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Preparing for the Future

The world is continually changing around us. The way we do business, the way we communicate, our jobs, and our daily lives.

Some people naturally give themselves time to adjust as these changes occur. Others, like me, need to spend specific time focusing on improving ourselves.

Where I work there has been a slow change. It’s been a painful process for some, natural for others.

Many of the teams I provide Quality Assurance support for have shifted from a Waterfall to an Agile development method. Unfortunately the attitude towards QA didn’t consider that we’d also need to be trained and have been forced to stumble along to try to keep up with a sudden workload increase. No change operates in a vacuum, there’s been increased pressure on test automation (but I have yet to see if there is any more understanding of the implementation effort), and a constant search to reduce costs in general.

So I have new tools to learn, development skills to relearn, and methods to tackle.

First I found a great book on software testing in an Agile development process. It’s called Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams by Lisa Crispin, Janet Gregory, Brian Marick. Here’s a link to one of my favorite independent booksellers where you can order it.

I’ve only started reading it, but right away I can tell it’s going to focus on the topics and concepts I need to be prepared.

Software wise I’ve started teaching myself Selenium. It’s very similar to Quick Test Pro on the surface but underneath it may be even more powerful of a functional testing tool. It can operate as a plugin for Firefox, but if you’re able to code there is a much more powerful version of it that can be used within different software development environments like Eclipse. The plugin operates quite easily, just like quick test pro. If you’d like to use the ‘Web Driver’ version you need to prepare a development environment. Unfortunately there aren’t basic simple instructions around how to do this. Someone who has been using Selenium since early in it’s creation for a while will have little problem working with it. When you have someone who is inexperienced with configuring these development environments however, you have a few hurdles to get past. What flavor of Eclipse to install? How do you set up a Selenium project within Eclipse? What is Maven, and why do you need to use yet another tool to configure this development environment?

I hope to be able to answer those questions in the very near future. At first though I will be teaching myself the basics of the Selenium Firefox plugin, Everything needs to start somewhere.




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