Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

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#48: Holistic Agile Testing with Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory

May 17, 2023     41 minutes

Join Brian and his guests, Janet Gregory, and Lisa Crispin, as they share their expertise on integrating testing into Agile teams. Discover how to bridge the gap between programmers and testers for collaboration and success.


In this episode of the "Agile Mentors," Brian Milner sits down with Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, founders of Agile Testing Fellowship, to discuss integrating testing into Agile teams.

They discuss the history of the divide between programmers and testers and the importance of collaboration and communication between the two groups.

Listen in as they explore the different levels of holistic testing, the mindset shift needed for bug prevention, and the tools and strategies for planning and estimating testing activities. Plus, the role of AI in testing.

Listen Now to Discover:

[00:05] - Brian Milner introduces the guests for this episode, Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin, who are advocates for integrating testing into Agile teams and the Founders of Agile Testing Fellowship.
[02:25] - Lisa explains the most important goal for collaboration and success.
[03:34] - Janet talks about the history of the gulf between programmers and testers.
[05:09] - How to bridge the gap between programmers and testers and the value of collaboration.
[07:29] - What the values of Agile and Extreme Programming emphasize.
[09:49] - The mindset shift needed for bug prevention.
[11:17] - Managers behaving badly—Brian shares a story about how measuring the wrong things can drive the wrong behaviors.
[12:13] Brian discusses the micro view of testing instead of a system view.
[12:17] How to handle intense forms of testing that take a long time to complete.
[14:02] Janet explains the different levels of testing and that teams should determine where testing belongs based on when it can be performed earliest.
[15:23] Avoiding a "hardening sprint."
[16:48] Lisa shares how to use visual models like the agile testing quadrants and the holistic testing model to help plan and communicate the testing activities needed throughout the software development lifecycle.
[17:25] The website where you can find the training written by Lisa and Janet, including More Agile Testing and Agile Testing Condensed (recently released), and where you can download the FREE Mini-book "Holistic Testing: Weave Quality into your Product."
[18:29] - Brian introduces the sponsor for the podcast, Mountain Goat Software. If you are thinking about getting certified as a Scrum Master, check out the resources and training options where certification classes are available every week.
[19:26] - The key to fitting testing into a normal sprint cycle and integrating testing with other system pieces.
[20:52] - Janet shares a tip for ensuring testing is not overlooked.
[20:59] - Lisa shares how to remind teams to do testing at the right time.
[22:31] - Why have a visible reminder for testing?
[23:54] - The importance of accounting for testing and not treating it as a separate thing to do.
[24:37] - Lisa shares her experience using planning poker for estimation and her preference to get every story the same size so they can be completed in a day or two.
[25:50] - Janet suggests sizing stories and estimating tasks, why she estimates her tasks herself, and what she’s learned in that process.
[26:44] -How to reduce the time needed in estimation meetings: Lisa shares some insight to identify when a story is too big and needs to be split up.
[27:35] - The importance of conversation and understanding to avoid creating a wall between programmers and testers during estimation.
[28:03] - Another tool in the toolbox: how Chat GPT will revolutionize testing (and who it might replace).
[29:01] - There will never be enough time to do all the testing required.
[29:31] - Lisa highlights how AI as a tool saves time with testing and allows more time for critical thinking skills.
[30:12] - The need for a human presence in the use of AI.
[31:19] - Janet shares information about her and Lisa's two courses, Basic Strategies for Agile Teams and Holistic Testing for Continuous Delivery, based on the Holistic testing model of looking at testing activities throughout the software development lifecycle. These courses can be found here.
[36:37] Lisa mentions that her book, “Assessing Agile Quality Practices” helps teams identify where they are and where they can improve, using a framework that looks at ten different quality aspects. Plus, information on the book they are working on now on how to facilitate an assessment.
[39:03] - Brian provides a list of resources available from Lisa and Janet, including their books “Agile Testing Condensed: A Brief Introduction” “Agile Testing,” “More Agile Testing,” and Assessing Agile Quality Practices and their "Holistic Testing: Weave Quality into Your Product” free download.
[40:14] - Join the Agile Mentors Community to continue the discussion. If you have topics for future episodes, email us by clicking here. And don’t forget to subscribe to the “Agile Mentors” Podcast on Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Agile Testing Fellowship
Agile Testing - The Book
Agile Testing Condensed: A Brief Introduction
More Agile Testing
Holistic Testing: Weave Quality into Your Product

Assessing Agile Quality Practices
Mountain Good Software's Advanced Certified Product Owner course
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Lisa Crispin is the Co-founder of the Agile Testing Fellowship, an author, and an Agile tester and coach, who helps practitioners deliver quality software frequently and sustainably.

Janet Gregory is the Co-founder of the Agile Testing Fellowship, an author, and a consultant, specializing in building quality systems and helping companies promote agile quality processes.