Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Tue, 15 Jul 2003

The Agile Context (continued)

I'm on vacation near Boston, so naturally I decided to take Ken Schwaber's ScrumMaster training course. (In my own defense, tomorrow is the water park.) What's a ScrumMaster? The closest analogue in conventional projects is the manager, but the ScrumMaster has very different goals:

  • "Removing the barriers between development and the customer so the customer directly drives development;

  • "Teaching the customer how to maximize ROI and reach their objectives through Scrum;

  • "Improving the lives of the development team by facilitating creativity and empowerment;

  • "Improving the productivity of the development team in any way possible; and

  • "Improving the engineering practices and tools so that each increment of functionality is potentially shippable."

The thing that most appeals to me about Scrum is the way the ScrumMaster is totally devoted to the success of the development team. There are three people I would unhesitatingly accept as my manager. Ken is one. Johanna Rothman is another. My wife Dawn is the third.

In any case, I recommend the course, even if you - like me - doubt you'll ever be a ScrumMaster on a Scrum project. (I am not a person I'd unhesitatingly accept as my manager.) It's important to know about the different agile approaches, to do some compare and contrast.

Ken reminded me of two more additions to my list of Things Agilists Want to be True.

  • Written documentation is impoverished and slow compared to face-to-face communication. For software development, the advantages of written communication - permanence, replicability, etc. - are exaggerated. How many of those advantages can you do without? How can you attain them without dislodging face-to-face communication from its central role?

    When writing the above, bug reports leapt to my mind. We testers are greatly attached to the bug report as a written artifact. Many of us (including me) write and speak about the need to craft the writing well. For example, Cem Kaner's Bug Advocacy notes have some fantastic text about the importance of crafting a good subject line. The skills he teaches are essential in bug-heavy environments with contending political factions and testers on the periphery of attention. But do our bug-reporting habits serve us well in an agile context?

  • Iterations must deliver increments of potentially shippable, business-relevant functionality. When you do not tie project activities to that, you stand a great risk of succumbing to self-indulgence. Don't risk it.

## Posted at 18:24 in category /context_driven_testing [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
  2. A test should deduce its setup path
  3. Convert the suite one failure at a time
  4. You should be able to get to any page in one step
  5. Extract fast tests about single pages
  6. Link checking without clicking on links
  7. Workflow tests remain GUI tests
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Design-Driven Test-Driven Design
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