Top positive review
38 of 41 people found this helpful
A much needed book. A must read.
on January 7, 2009
"Agile Testing" is an excellent and must-needed book related to testing in agile product development. Much has been written about test-driven development on unit level, however, little has been written on higher level testing and the role of testers and test departments in Agile development. This book changes that!
The book consists of 6 parts. The first part if an introduction, the last part is a summary. The introduction starts with a short explanation of agile testing and then followed by the ten principles of an Agile Tester. One of the key messages in this book is "the whole team approach", meaning that testing should be within the team and should not just be "the testers job". Anyone in the team can test, however, teams will probably still benefit from having a test specialist of a test expert. This mindset is one of the key thoughts the book repeats over and over again. In the last chapter, the authors summarize their thoughts with the seven key success factors for testing. Again, "the whole team approach" is #1. The agile testing mindset -- the proactive, creative cooperative mindset as opposed to a quality policy mindset -- is the second success factor.
The second part of the book describes organizational challenges. In my opinion, this part was perhaps the most needed. In many organizations testers struggle to find their role on agile product development. The chapter relate to cultural change, team logistics and transitioning typical processes. I thought the chapters were enlightening. Parts I liked were the discussion about the change in role for QA managers and especially the experience that, without proper coaching, a lot of traditional testing people might simply flee your agile development effort.
The third part of the book takes Brian Maricks four testing quadrants and explains these in details. These quadrants describe the different types of testing and how they would happen in agile development. The unit testing part is not covered thoroughly, as the authors (correctly) mention that this is covered well by other literature. The higher-level functional (acceptance) testing is covered well, including advise on automation. Exploratory testing is also covered in detail and explains its role in agile development clearly. Non-functional testing is covered reasonably well, especially considering that this depends so much on the type of product you are developing.
The fourth part of the book focuses more on test automation. I didn't find much new information in here, though it was a good summary of modern test automation and some of the challenges and difference between traditional test automation.
Part five follows an agile tester though an agile project and explains for every step in an agile project what the role of an agile tester is. It starts with the role in release planning and estimating. Then it explains the preparation before an iteration (product backlog refinement) and how early example tests can (should) be written. It continues with iteration planning and then the actual activities an agile tester would do during the iteration. This part also includes the important discussion related to the use of bug tracking systems. The part ends with the iteration review/retrospective and some final works about the actual delivery.
As mentioned, in my opinion, a good book on agile testing was absolutely needed. And the authors do not disappoint at all. Their knowledge about the subject is obvious. They have put much effort in sharing actual experiences by the many sidebox experience sharing stories. They touch the seldom touched parts related to organizations and roles and transitioning. Their writing is clear, though sometimes repeats itself (but not so that it is annoying). Not much topics are left unanswered, the book is thorough.
All in all, this book is exactly the kind of book that was needed. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in agile development and especially testers who have a hard time finding their new roles. Great work! Five stars.