Book Review: Agile Testing – A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams

Authors: Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory
Published: 2009
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Paperback: 576 pages

“What is in it for me in Agile?” ask testing professionals whom I have come across .  Though Agile methods advocate generalization over specialization in terms of programmers, testers etc., the  available agile literature tends to lean heavily towards programming as compared to testing.  For e.g.  two  Google searches which I conducted just few minutes yielded 25 million results for  “agile programming”  and just 2 million results for “agile testing”.  Therefore this  half-a-thousand page book is in my view is of prime importance in agile literature.

The book has 21 chapters grouped under six parts.
Part I Introduction: Provides an overview of agile testing and highlights how agile testing differs from testing in a traditional or “waterfall” lifecycle. The “whole team” approach i.e. the entire team being responsible for delivering high-quality software is explored. It also covers ten principles which an agile tester needs to follow to contribute effectively to the agile project.
Part II Organizational Challenges: This part deals with how to transition a traditional testing group to an agile testing group and the cultural challenges one may face during this transition.It also explores the ways to build an agile testing team.
Part III The Agile Testing Quadrants: The concept of Agile Testing Quadrants is introduced as a means to ensure that all types of testing are covered. Tests and their associated tools in each of these quadrants viz; Technology Facing /Supporting the Team,  Business Facing/Supporting the Team, Business Facing/Critique the Product and Technology Facing /Critique the Product are dealt with in separate chapters. There is also a chapter which describes a real project using tests from all four agile testing quadrants to overcome difficult testing challenges.
Part IV Automation: Test automation is a critical success factor for any agile implementation. This part deals with the necessity of automation and the challenges faced during the automation journey. It also explains how to develop an practical automation strategy based on agile values, principles,and practices to overcome these challenges.
Part V An Iteration in the Life of a Tester: In this part of the book, the authors describe how an agile tester typically works during the course of an iteration . They show how testers can -  get involved  during release or theme planning; help the team members when they start the iteration; work closely and incrementally with the programmers so that coding and testing are part of one integrated process of delivering software; help their teams stay on track and gauge progress; contribute during release, UAT, packaging, documentation, and training.
Part VI Summary: Discusses 7 Key success factors for agile testing  viz;
1. Use the whole-team approach.
2. Adopt an agile testing mind-set.
3. Automate regression testing.
4. Provide and obtain feedback.
5. Build a foundation of core practices.
6. Collaborate with customers.
7. Look at the big picture.

The authors have shared  over 100 real-life stories drawn from their rich professional experience which makes an interesting read.

A significant portion of this book discusses Agile in general. This will seem superfluous to readers who are already familiar with Agile and looking for deeper insights into testing techniques.

Overall a very significant contribution to agile literature which educates  programmers and testers as well as their managers on how to appreciate one another’s work and collaboratively work towards  integrating testing  activities as a part and parcel of an agile process.


  • Preface draft – This draft version of the  preface will give you an idea why the authors wrote the book and how use this book
  • Agile Testing Book Mind Map  showing how the book is organized, and what’s in it.
  • Chapters available online:

Chapter 1 – What is Agile Testing Anyway?
Chapter 21 – Key Success Factors for Agile Testing

[Please feel free to leave your comments below or bookmark/share this summary]

This entry was posted in Book Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>