How Silk Central brings flexibility to agile development

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1 How Silk Central brings flexibility to agile development The name agile development is perhaps slightly misleading as it is by its very nature, a carefully structured environment of rigorous procedures. However, even within this context there is room for innovation within the testing sphere. This whitepaper gives a short introduction to how Borland Silk Central can be effectively deployed within an agile development environment. The first part of this paper describes the agile development approach and its possible peculiarities for testing. The second describes how the Borland Silk Central development team uses Silk Central together with a Continuous Integration tool in their agile SCRUM development environment to ensure a thorough process with satisfactory outcomes.

2 2 HOW SILK CENTRAL BRINGS FLEXIBILITY TO AGILE DEVELOPMENT What is Agile Software Development? Agile requirements Agile software development is a group of software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams 1 The difference between agile development and other iterative and incremental development approaches, such as IBM Rational s RUP or Boehm s spiral model, is how the process is broken down into short, self-contained development cycles (so-called iterations) and the cross-functional structure of the development teams. This structure allows for a complete process, from implementation via testing through to documentation in one such iteration resulting in the immediate availability of fully operational software with immediate additional value for customers. This short-clocked approach allows more efficient interaction with customers, a faster, more flexible response to changes, and ultimately higher customer satisfaction levels. Within the agile software development software arena, requirements are referred to by different names, depending on their size and effort. Goal story or epic describes a whole theme, requirements describe sub-parts of such a theme and user stories refer to requirement sub-parts. A user story is the minimum unit visible outside of the development team. Once allocated to an iteration, it is broken down into tasks by the team for better management. If one task cannot be finished within an iteration, the user story is incomplete and therefore not part of the iteration end product, with a resultant compromise on customer value. Therefore, user stories have to fulfill certain criteria to allow the team to finish them in time and produce as much customer value as possible. Agile development guru Mike Cohn believes a good user story has to be: 2 Independent Negotiable Valuable to users or customers Estimatable Small Testable The last bullet point is the one we are going to focus on in this whitepaper. We shall answer questions like How is testing done in an agile development process in general? and How can Silk Central support you in your testing to achieve the most customer value? Incremental functionality The ultimate goal of each iteration must be fully operational software, which utilizes all the required functionality from the user stories within the iteration, delivered in a tested and documented state. Since each user story describes just one piece of the functionality from a requirement, which in turn contains only part of the whole theme, functionality grows incrementally, with each iteration building on the results of the previous one as shown simplified in the following graphic. It is important to consider that incremental development sometimes means the creation of interim functionality that changes several times before the final delivery. Figure 1: Agile Development 1

3 Borland 3 Figure 2 illustrates functionality from one iteration being replaced, refined and extended as the iterations progress before finally achieving new functionality. So what does that mean for our testing assets? Agile testing and the team Testing is one of the necessary steps towards finishing a user story no testing means no contribution to the overall iteration result and therefore no additional customer value. Consequently, the agile team invests an essential part of their time within an iteration in the creation and maintenance of more effective tests. achieve higher customer satisfaction. We will do this by examining how it used by one such agile team the team developing Silk Central. Silk Central and SCRUM The Silk Central team uses Scrum, a specific form of an agile development process, based on defined methods and predefined roles. Each team member creates or enhances tests according to his/her role in the team to ensure the highest-level of test coverage, and therefore quality, from beginning to end. This means developers immediately covering new functionality with unit tests, where applicable, and testers creating manual and automated functional and performance tests. Hence, the functionality we have created, the tests being created for it, and the team members functional expertise all mesh together like cog wheels; the more efficient this process becomes the higher the resulting quality and customer satisfaction, and the overall success of the project. As you can see, tests and the functionality created have a strong relationship. And so, as the functionality changes incrementally, tests must behave in a similar way. Clearly, the success of agile development stands and falls with the team, and in the remainder of this paper, we consider how Silk Central can support agile teams to create more effective testing regimes that ultimately deliver better, more robust products that Figure 3: SCRUM Process 3 This illustrates the basic concepts and some of the involved components. These include: Product Backlog a collection of all goal stories/ requirements/user stories to be implemented across releases/iterations. Sprint (Iteration) Backlog a selection of user stories that have been planned for a specific iteration. Sprint (Iteration) the timeframe wherein the planned user stories are implemented, tested and documented in an incremental and iterative way. The Silk Central development team uses an iteration length of 14 days. The two intertwined circles describe the iterative process per day and per sprint. Working increment of the software how the iteration translates as additional functionality and customer value. Release, Product Backlog, User Stories and their relation to Requirements in Silk Central The Silk Central development team uses a commercial agile project management tool for managing the work for each release and iteration. This tool is tightly integrated with Silk Central via the open plug-in API for synchronizing all the product backlog information. Figure 2: Iterations

4 4 HOW SILK CENTRAL BRINGS FLEXIBILITY TO AGILE DEVELOPMENT Figure 4: User Stories The prioritized product backlog lists goal stories, requirements and user stories in descending order of priority, clearly indicating the importance of specific functionality to be implemented in a specific version/ release. Figure 4: User Stories, shows the number 4 goal story for Silk Central version 12.0 with its associated requirements and user stories: The team will estimate goal stories, requirements and user stories indicating the required effort for implementing, testing and documenting the appropriate functionality. This estimate is usually very high-level at the goal story level and at the beginning of a project, and becomes more granular at user story level and as the project progresses. This process of evolution cause functionality to slip to a next version, but ongoing backlog prioritization will ensure that important functionality will always rise to the top and can be achieved as planned. User stories are implemented during sprints (iterations). Consequently, a sprint backlog which matches resource availability for the given timeframe (ie the duration of the iteration) with the estimated effort for a selection of user stories will be created. This is the work the team expects to complete in the coming iteration. Hence the SilkCentral Test Manager project, the trunk, contains all the information of previous releases and the information of the current release, where information means all the backlog information with according tests and results. For example, the baseline project SilkCentral Test Manager 12.0, a branch contains all the information of the release backlog of Silk Central 12.0 and the previous releases. Figure 4: User Stories Silk Central simplifies the planning and scheduling process by filtering the requirements, using the synchronized information, to show user stories for a specific version and iteration. Figure 6 highlights the filter definition and the resulting requirements structure for the iteration backlog of iteration 16 of Silk Central 12.0 in Silk Central s requirements area (Figure 7). As mentioned above, all the backlog information, such as goal stories, requirements, user stories, their estimates and schedules in terms of releases and iterations is synchronized with Silk Central where each release is treated as an increment to all previous releases. The project, SilkCentral Test Manager, shown in the screenshot below is the working project that grows with each release. A baseline is created after each release, representing the end-state of the release: compare that to the trunk and branches in source control systems. Figure 6: Silk Central Filter

5 Borland 5 Figure 7: Silk Central Requirement Structure A set of manual tests for covering this specific user stories can easily be created from this structure: Manual iteration testing When discussing tests for user stories, it is important to consider that a user story often represents just one increment toward some specific functionality. Hence, the functionality that might not be fully finished and is likely to be changed again in a subsequent iteration. Figure 8: Silk Central User Stories Figure 8 illustrates how manual tests have been added for the new user stories in sprint 16. All other user stories that carried over from sprint 15 will be tested with the already created manual tests for sprint 16. Therefore, these manual tests are essentially throw-away tests, executed only once to ensure the implementation of a specific piece of functionality at a specific point in time. The team uses the Manual Execution Planning Area introduced in Silk Central 12.0 both for executing manual tests of a specific iteration and tracking their progress. This planning area allows them to most efficiently define what tests should be executed by which tester, at which point in time and in which environments: one iteration equals one manual test cycle within the same timeframe.

6 6 HOW SILK CENTRAL BRINGS FLEXIBILITY TO AGILE DEVELOPMENT This test cycle has the whole team assigned and all the manual tests that should be done in this iteration can easily be filtered by reusing the filter created for the current iteration in the requirement s area. The following graphic, Figure 9: Silk Central Filter for Iteration, shows the test filter definition and Figure 10: Silk Central Manual Execution Planning illustrates how this filter is then applied in the Manual Execution Planning area to select the tests. Figure 11: Silk Central - Sprint 16 Overview Figure 9: Silk Central - Filter for Iteration The team can track all this information in the Manual Tests assigned to me panel on the personal dashboard, showing all currently not finished tests that are assigned to a specific tester or to the No specific tester area. Besides this tabular/textual tracking of progress, a variety of visual progress representations are also available. These are summarized below: Burn down chart Figure 10: Silk Central Manual Execution Planning Tests can then easily be dragged and dropped to the appropriate test cycle to schedule them for the current iteration. The following example (Figure 11) shows Sprint 16 of Silk Central 12.0 which was scheduled from 9 February to 21 February. Of the 11 tests assigned, 10 have been completed by the end of the iteration. A burn down chart is an illustration of the work left to do versus the time left to do it. Figure 12 shows a testing burn down chart at the top of a test cycle. It compares progress (bars) against an ideal testing progress (line). The bars show the number of open tests per day. Figure 12 illustrates that nothing has been tested until day 4, testing starts on day 5, testing effort was on track for the first time on day 7 and how testing continued until the end of the iteration. All the tests are assigned to the No specific tester area and not directly to a specific tester highlighting the fact that testing is the responsibility of the whole team and not of a single person. Allocating tests to the No specific tester area ensures that all testing activities are visible to the whole team. Figure 12: Silk Central Burn Down Chart

7 Borland 7 Testing cycle progress The personal dashboard displays a Testing Cycle Progress panel much like the agile burn up chart. At the beginning of a test cycle all tests are Not Executed and, as the iteration progresses, they are increasingly replaced by completed tests. In the graphic below, progress is illustrated by the blue area and completed tests by the green area. At the end of the iteration all Not Executed tests are replaced by completed ones. At the end of an iteration the test cycle is finished by the team which results in finishing all the open tests. Although being primarily throw-away, manual tests play an important role as they run in parallel with the automated unit tests. This ensures a basic level of customer facing quality in terms of usability and functionality and therefore a first step towards ensuring the iteration goal of implemented, tested and documented user stories. Those manual tests also support the creation of automated tests by identifying and exploring the new added functionality and how it interacts with the current functionality. Continuous Automated Testing The Silk Central development team puts a strong focus on automated testing as it would not be possible to keep that high level of quality with manual testing only. Each iteration result is deployed on the internal production system used by other product teams, so the result of an iteration represents not just new functionality, but is also an extended automation test set covering added new functionality. Figure 13: Silk Central - Testing Cycle Progress Testing cycle results summary Figure 14 illustrates progress in a similar way. The Testing Cycle Result Summary panel puts the focus on the testers with work allocated per tester and the status and quantity of tests described as not started, in progress and finished. As the whole team works on, or tracks, their tests, there is only one entry for the No specific tester, as shown on the screenshot below (Figure 14). The team relies on a mix of different automated test types. The mix includes JUnit for automated unit testing, Silk4J for automated functional testing and Silk Performer for automated performance testing. They serve different purposes and allow different execution intervals, as continuous execution will find defects as quickly as possible and deliver the greatest benefit. A Continuous Integration (CI) tool, called Jenkins 4, is used for efficient continuous execution. This tool is tightly integrated in the development and testing environments, allowing the tight execution of the tests to facilitate building the source code at different points in time. One of these points in time is every check-in to the source control system by any developer, which triggers the creation of the build artifacts by the CI system. The successful creation of build artifacts triggers specific execution plans CI Tests in Silk Central to verify that the build was is not broken. Consequently the execution information, which consists of the tests to run and where to get the application under tests (AUT), is distributed to the execution servers. These fetch the build artifacts, run the tests and upload the results Figure 14: Silk Central Testing Cycle Results Summary

8 8 HOW SILK CENTRAL BRINGS FLEXIBILITY TO AGILE DEVELOPMENT back to Silk Central which then informs the team via notification if tests failed to show up as early as possible if the build is broken. This whole CI Testing sequence is visualized in Figure 15 Continuous Integration Testing: Figure 16 Daily Build Testing Using this approach for every daily build, the CI allows for ~ 7500 test executions on different configurations to be executed. Figure 15 Continuous Integration Testing Beyond verifying the check-ins several times per day, every evening a daily build is created which is then tested overnight with an extensive set of tests. Again the CI system creates build artifacts and out of these successful build artifacts the setup is created. If the setup creation succeeded, specific execution plans are triggered in Silk Central. This will result in tests being distributed to specific execution servers now also representing different configurations meaning different combinations of an installation language, a browser, a database management system and a webserver. Consequently the tests are run in parallel on different environments with an English, German or Japanese Silk Central installation, running the latest Internet Explorer or Firefox, having Oracle 10g/11g or Microsoft SqlServer 2005/2008 as a database backend and using Tomcat or IIS. The different execution servers again fetch the build artifacts, install the software, run the tests and return the test results to Silk Central which then automatically informs the team via if tests failed. The team uses Silk Central s code coverage capability for testing the quality of the added source code. Figure 17 illustrates how you can drill down from package, via classes to the methods level to reveal those classes and methods that are not covered so far. Figure 17: Silk Central Code Coverage Iteration Review A meeting, called an Iteration Review, is held at the end of each iteration and the team presents the result of the iteration to all stakeholders and interested parties. This presentation includes a demonstration of how the planned user stories were implemented, tested and documented. Silk Central contributes a useful overview of the testing aspect by filtering the requirements area to the specific iteration and show the document view with the test coverage information.

9 Borland 9 Figure 18: Silk Central - Iteration Review Test Coverage In the following screenshot, Figure 18, Iteration 16 of Silk Central 12.0 is shown once more. Hence you see which requirements are covered by testing and which tests were successfully executed. Consequently test results for the iteration backlog are available with a single click and users have the confidence of having implemented, tested and documented user stories. Next release Once all iterations have been completed and the product has been released, the team creates a baseline of the working project for saving the state of the the release. They will also immediately be able to see if the fixed code had any side effects on other areas of this product release as well. The new release backlog is then again added to the working project SilkCentral Test Manager and the release cycle with all the iterations starts again. Summary This whitepaper has described how the Silk Central development team in Linz uses Silk Central to support their agile development approach. The Silk Central development team has been working according to SCRUM since 2007 and has gradually refined and improved their agile approach more and more, using Silk Central as the central hub. The team has consequently enjoyed the following benefits: Clear definition of what has to be achieved and tested Figure 19: SIlk Central Project Releases release, as shown in Figure 19: Silk Central Project Releases. At this point all Source Control profiles are changed to point to the appropriate code branch. With this approach the team is later able to run all the tests for patch/hotfix verifications with the same code base and test base as was available at the time of in a given timeframe Coverage of user stories with different types of tests from the first minutes of an iteration giving immediate control on quality In time feedback on every development commit through tight CI tool integration and therefore ability to work very efficiently and effectively Daily build testing (~7500 different tests on several different environments) so the whole product and how the new parts integrate into the old ones can be tested to immediately reveal any negative impacts This creates a central place to track all test executions and their results on the basis of builds and therefore monitor how quality changes over time

10 It also helps to define a way of moving manual tests to automated (functional) ones and incrementally increase the set of automated (functional) tests Facility to provide an iteration drop every fortnight on the internal Silk Central production server and receiving valuable feedback on the interim release state. And so have the stakeholders: Costly defects are found very early in the lifecycle. This reduces the likelihood of surprises at the end of iterations/releases. It creates a central place where all the information around test coverage, test progress, test results, and code quality is brought together via meaningful reports/dashboard panels. This provides valuable quality insights. It also means there is a central information hub where users can check whether a user story has been tested or not and therefore can be accepted or not accepted at the end of an iteration. Ability to provide an iteration drop every two weeks and receiving valuable feedback on the interim release state. By using a real-life, working example he have demonstrated that Silk Central has everything it takes to support any development process, increase the efficiency and productivity of a development team. This reduces the time-to-market and will save on costs. This is best illustrated by Figure 20: Silk Central Development Team Approach. This is a graphic summarization of how the different parts interact with each other in one iteration. Silk Central is an indispensible resource for testers and developers, and one that has proved itself in time and time again to be a cost effective tool that delivers real value as well as a more robust product. 1 Wikipedia - 2 User Stories Applied, Mike Cohn, 2004, Page Figure 20: Silk Central Development Team Solution 2012 Micro Focus Limited. All rights reserved. MICRO FOCUS, the Micro Focus logo, among others, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Micro Focus Limited or its subsidiaries or affiliated companies in the United Kingdom, United States and other countries. All other marks are the property of their respective owners _WP_HC (11/12)

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