Testing in DevOps: A Slack Takeover with Lisa Crispin | TechWell

Testing in DevOps: A Slack Takeover with Lisa Crispin

Lisa Crispin

Thought leaders throughout the software community are taking over the TechWell Hub for a day to introduce themselves, answer questions, and engage in conversations.

Lisa Crispin is a testing advocate for mabl. She has developed many educational materials for software professionals, and was voted the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person at Agile Testing Days in 2012.

Here are some of the top interactions from @Lisa Crispin’s Slack takeover.

A Definition of DevOps

“Devops seems to be a buzzword-ish sort of term that a lot of companies say they are doing, but I'm not really sure what it means.” —@John Schultz

Crispin went to the Devopsdays New York City event, and she said everyone there was joking, "Don't ask me to define DevOps." 

Still, she had an explanation for what DevOps should look like: “It is a culture of the whole team, including operations, working together to not only deliver tested code, but to be engaged with the code that is already in production, learning how customers really use it, and responding super fast to their issues.”

Walking the Happy Path

“I've had some thoughts recently about the value of happy path tests. Is it more beneficial to have a single corner case test, or a single happy path test?” —@Rob Black

“My instinct as a tester is to jump right into the risky or potentially fragile areas,” Crispin said. “However, my teams felt that they lost the forest for the trees when we started with more complicated test cases. They wanted the feedback that the code works at the most basic level before moving on.”

She advised to keep the corner case in the regression test suite. In development, take the first steps along the happy path.

Acquiring Test Automation Skills

“For testers learning about automation (coming from a manual testing background) what are some important skills they need? What makes that transition hard (apart from learning to program)?” —@Jeff Gilbert

“I think learning to code is relatively easy compared with learning the really important things, starting with communication skills,” Crispin said. “Similarly, collaboration skills are essential in a DevOps culture where people with different specialties have to work together.”

In terms of technical skills, she said to learn the high-level architecture of your system, how to navigate around in the IDEs used by team members, good coding practices, and ways to design tests for maintainability and quick feedback.

Test-Driven Development in CI/CD

“We're about to kick off TDD where I work and QA is supporting the effort. Do you have any tips on what to watch out for in starting TDD regarding CI/CD?” —@ Nicole

Crispin advised that as soon as you have even one automated test, putting that test into a suite and making it part of your continuous integration pipeline. That creates infrastructure that helps the next person who automates a test, because they can see how to make it part of a regression test suite in the pipeline. And they can enjoy getting that quick feedback as soon as they commit a change!

She also recommended celebrating milestones with respect to unit tests, and keeping the CI/CD pipeline successes and failures visible, with actionable alerts for failures.

To read all the conversations, check out the #devops channel on the TechWell Hub, and tag @Lisa Crispin with your questions.

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