Track Talk Th12

Dark Testing: Anti-Patterns and Failure Stories in Testing

Szilard Szell

13:45-14:45 Thursday 13th June

I work as a Test Coach in a large organisation. Last Friday, after a week of PI Planning preparation, seeing that all Test improvement initiatives were down-prioritised by the organisation (the ART), I cried out loud “What am I doing here? This is just wasting my time!”. I shared my pain in my Agile coach team. They stood up to help me emotionally, telling stories of their own Agile coaching failures, the stories of how Agile implementation is broken. They called these stories “the Dark Agile”. This gave me the idea to turn to our testing community of practice, and ask them for their Dark Testing stories. Surprisingly, in 15 minutes, I have received 32 answers, 32 different testing smells.

In my presentation, I would like to share some of our stories with analysis of why these patterns could be seen as “normal” within the organisation (while they are not!). I will also give ideas on how to solve them with proper change management, coaching or technical solutions

A few Dark Agile stories:

  • Asymmetrical testing: Tests are run in different pipeline or outside of the development pipeline and the deployment happens no matter what is the test case results
  • KPIs Tricked: CI blocks deployment unless unit tests have 70% line coverage. So… developers wrote the unit tests, but without any assertions whatsoever, so essentially the tests were running without actually testing anything.
  • “Following a plan over reacting to change”: creating a massive testing plan, to be treated as the holy bible against which progress is measured.
  • WaterScrumFall: The backlog has “Testing” Features that are surprisingly “spill-over” to be finished in the next Increment. Oh, in case there is not something more important to do
  • Test-Last-Thinking: Definition of Ready does not include test thinking. It is an afterthought only