November 2013 Monthly Meeting Summary
Test Automation Design in an Agile World - Roundtable discussion
Bring your agile project test automation experiences, challenges, successes, and questions to this meeting where we will discuss such topics as:
- How does test automation 'design' fit into the context of agile sprints?
- How is automation design different in agile projects vs 'big automation' efforts?
- What automation design considerations tend to be most important in agile project contexts?
- In an organization with multiple ongoing agile projects, what's the best way to implement/improve
automation design while avoiding duplicated efforts and meeting the needs of different projects?
- Experience reports and lessons learned
Took place on: Wed. November 13 2013 6:30 PM
At the start of the meeting some other potential sub-topics were listed:
Following are some of the comments made during the wide-ranging discussion:
- Considerations of 'Levels' of automation in agile: Unit/API/End-To-End va Small-Medium-Large
- Who is responsible for each level? Dev? Test? other?
- Design for each Level?
- Automation Tasks -points in stories? separate stories? separate tasks?
- Automation common/shared code - -points in stories - which ones? separate stories? separate tasks?
- Automation design and/or tasks - in which sprints? all? early? later sprints?
- On agile teams testers need wide skills including manual and automation skills
- A survey of participants revealed most were doing variations on 'true' agile
- Treatement of automation in within projects or within sprints varied; for some automation efforts were subtasks within sprints
- It was mentioned that what stage a project is in when autaomtion begins and what stage the automation is in may affect how
the automation is tracked/planned in project/sprint
- There was a suggestion of having a separate project/team for automation when a big effort is needed for automation to catch up to the
state of a project, and that they could be assigned sprint tasks or coulkd just provide services to the agile team
- It was mentioned that for many organizations a big question is 'how to get started with automation' in agile
- A suggestion was to get product owners to request things like an automation framework or other items added as stories
- It was suggested that Automation often lags behind dev and is often best for regression; others indicated it was best if
dev and test work closely together on tasks such that automation is done simultaneously with development
- A point was made that agile works best when automated tests are run on every build
- Some assigned hours not points to tasks/stories in sprints
- It was pointed out that sprints don't have to be 2 weeks - suggestion was 2-6 weeks
- There was discussion around the designations of unit/API/integration testing vs small/medium/large and what those meant, including
how long it took to run automated tests
- It was mentioned that it was hard to run automated tests 'nightly' if project/organization teams were worldwide
- The approach may have a strong dependency on the size of the organization and the size of the automation project (eg, small
automated API tests, buildout of big automation framework, etc
- There was some dicussion of hwo to handle large shared automation efforts via scrum of scrums
- Some mentioned Technical Debt Sprints, with technical debt sometimes including automation
- A number of attendees felt that automation in agile was often a 'catch-up' effort
- Some said an approach that worked well was a completely separate team working on automation framework/infrastructure
- Design work can take place in a 'Sprint 0' (including automation design)
- Regarding choosing and learning automation tools, some suggested concept and proof of concept efforts and there was
discussion of how to go about that either within sprints or not; some suggested a 'Spike' agile story involving research
- There was discussion of 'hardening sprints' where at the end of a project there is a sprint to do 'clean up'/bug fixing;
some considered this a bad practice
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