Question: Automate Testing!

Dear Joe,

In the course you emphasized how important it is to do many things….seemingly from the start.  One was automated testing.  This will be very hard for us to at my company.  Were you really serious that we must have automated testing immediately?!?!?

Thanks, Janet

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Dear Janet,

[First, I must confess that I made up this email or letter.  I did have a student who I think had this question, but she did not phrase it to me this way.]

Glad you asked.

First, in many places it is almost impossible to do all of Scrum on Day One.  So, you are not terrible (if you thought you might be) if you do not do all of Scrum on Day One.

We do expect you to implement change continuously, so that eventually you can do all of Scrum with your team.  Never never give up on that.  And do not think that you have done Scrum until you have done all of it (all of the bare framework) with the right attitude.  This is important, because it will give you better results (almost every time).

Thus, automated testing is beyond the bare framework of Scrum (as are many other great agile ideas).

Again, I am not upset that you cannot get ‘full’ automated testing to happen on Day One.  That is not possible for many people in many situations.

However, I expect you to change things at your place, and start implementing some automated testing soon.  As I said, you are not really agile in software development without automated testing (and continuous integration, etc).

How long will it take you to do that?  Well, that depends on many factors.  Mainly, you have to start something now.  Something very basic.  Such as, have the coders or developers automated (or more fully automate) their unit tests.  Get a good unit test tool for your situation (eg, JUnit) and start building.

It may take a while before your automated testing is truly professional. You can do Scrum before you get there, but the real power of Scrum expands significantly as you automate the testing.

You may have to convince managers to spend money  This may take time.  You may need to access the Scrum community to get evidence to convince the manager(s).  But you will get there eventually.

Hope that helps.

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