mutual fund trades. We'd go over the mind map with the other team members and product owner, and often other business stakeholders as well. We often did the mind map on a big whiteboard in the team’s work area so everyone could see it and we could easily discuss it whenever we had questions.

Testing mind map for a theme

We created a wiki page for each feature, organized by business functionality. Pictures of the mind maps went here, plus high-level test cases for each story. We also put exploratory testing charters. For big features with lots of stories, we'd have a wiki page for each story.

User Comments

2 comments
Dan ODacre's picture

I love the mindmap approach for generating test ideas! Thx Lisa!!

February 2, 2015 - 9:02am

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