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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Lisa Crispin and Justin Searls on Testing and Innovation in Front End Technology

Lisa Crispin and Justin Searls on Testing and Innovation in Front End Technology

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In this week's podcast Richard Seroter talks to Lisa Crispin who works on the tracker team at Pivotal Labs, and is an organiser of the Agile Alliance Technical Conference. Lisa is the co-author of several books on Agile Testing, and is also the 2012 recipient of the Agile Testing Days award for Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person.

Richard also talks to Justin Searls, software craftsman, presenter of "How to Stop Hating Your Tests" and co-founder of Test Double, a company whose goal is to "improve how the world writes software."

Key Takeaways

  • Agile is mainstream, and being adopted by big enterprises, but there's a place to help small companies and startups.
  • Cloud Foundry pair testers to write production code with the programmers.
  • Developers have to be focused on right now, testers have freedom to look at more of the big picture
  • People know testing is good and there a lot of tools for it, but some tools are ill-conceived.
  • We need a better language for talking about good QA and full stack testing.

Show Notes

Lisa Crispin | About the Agile Alliance Technical Conference

  • 2m:00s - The first XP universe conferences were mainly about XP practices, values and principles, and were attended by developers
  • 2m:17s - Over time, topics moved towards processes and frameworks, and the number of developers who attend Agile conferences has gone down dramatically.
  • 3m:51s - Now Agile is mainstream, it's being adopted by big enterprises, but there's a place to help small companies and startups. That's usually where the innovation comes from, and the Agile Alliance wants to encourage innovation.

Lisa Crispin | Pair Programming

  • 4m.42s - A lot of teams face the same problem with pair programming, of not having very many testers.
  • 5m:13s - A model used at Cloud Foundry is pairing testers to write production code with the programmers. Laurie Williams says just explaining your code to somebody else improves the quality of your code.
  • 5m:38s - "Micro-pairing with Lisa" Lisa sits with paired programmers for a few minutes to look at BDD tests and testing-related discussion before code is committed.
  • 6m:43s - A problem can be of scale, if you're the only tester for 8 or 12 programmers it can only work if for some of the days you are pairing on exploratory testing or writing charters.
  • 7m:12s - Developers do exploratory testing at the story level, it's important to explore at the feature level and look at the ripple effects: how does a new feature affect other, older features.
  • 8m:46s - Developers have to be focused on the part of the code they are working with right now, testers have the freedom to be looking at more of the big picture and taking the time to think of personas.
  • 9m:45s - Define an [exploratory testing] charter that is narrow enough that you're not going to spend too much time on it, but not so narrow that it's restrictive.

Justin Searls | About the Agile Alliance Technical Conference

  • 13m:38s - In open source, people don't talk about Agile much any more, developers come in without having a name for it.
  • 14m:06s - The conference is trying to reconnect thought leaders and innovators from the Agile world with technical practitioners, and that has struck a chord with people.
  • 14m:50s - In open source, there's technologists who are doing Agile stuff well, but haven't heard of Conway's Law.
  • 15m:05 - There's a tremendous opportunity to bring back or reconnect things that are taken for granted in software.
  • 15m:47s - I hope we can arrive at a successful conference that combines the two.

Justin Searls | Innovation in Front End Technology

  • 17m:36s - In any language ecosystem, there is a maturity model, like a life cycle.
  • 19m:09s - In JavaScipt communities where there are orders of magnitude more developers than anywhere else, people know testing is good and there a lot of tools for it, but some tools are ill-conceived.
  • 22m:02s - Experienced developers have embraced Go because it's less expressive, and a response to dynamism.

Justin Searls | Testing with Moving Parts

  • 25m:55s - There's a lot of rigorous thinking in the QA community, but they're not talked to as much. Full stack testing and automation is a means to remove the drudgery, to make time for exploratory testing.
  • 26m:45s - QA teams that are focused on automating a lot of full stack testing find that the tests stop serving you and you start serving the tests.
  • 28m:24s - Collectively we need to get better and more disciplined, and have a better language for talking about good QA and full stack testing.

People mentioned

  • Gary Bernhardt
  • Tom Dale
  • Llewellyn Falco
  • Elisabeth Hendrickson
  • James Lewis
  • Sandi Metz
  • Yehuda Katz
  • Jeff Sussna
  • Laurie Williams

Companies mentioned

Languages mentioned

Products mentioned

  • Mokito
  • Test Double

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