Tests aren’t about testing – Scandev 2012

21 04 2012

At Scandinavian Developers Conference April 2012 there were some rememberable messages about testing – what I heard tests aren’t anymore about testing, if it’s ever has been.

Kevlin Henney @KevlinHenney first mentioned the message on testing in his keynote which was really about architecture and good coding – such as economy, visibility, spacing, symmetry and emergence.

About testing he said,  the point of automated tests is NOT how many tests you have,  it is in the meaning of them. To explicitily state rules, to know exactly what we mean in a row of code – that’s the point of testing

Tests turns belief into knowledge.

Gojko Adzic, @gojkoadzic, test and requirement change agent, told us the story of a French team that threw away their automated tests as soon as they’ve passed.  They used automated tests as a

shared understanding of what to do very effectevily

rather than a tool for testing.

He busted a lot about myths of BDD (Behaviour Driven Development) and the challenges on understanding of it from business. He called it

Businessting – the belief business users could write acceptance tests

I’m happy he brought this challenge up. I’ve seen so many teams waiting for business to suddenly show up with very clear, ready to automate, covering test specifications at exactly the right level. Gojko reminded us of the importance of conversation with business people on the rules, on the examples, on the code that’s gonna be written.

The main benefit of Behaviour Driven Development is that is supporting us longterm with information on what the system does – therefore you don’t always need to keep them tightly integrated to the code when they have passed once (!)

We’re obsessed with wrong details.

Jeff Patton,  reminded us also of conversation with business, and of the thing many of us seem to have forgotten about user stories.

User stories, no matter in what written template, was in the beginning there for the purpose of making business people telling stories! Stories about what’s happening in the business, and what could be happening in the future. Now many asks about how to write correct user stories, rather than asking their business person to tell.. their story.

So whatever we do we need to find ways to include business people in our daily conversations 

This seems to be the greatest challenge when it comes to Agile.

Mary Poppendieck, always insightful, brought the subject up of the importance of whole product team. She said we need to let go of ”software development” and talk about what we’re actually doing – product (or service) development to get business on our team so we can do great products and services.

If we believe in whole product teams, which I guess we do if we want to deliver good stuff, software development teams need to start to talk about products (and services)

Go from programming language to design language.

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