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Synchronizing Software Testing with Agile Requirements Practices. Jean McAuliffe, Dean Leffingwell May 2005. Jean McAuliffe Product Manager, Rally Software Development 2 years Agile Development, Certified Scrum Master Former Senior QA Manager for Rational RequisitePro.

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Synchronizing software testing with agile requirements practices

Synchronizing Software Testing with Agile Requirements Practices

Jean McAuliffe, Dean Leffingwell

May 2005

Background on speakers

Jean McAuliffe Practices

Product Manager, Rally Software Development

2 years Agile Development, Certified Scrum Master

Former Senior QA Manager for Rational RequisitePro.

Over 15 years experience in all aspects of software development (defining, developing, testing, training and supporting) for Software Development, Bio-Engineering and Aerospace companies

Dean Leffingwell

Advisor and coach to a number of developmental-stage software businesses.

Former Senior VP of Rational Software Corporation where he was responsible for the commercial introduction of the Rational Unified Process.

Lead author of the text Managing Software Requirements: Second Edition: A Use Case Approach, Addison Wesley, 2003

Background on Speakers

Abstract Practices

  • Agile requirements practices generally defer commitment to artifacts such as requirements until the “last responsible moment.” This challenges the test team to stay continuously synchronized with the product owners and developers as they have little lead time, if any, from the time requirements are available until the time the test artifacts must be in place.

  • This presentation describes the organizational and technical challenges associated with just-in-time agile requirements practices and techniques test teams can use to address them.


Agenda Practices

Context for Agile Testing

Technical Challenges

Organizational Challenges

Keys for Success

Excerpts from the agile manifesto
Excerpts from the Agile Manifesto Practices


  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.

  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

A generalized agile release process
A Generalized Agile Release Process Practices


Iteration 3

Iteration …


Iteration 1

Iteration 2


  • Feature 8

  • Feature 9

  • Feature 10

  • ….

  • Do Feature 1

  • Do Feature 2

  • Do Feature 3a

  • Do Feature 3b

  • Do Feature 4a

  • Do Feature 4b

  • Do Feature 5

  • Do Feature 4c

  • Do Feature 6

  • Do Feature 7

  • Feature 1

  • Feature 2

  • Feature 3

  • ….

  • Feature 9

Agile iteration cadence
Agile Iteration Cadence Practices


Are Refined

Demo & Retro

Detailed Iteration

Planning & Design

Dev Feature

Priority 1


Dev Feature

Priority 4


Auto. Tests

Feature 1

Auto. Tests

Feature 4

Initial Elaboration


With Tests

Dev Feature

Priority 2


Dev Feature

Priority 5


Auto. Tests

Feature 2

Auto. Tests

Feature 5

Dev Feature

Priority 3


Auto. Tests

Feature 3

Iteration N-1

Iteration N+1

Iteration N

What s different about testing in agile
What’s Different about Testing in Agile? Practices

  • Just-In Time Requirements Elaboration

    • No SRS-level waterfall documents to drive testing plan

    • Requirements and Test Cases developed in parallel or test first strategy

  • More Frequent Iterations, More Frequent Releases

    • Testing needs to happen Early and Often

    • Frequent to continuous regression testing

    • High need to automate nearly everything

    • Everyone needs to Test

  • Two Levels of Testing

    • Iteration Vs. Release testing patterns

Technical challenges

Technical Challenges Practices

Requirements are changing fast. How does test keep up?

Test early and often. How exactly do we move testing forward?

Need to move off manual testing and more into automation. How does this happen?

Different kinds of testing need to happen at different times. How do these get managed?

Requirements are changing
Requirements are Changing Practices


& Deliver


& Deliver


& Deliver


Fail TCs


& Accept









Requirements changing is a good thing
Requirements Changing is a Good Thing? Practices

  • Probably the hardest agile principle for the team to embrace.

    • Need to elaborate the feature ahead of time

    • There is minimal time to have the team review before the start.

    • Sometimes you have to rewrite

  • Bottom-line: everyone collaborates to make the feature as useful for the customer as possible.

Requirements to test cases
Requirements to Test Cases Practices

  • Use Case Scenario Tests are perfect Acceptance Tests

  • Use Case A

    • Scenario 1 Test Case 1

    • Scenario 2 Test Case 2

  • Declarative Requirements that further refine the Use Case may be better suited to going directly to automation

    • Have one Test Case be the container for all of the automation results.

    • All automated tests have to pass before the Test Case passes.

Need to test early and often
Need to Test early and often Practices

  • Need to test early in the Iteration – do not want mini-waterfalls

  • Need to test on check-in – Don’t break the build

  • Need to test nightly – Don’t wait for a Regression Iteration

Mike cohn s testing pyramid

GUI Acceptance Practices



Unit Tests

Mike Cohn’s Testing Pyramid

  • Small number

  • Automate many

  • Find the right ones

  • Largest numbers

  • Foster Test Driven Design







Break the manual testing paradigm
Break the Manual Testing Paradigm Practices

  • Easy to Create

  • Very familiar – what we always do

  • Typically tedious

  • How do we know coverage?

Manual GUI Acceptance


  • Need Automation specialists

  • Automation good for performance

  • Seems like we always rewrite

  • Sometimes fragile

Automated GUI Tests



  • What is Dev testing?

  • How do we know what these are?

  • How do we know when they fail?







Manual testing conundrum
Manual Testing Conundrum Practices

  • “You can never have too many manual acceptance tests”

    • Manual tests are cute little bunnies, before you know it you have hundreds or thousands in your regression suite

    • You inadvertently dig a hole you can never get out of

    • Whole team had to help run regression suite

  • Defect count typically is high

    • Most defects were found as manual tests were elaborated

    • Regression tests typically didn’t find many defects

    • Commonly found defects – things we didn’t think of

Better but not perfect testing architecture

Manual GUI Acceptance Practices


Automated GUI Tests

& FitNesse

Unit Tests

Better, But Not Perfect Testing Architecture

  • Still too many here

  • Add FitNesse

  • Increase Coverage

  • Increase Capability




Keys to overcome the technical challenges
Keys to Overcome the Technical Challenges Practices

  • Continuous Builds

  • Nightly Regression testing

  • Find a way to increase FitNesse testing at the application layer

  • Make Unit Testing a priority

  • From found defects – create automated tests that go into Regression

Organizational challenges

Organizational Challenges Practices

Dev as Testers and Testers as Dev – how does that happen?

Resistance to Change – how do we get the team to welcome and embrace changes and not feel threatened?

Testers are an integral part of the team- do we need to re-organize to make this happen?

I m a developer not a tester
I’m a Developer, Not a Tester Practices

  • Pretty typical to hear push back from developers that they

    • Don’t have time to do all of this testing

    • Number of features delivered will go down

    • Don’t really want to do all this testing

  • Testers can help

    • Provide guidance on how to break software, art of creative destruction

    • Pair testing with developers works well

  • Have developers help out with manual regression testing.

    • “Can’t I write a test for this instead of running it manually?”

I m a tester not a developer
I’m a Tester Not a Developer Practices

  • Pretty typical to hear from testers

    • That they don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable about coding

    • That they maybe won’t be needed anymore

  • Developers can help

    • Developers can create the fixtures (code running the test) needed to make FitNesse testing work

    • To make it easier to auto test the code at the GUI level

Resisting change
Resisting Change Practices

  • Resistance is common

    • It is easier to do what is familiar, than risk something new

    • Time-challenges may keep you doing the old way

    • Fear of failing keeps you in the status quo

  • Get the whole team involved in trying to change

    • Team needs to figure what works best

    • Don’t feel like you have to do everything all at once

    • Keep learning and adapting

Testers on the team
Testers on the Team Practices

  • Your organization may have testing as a separate group – look for ways to integrate them into the team

    • Creating feature or component teams comprised of all disciplines is one way

  • Co-location is a great way to hear and share information

  • Daily stand-ups with the whole team keeps the information current

Keys to overcome the organizational challenges
Keys to Overcome the Organizational Challenges Practices

  • Have Dev help run manual Regression tests

  • Pair Dev and Test on Unit and FitNesse Testing

  • Co-location of all the team

  • Daily Standups

  • Do Retrospectives

Summary Practices

  • Agile Pulls Testing Forward

    • You need to change your tools and approaches to move it forward

    • You might need to change the model/structure of your team

  • With Agile, you will create faster Release cycles, shorter Iterations, more satisfied customers, and team members that enjoy what they are doing

Useful references
Useful References Practices

  • Beck, Kent, Test-Driven Development By Example, Addison Wesley, 2003

  • Cohn, Mike, User Stories Applied For Agile Software Development, Addison Wesley, 2003

  • Crispin, Lisa, House, Tip, Testing Extreme Programming, Addison Wesley, 2003

  • Leffingwell, Dean, Widrig, Don,Managing Software Requirements: Second Edition: A Use Case Approach, Addison Wesley, 2003

Thank You PracticesContact InfoJean: [email protected]: [email protected]?

Copyright 2003-2005, Rally Software Development Corp