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Elisabeth Hendrickson Discusses Agile Testing

This is the third in a series of interviews on continuous delivery, this time with Elisabeth Hendrickson. You can see the first one, with Jesse Robbins, on the ThoughtWorks Studios Blog, and the second, with John Allspaw, here. These interviews will eventually be put together – along with some additional exclusive material – into a set of LiveLessons, with the royalties going to Black Girls Code. If you want to be notified when the final product is released, please sign up for my newsletter.

Elisabeth has held positions as a tester, developer, manager, and quality engineering director in a variety of companies ranging from small startups to multi-national enterprises. She has been a member of the Agile community since 2003, served on the board of directors of the Agile Alliance in 2007/2008, and is currently one of the co-organizers of the Agile Alliance Functional Testing Tools program. Elisabeth won the prestigious Gordon Pask award in 2010 and is the author of two books: There’s Always a Duck and the forthcoming Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing published by the Pragmatic Programmers. She is the founder of Quality Tree Software, runs Agilistry Studio, and is the creator of entaggle.com. You can find her at testobsessed.com and @testobsessed

In the video, Elisabeth answers the following questions:

  • What’s been your experience of the evolution of the testing and QA role in the IT industry?
  • Why doesn’t separation of duties between engineers and testers work? (01:49)
  • What are the problems with the hierarchies you sometimes see within testing organizations? (04:30)
  • What’s wrong with the approach of writing and executing manual test scripts? (07:53)
  • Does record and playback help to solve some of these problems? (08:48)
  • So the current paradigm for building quality in to software is acceptance-test driven development. Talk us through ATDD. (10:04)
  • What does what in ATDD? (11:19)
  • What proportion of time is spent on production code vs test code? (14:15)
  • How do you get from a typical “enterprise” testing strategy to ATDD? (17:30)
  • When implementing automated acceptance tests, where do you start? (21:31)
  • How has continuous deployment changed the way you approach software delivery? (23:43)
  • How do you go from releasing once every 3-6 months to releasing once a day? (26:36)

If you can’t see the content, go straight to the video on YouTube.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomas.riha.se Tomas Riha

    Awsome interview and really gives me a better understanding to why our process DID work but broke… Thanks!!

  • Matthew MacFarland

    Fantastic interview and a real eye opener for me. I loved the part about the lowest level testing staff doing all the real work and throwing away the test scripts created by the engineers. Wow!

    The only part I didn’t like is that creepy stuffed animal on the table :-)

    Matthew

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