On Tuesday 22nd of September, AIGLU held a mini-conference on the topic Agile Testing and Continuous Delivery. The event was organized in collaboration with Société Générale Bank & Trust (SGBT) that was our host that evening. After a short introduction by Sylvain Chery, president of AIGLU and Denis Van Gysel, head of Club Agile at SGBT, our first speaker Christian Baumann started his talk on “Agile Testing in Practice”.
Christian is a Senior Test Engineer at Q-Leap and he had decided to share his knowledge about test practices in an agile environment. His goal was to make the link between those practices and the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto, which according to him are sometimes a little too abstract for people who are beginning their agile journey. Some of his most prominent experiences include the use of practices such as “group testing”, Behavior-Driven Development and Specification by Example.
Intellectual Property and Civil Aviation were two of the subject matters in which Christian experimented
with these testing approaches. Being a true follower of the Context-Driven school of testing, his efforts brought value to his customers according to the specific context of the team and project he was working on. His experience report was shaped with three different examples of different project contexts. For each of them, Christian provided the audience with food for thoughts and linked back to the agile principles he thought were the most relevant: customer collaboration, face-to-face communication, self-organization of the team, technical expertise, or working software as primary measure of progress, among others.
The second speaker of the evening was no one less than Gojko Adzic, agile thoughts leader, prolific author and actual father of Specification by Example. Gojko had chosen to talk about Continuous Delivery, or how delivering software more frequently can become a significant competitive business advantage.
Gojko started with a warning that faster does not always mean better. It is not because you “can” deliver a software features at a faster pace that you necessarily “should”. He reminded the audience that statistics prove that more than 50% of the features delivered in the software industry are actually never used. The main idea here is to decide upfront if the feature actually makes sense before you even start development.
Gojko being a true geek and a very skilled speaker, he continued in a very dynamic rhythm with a metaphor about Asimov’s three rules of robotics to provide his own vision of the three rules of continuous delivery.
According to him, continuous delivery may not:
- Confuse users
- Interrupt users’ work or sessions
- Disrupt of prevent marketing initiatives
Respecting these rules requires a very high level of technical expertise. But modern tools and platforms allow us to deploy software in production with multi-versioning, which means that several version of the same product are running in parallel.
This manner of deploying software makes it possible to release features and hide them until we want to officially make them available. This especially makes sense in regard of the third rule. According to Gojko, deployment is a technical event, whereas release is a marketing event. Delivering early in production and deciding when you want to officially release allow to decouple the two events to provide greater competitive advantage.
The evening ended with a buffet and drinks, generously sponsored by SGBT. The 60 or so people who attended the event were then able to share their thoughts on the two talks and exchange about their respective experiences in such matters. Overall, the evening was very pleasant and everyone seemed to have enjoyed spending time to learn about agile testing and continuous delivery.