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Tips for manual testers working in an agile environment book now 50% complete

Posted by Matt Archer on February 20, 2014

A few months ago I started writing a short book entitled “tips for manual testers working in an agile environment“. Rather than wait until it was finished and then reveal it to the world, I decided to use Leanpub to progressively publish the book as I was writing it.

The book now includes 25 of the planned 50 tips. If you are interested to take a look, you can find the book’s home page here.  You will also find below a list of the tips that I have currently written. Ten of those tips are available within the free sample, with all 25 tips included in the full version which can be purchased for a nominal, pre-publication fee.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions related to the book, you are welcome to leave a message here on my blog, email me at matt (at) expresssoftware (dot) or ping me on Twitter (@MattArcherUK).


The following tips are available in the current version of the book.

Tip 1: Appreciate that an agile tester never blindly follows a tip or practice

Tip 2: Tailor your agile testing practices to meet your specific needs

Tip 3: Understand the risks associated with manual test scripts

Tip 4: When testing (or preparing) don’t allow yourself to be blocked

Tip 6: Enrich your knowledge and expectations using multiple oracles

Tip 8: Before you document information, question who it is for

Tip 9: Help your team by undertaking work that isn’t testing

Tip 11: Follow an exploratory approach to your testing

Tip 14: Be cautious of any sprint that is organised like a waterfall

Tip 16: Share common information with other members of the team

Tip 17: Use traditional testing tools in a way that makes you agile

Tip 21: Use self-generated maps to help organise your testing

Tip 24: Resist overlaying traditional testing processes onto a sprint

Tip 26: Describe tests using design techniques and a coverage target

Tip 27: Learn how to spot risky automation: an upside-down pyramid

Tip 28: Learn how to spot risky automation: infrequent execution

Tip 30: Consider visual ways of representing your tests

Tip 32: However you document your manual tests, don’t repeat yourself

Tip 33: Attend the daily stand-up to keep in sync with your team

Tip 34: Be prepared to occasionally trade testing early for technical debt

Tip 38: Question the efficiency of representing each test separately

Tip 41: Test multiple stories together to uncover different perspectives

Tip 42: When you describe your tests, don’t just copy existing documents

Tip 46: Use existing documents as a canvas for test ideas and bug reports


The tips below are currently being written and will be included in a future version of the book.

Tip 5: Don’t try to test so quickly that you slow yourself down

Tip 7: Favour dedicated learning resources to educate new testers

Tip 10: Ask questions, but if nobody knows the answer, research yourself

Tip 12: Keep supporting information in a single place (not in your tests)

Tip 13: Set testing objectives that realistically align with regular releases

Tip 15: Look to automated tests for inspiration for manual test ideas

Tip 18: Ask yourself what you can do to improve overall team performance

Tip 19: Learn how your software works under the covers

Tip 20: Value demonstrations over written explanations

Tip 22: Look for opportunities to generalise less relevant interactions

Tip 23: Offer to demonstrate the team’s software to your customer

Tip 25: Consider using the gherkin notation to record manual tests

Tip 29: Learn how to spot risky automation: most runs “fail”

Tip 31: Use abstractions to help you plan, but don’t lose focus on reality

Tip 35: Build a support network of people that can aid your testing

Tip 36: Invent a multi-dimensional scale to discuss documentation detail

Tip 37: Familiarise yourself with how agile teams organise “requirements”

Tip 39: Appreciate examples, even those that aren’t automated

Tip 40: Regularly remind people that testing is everyone’s responsibility

Tip 43: Agree a simple means of visually tracking your testing

Tip 44: Encourage your team to automate their build and deployment

Tip 45: Agree a place for everything and keep everything in its place

Tip 47: Consider bringing many tests together into a single checklist

Tip 48: Try to avoid requesting unwanted features via the backdoor

Tip 49: [To be confirmed]

Tip 50: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever”



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