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Hey Tester: Are you still wary of Agile?

  • 12/10/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Coming from what I like to call the “old school” of testing, agile presented itself somewhat strange to me. While the idea of diluting the roles within a development project might improve communication in the team, it could (and did more than once) end in anarchy.

What agile can …

Now, I don’t want this to be understood as a rant against agile methods. A lot of you out there are executing agile development projects with great success. Especially in today’s strongly diversified development landscape with mini- and micro-applications, an agile team can define, design, and deliver faster and much more responsive to changing requirements than one whose process is based on traditional models.

… and can’t achieve

But: A project team will reach a point when an “everyone does a little bit of everything”-approach is prone to fail, simply because too much individuals are involved. It is usually that point, when teams find out that a little more structure could have favored the development process. Unfortunately, it is too late to go back to waterfall development by then.

Certified Agile Tester?

Mainly the undefined role of the tester prevented me from getting to close to agile methods – up until earlier this year when I first heard about Certified Agile Tester. The idea behind this combined training and certification-program is targeting directly at the main problem for testers who want to or have to work agile. Basically, the scheme takes the idea of agile working and adds structure and rules where they are required.

Content of the training

I accomplished the Certified Agile Tester training myself, and one thing that stands out in particular with this training program is the close connection between theoretical knowledge and practical exercises. During the four day course you are constantly switching between some theory bits and some work that needs to be done.

Actually, it is the other way around: My trainer used to throw us in at the deep end. Of course, we didn’t do so well. But seeing our own mistakes, reflecting them in discussions and being able to try again and again proved to be much more lasting than our usual front-desk teaching. One exercise required to build a specific object with construction bricks. Of course, the requirements were foggy at best, so it was up to us to define when to work on the product, and when it was required to get in touch with the product owner for a feedback on the current shape of the project.
The four-day training covers all areas to get you ready for agile testing. The certification part is unorthodox as well: You are required to succeed in a theoretical, a practical and a soft skills assessment. For more details on certification you should get in touch with the people at the International Software Quality Institute (iSQI) , who will be on the Eurostar Conference, too.

What is your experience?

As far as I know, the Certified Agile Tester is offered in most of the EU as well as South Africa, Australia and India. Chances are good that some of you have already passed the training and work as an agile tester. So, if any CATs read this blog, I would like to get your view on the Certified Agile Tester, how it changed your testing style or your approach to project management. Just leave a comment, I am curious on your experience.

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