Rescuing Agile Tester

Being involved in Software Testing field for quite a some time,  I felt like blogging on what makes a software tester life easy ! It can be anything depending on the projects you are involved in and the typical activities you carry out in your day to day testing life. I have always felt a little pressure on the testing team specifically in the agile methodology; a constant pressure of catching up with QA velocity or story sign-offs, planned regression cycle in between the Iterations, writing test scenarios, writing automated regression suite, continuously improving the smoke test (in terms of coverage and execution time), planning customer showcases. Oh God, so much to do in such a less time !!! I felt that there are few things irrespective of project which will make the life of a tester easy. Tester spend a lot of time deploying application (Unless they are using a Continuous Integration tool) and doing general sanity (in case the regression suite is not sufficient).
Few things which I feel can come to tester’s rescue are
1. Availability of multiple Test Environment
When we have a single testing environment, the problem multiplies. If the build installation is going on, all QAs are sitting idle (unless some wants to keep themselves busy in writing/reviewing test scenarios). Moreover when something goes wrong then while someone is taking a look into it, we call it out as QA downtime. So having multiple environment reduces the risk of failure and can save a lot time. It’s always easy to keep one environment in working condition with a stable build and take a new build on other, so that the testing activity doesn’t get blocked even when the build has some issues.
2. Continuous Integration and Easy Deployment
Manually creating batch files to deploy application, modifying files according to different environment and running them to deploy the application is always a error prone method. Also the maintenance of those files are a tedious job. I remember my own time when i used to create batch files and do the same. Having a proper software tool which do the job of Build Integration and deployment is always preferred.  It reduces the risk of human mistakes and requires a one time set up activity. Cruise is one such example when you have multiple environments to manage. You can always select some tool which suits your need the best.
These are some of the thing which will always help the tester in their daily  testing job. In agile when we have frequent check ins, which forces the tester to carry out their testing on the latest build; Having multiple environments and easy deployment process will save a lot of tester’s time and make his life easy.
We can definitely add more to the list but these two are like the basic needs of the tester which often goes un-noticed !


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