Mon, 09 Aug 2004
Testing contributions to the Agile Times
I edit the "Testing Tips" section of the Agile Times, the Agile Alliance newsletter. You can find sample copies here:
The latest issue is only available to Agile Alliance members.
If you'd like to send a testing-related article to me, please do. Articles are usually short - a few hundred words. I like
practical content: "I tried
this. You could too." Jeff Patton's and Zhon Johansen's
would make a swell article.
it comes before August 25, your article could make it into the next
issue, but send articles any time to firstname.lastname@example.org. Expect light and shared editing before
Update: fixed broken link.
## Posted at 21:14 in category /agile
There's an interview with me at
I'm rather pleased with this answer:
Q: ... What is your assessment of the impact [the
A: ... the impact? I'm writing this on the plane back from
the Agile Development Conference. Do you realize what it's like to
talk to people who love their job? Who feel like at last
they're allowed to produce at their peak? Without the Agile
Manifesto, many people's jobs would be worse.
The emotion behind that answer looms ever larger. Why do I push the
One of my two main reasons is the chance to
reclaim joy in work.
## Posted at 15:39 in category /misc
Out of the side of your eye
A nice story from Jeff Patton, told on the
Usability mailing list. Copied with permission.
He was in a very strong XP organization with big investment in unit
and acceptance tests. When the acceptance tests ran, the gui popped
up and danced around for 15 or 20 minutes as if a really really fast
ghost user was running the app. [picture Data on star trek] No one
needed to see it, so it often ran on an integration machine in the
corner. One day someone who focused on the UI was having a
conversation with a developer and caught a view of the acceptance test
running out of the corner of their eye. "Hey - that's wrong!" he
said. Developer says: "Hmm... it shouldn't be, the acceptance tests
pass." UI guy: "No, I saw it as it flashed by, the fields on form X
were positioned incorrectly." They went back and checked, and they
were indeed wrong.
When I visited their shop acceptance tests were running on any unused
machine in the development environment. "We catch errors this way."
my friend said. They'd started to rely on people catching things out
of the corner of their eye while doing something else. They'd caught
several issue this way. Me asking why they did this prompted him to
tell this story.
It's amazing to me how fast the eyes and brain can parse a complex
image and sense something out of order. For some tasks it's pretty
difficult to write code that outperforms the brain.
Update: Jeff queried the original teller, Zhon Johansen, who wrote
back. (Copied without permission; don't hurt me, Zhon.)
I liked your telling of the story. Only a couple of differences between
the two tellings: 1) Lorin, an AT test writer, noticed the bug; and 2)
the bug was a core issue. (We almost had the bug fixed before the ATs
If Lorin or any of our AT test writers had been concerned with
usability, I am sure they would have noticed usability bugs. As this was
not an isolated incident, it could easily have happened with
It was a beautifully told story with perfect intent.
This isn't quite a
Big Visible Chart, but it's something
## Posted at 14:55 in category /testing
Workshop reminder: Tests as Documentation
I've posted before about a workshop that Jonathan Kohl and I are doing
at XP/Agile Universe titled "Tests as Documentation".
If you were planning to come, let me remind you of this: "We encourage
anyone working on a software project who writes tests to [...] bring
their tests and code with them."
It'd be a good time to start picking some tests to bring. Thanks.
## Posted at 14:54 in category /2004conferences