Agile Testing with VSTS 2010 and TMap: Part 01-User stories

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User stories breakdown...

This post is about the work breakdown of user stories during the planning phase of an iteration.

Dd380634_PlanIteration(en-us,VS_100)
[image from the documentation about VSTS 2010 on MSDN, this page]

During the planning phase of the project, also called iteration 0 [first blue piece], user stories are collected / brainstormed / defined /… in VSTS this information is collected in the new work item type ‘user story’ [image below].  

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During the planning of the iteration developers the team start to breakdown the user stories [which are selected for that iteration] in implementation tasks. Within VSTS this is done in the implementation tab. The new 2010 functionality of hierarchies between work items is used for this.

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Another task also executed during this phase is the creation of test cases. Within the TMap methodology this is described in the planning phase. Where you create the test plan for that iteration, based on the risk class [see user story work item] and discussion with the customer the necessary test techniques are allocated for the user story and functional area.  See the initial work items for iteration 1 in the image below, added during the unfolding of the TMap process template.

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So, not only the implementation tasks needs to be determined also the test tasks needs to be allocated during the planning phase of an iteration. These test tasks are specific to testers like ‘create test cases for area …. based on the test technique <… decide based on risk and customer contact>
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List of different test techniques…

  • Data combination test (DCoT)
  • Data cycle test (DCyT)
  • Decision table test (DTT)
  • Elementary comparison test (ECT)
  • Error guessing (EG)
  • Error testing (ET)
  • Process cycle test (PCT)
  • Real life test (RLT)
  • Semantic test (SEM)
  • Syntactic test (SYN)
  • Use case test (UCT)

So, just like the implementation tasks also the test tasks are a link type, have hierarchy with, the user story. [this is TMap process template specific]

Untitled

We end up with a list of tasks for a user story, implementation tasks and test tasks… testers and developers are going to execute these tasks together in parallel, during the iteration we have: implemented sources for the user story and test cases which are ready for execution. This user story is finished when: every implementation task is fulfilled, all test cases are successful executed and … the tester hasn’t got any open tasks, so all test cases are created.

When giving the tester/ the team a place where they can record their testing tasks, testing is really going to be a first class citizen of the lifecycle. beside this benefit the connection between test activities, risk, user story and test cases gives a great opportunity for reports based on test effort, risks and implementation, later on more on this…

With this this lightweight addition to the user story work item we got a closer to several Agile Testing key characteristics, for example:

  • Customer involvement in writing tests. –> just like the developers, testers breakdown there work discusing it with the customer
  • An iteration is ready when the tests succeed. –> and all tests are created..!

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