Agile Testing Model

The AgileMethods for software development and the ContextDrivenTesting methods share a commitment to creative thought. Testing gurus JamesBach and BretPettichord and development guru WardCunningham met during the 2002 PacificNorthwestSoftwareQualityConference to chart the further alignment of these methods.

Here are James (left) and Bret (right) working the weekend at Ward's Portland, Oregon office.

The question they faced is how does the creativity of the tester mesh with the creativity of the developer day to day throughout a project? There was a sparkling moment when all felt some insight had been reached. That's why the camera came out.

Here is a detail of the diagram James is holding.

The diagram shows humans operating a software product through two different interfaces: the gui and the test api. The automation fixtures are a generalization of this framework's Fixtures. That is, software modules that interpret domain oriented specifications under the interactive supervision of (again) a creative human.

Although this diagram could describe lots of test automation systems, those systems couldn't be called agile unless the paths ...

  • Reach deeply into the product's domain abstractions.
  • Use terms that make sense to people.
  • Operate fast enough to support creative inquiry.

It is important that these paths be accessible to further automation shown here as test generation. Independent construction of models, whether in the mind or on the computer, is a central activity of exploratory testing. Notice that the models have as many paths leading in and out of them as the product under test.

Aside on Collaboration: James is particularly interested in generation and insisted it be included in the diagram. His enthusiasm added a lot to the sparkle of the moment. We had been browsing the CalculatorExample and discussing how it was that refreshing the browser cause new test cases to be generated, run and presented. The generator is the jokingly simple http:hp35.cgi that Ward wrote in response to an observation Bret made on this web site at its founding. So Bret encouraged Ward who encouraged James and around again. Such is collaboration.


Last edited October 16, 2002
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