Thursday, June 3, 2010

Principles for Testers

Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory propose the following ten principles for agile testers:

  1. Provide continuous feedback
  2. Deliver value to the customer
  3. Enable face-to-face communication
  4. Have courage
  5. Keep it simple
  6. Practice continuous improvement
  7. Respond to change
  8. Self-organize
  9. Focus on people
  10. Enjoy

I believe that these principles are relevant to all testers, not just agile testers.

Lisa & Janet define an agile tester as:

"a professional tester who embraces change, collaborates well with both technical and business people, and understands the concept of using tests to document requirements and drive development."

Again, this isn't unique to agile testing. In my mind, all the high expectations we have of agile testers should also be applied to any tester.

Why have lower standards for testers not involved in agile software development?

Reference: Agile Testing – A Practical Guide by Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory


  1. Funny thing. I saw the title of your post and immediately thought of Hetzel's Testing Principles (Segmentation, Design for testability, Simulation, Sampling, Logical reduction, Standardization and Automation). None of them are on Lisa Crispin & Janet Gregory's list. Probably they look at software testing from a totally different angle.

    Agile seems to be a lot about people and a whole lot less about software. Which, in a sense, is scary. Because who looks after the software when everyone is looking after the people?

  2. I agree with you, I don't go in for the whole tester or agile tester thing. I'm a tester, if I move to that room over there I'm still a tester. The furniture might be different and the people might be different and so I adapt to the furniture and to the people and to what's going on but I'm still a tester.
    I think (although I've got nothing to base this on) that Lisa and Janet are just using the phrase 'agile tester' to describe testers. They just happen to be working in an agile environment. could always just ask one of them?

  3. Hi folks. I thought I'd jump in here and try to explain what we were thinking. All the testing skills that a tester uses on a traditional type project still apply to testers on an agile project. That is why we don't talk about them much. There are lots of books on those subjects.

    The real difference is the colloboration with the customer and developers, working with the project team all the way along - not only in the testing phase. We test each story / feature as it is coded so that we don't have that long list of bugs at the end to try to triage. As a tester, we know what is being developed so we have confidence in the product every iteration. It is about providing immediate feedback to the customer and developer helping to create better software that meets expectations. It does sound pretty 'pie in the sky', but it does work. I have seen it successful on many teams, although it's not always easy.

    I do know that there are traditional (non-agile) project teams that work together and deliver successfully too, though I personally have not worked on such a team.

    Janet Gregory