A Large Agile Team, Experimenting

There are a lot of creative, smart people on our team! Unfortunately I missed the discussion where these ideas come out, but we are trying some ways to organize such a big team. We will have “cells” or sub-teams, each one will take on a set of stories.

Today, each cell wrote high level acceptance tests together. Our cell started out doing BDD style tests on a FitNesse wiki. We used my desktop and the group in Weston VNC’d in and projected it on screen. But they couldn’t scroll up and down. And tests were taking too long to write. In our pomodoro retro, we decided to do high level test cases together as bullet points only, then have a pair flesh the tests out into BDD style and automate them.

We also decided to try Google docs. We kept using VNC and projecting the screen, but since the page is saved often, each person could also look at the doc on his own machine and scroll up and down. Both changes worked better. I had to split off for a long phone call with someone from an internal development team (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post), and when I came back they had finished the tests.

We are doing what I just learned is set-based engineering to decide whether we’d rather write our SWAT tests in C# and Visual Studio, or in FitNesse. We will do both this sprint and see which is better. My teammate Maykel started writing FitNesse fixtures that would allow using BDD tests to run SWAT from FitNesse, and I think he also had some way to make the tests run faster in FitNesse. One pair will automate the acceptance tests, while the other pair does a spike.

Thanks to the people who commented on yesterday’s post, I feel much better about having the testers get together occasionally. It’s true that we should have a testing community within our agile team, just as we have started one company-wide. I think we are on the right path with this team, despite it being larger than I would like.

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