The 2009 Software Test and Performance Conference

Last week I gave a class on SCM for Agile Teams at the 2009 Software Test and Performance Conference in Cambridge, MA. The conference had a focus on Agile software development. Good SCM is essential to agile (and any) software development, though it’s an oft ignored topic, so I applaud the organizers for considering the topic worth a session. And I thank them for inviting me to give the class.

At the risk of making sweeping generalizations, I like testers, and I tend to find that the way good testers think is very well aligned with the way that I think. Maybe this is part of the reason that I enjoy agile software development so much: testing and automation are very closely tied to the development process. One of the messages in my talk on SCM for Agile Teams is that testing is an essential part of the configuration management process. If you have good automated testing, you have to worry less about branching for isolation, and you save the overhead that (unnecessary) branching adds to your process.

If you have testing established as part of everyone’s (including the developers) job, the tester’s job becomes far more interesting. Rather than executing scripts and reporting “simple” bugs, a tester can explore the product and find interesting edge cases, driving software quality and starting conversations about what functionality the product needs. And testers and developers can collaborate on automation.

My class was during the last session of the last day, and I was happy to have the small number of people in attendance who were there. I hope that they learned something useful, and I hope that I addressed the concerns of the testers and test managers at the session. I know that I learned a lot from sessions that I went to lead by Michael Bolton and Scott Barber, among others.

If you’re interested in more about the kinds of topics that were covered at the conference, look at the STP Collaborative. (And if you want to know more about SCM for Agile Teams than is covered in the talk, you can always read my book: Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
:) )