Monthly Archives: May 2013

Be pure. Be vigilant. Behave.

There has been a bit of traffic on the Growing Object Oriented Software (GOOS) mailing list recently about how many tests you should write, and what sort they should be. Understandably it got back to the perennial discussion about what constitutes a unit test, what an integration test, what an acceptance test. And where does the testing pyramid fit into all this?

All important questions and yet somehow ephemeral in their unfathomability.

Torbjörn Kalin got to the heart of the matter with his concise response:

“What is the purpose of the test? What is it that we want to test? How do we test it?”

It doesn’t matter what you call it. The label is incidental. Turn to the rubber duck on top of your monitor and earnestly ask:

“What is it that I am worried might fail?”

If you don’t answer the question honestly, then Torquemada might just come a calling.


By |May 16th, 2013|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Simpler. Clearer. Faster.

The UK Government has invested £17 million over the past 2 years migrating from several rather old websites to the new, shiny website. James Stewart and Anna Shipman gave an uplifting talk at the Edinburgh BCS branch meeting on May 1st, describing how they had scaled from one small team of 12 to ten teams (and an organisation of over 200) in not much more than a year. Not only that, but they had delivered on-time and have since gone on to win the “Design Award of the Year.” Everything was not perfect – they admit to having worked unsustainable hours and of accruing significant technical debt – yet they appeared energised, motivated and undeniably happy.

Prior to that meeting I spent several days with a large corporate client where a large number of teams were being mobilised to develop a major, strategic implementation. They will have to learn new technologies and new methodologies at the same time as being asked to deliver mission critical functionality within a very tight schedule. These teams are in their early days, but there are early signs of the pain to come.

Both of these teams consider themselves to be agile. Neither of these teams consider themselves to be using behaviour driven development (BDD).

My corporate client is aiming to deliver a complex, monolithic application, and has a small number of product owners supported by a somewhat larger number of subject matter experts (SMEs). There is conceptually one backlog, but each team is having a subset of it pushed onto a team backlog from which they pull stories to be elaborated. There’s no clear division between each team’s role and hence each story may require the team to interact with different […]

By |May 3rd, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments