Matt Archer's Blog

  • New Book

    I'm working on a new book. View the home page for the 'Tips for manual testers working in an agile environment' book
  • Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Subscribe

Don’t allow yourself to become blocked (A productivity tip for agile testers)

Posted by Matt Archer on January 30, 2013

This post is part of the tips for manual testers working in an agile environment series. A series of posts inspired by the topics covered in the Techniques for Agile Manual Testers course that is currently available to take in London (via the Ministry of Testing) and in Copenhagen (via PrettyGoodTesting).


If your project aims to release their software ten months from now, losing a day because your work is blocked can often be dismissed as inconsequential. Contrast that to an agile team that aims to release every ten days. Spending a day idle becomes much more significant.

Traditionally, testers have placed strict entry criteria before their activities, but if we took this approach to agile testing we would spend the majority of our time underutilised, supposedly blocked. One way to improve your productivity is to discard the notion of needing a “complete specification”. Instead, ask yourself what is the bare minimum I need to begin testing. The rest can come later.

Even when we begin to test early, it is easy to block or significantly delay ourselves by spending too much time pondering the gaps in our knowledge. When you encountered such as gap, resist the temptation to speculate for too long, especially in isolation.

If you believe the information is known within the team, now is a good time to remember the three ‘C’s that describe the journey of a user story; card, conversation, confirmation. If a conversation isn’t available or doesn’t leave you satisfied, leave yourself a note to revisit the gap at a later time and move on. Above all, don’t allow yourself to become blocked.


If you have a comment or question about this particular tip, please do not hesitate to Leave a Reply.  A complete list of tips is listed below.

An agile testing productivity tip: Don’t allow yourself to become blocked

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s