After taking a great webinar from www.threebeacons.com and a good talk from Nathan Eror www.neror.com; I have a better understanding of Agile and how QA works in that team.  Using this information and the process of actually scoping an Agile project with my team-  I believe we have a general concept of how Agile works.

The first things we needed to understand were the words-  the jargon….  I have also learned that there are like 8,000 different ways to do Agile and every team takes what works from the best versions…
Release-  the actual final piece of software.

Iteration-  Time frame used to break up each development cycle within the entire release cycle.  Usually 1 to 2 weeks in length.  You want at least 4 iterations per release in order to take advantage of Agile methodology.

Epic-  It’s like a phase-  more like a block of functional pieces that are logically grouped together. Ex:  Login Page for Online Application

Story-  mini, functional pieces of the release within each epic.  Ex:  I am a Acme customer and I need to login to the Acme site with my email address.  Stories should be phrased as a functional need-  not CODE or DEV work.  Clients do not care about Tables and embedded graphics.  They want to see what works.

Unit Testing-  The heart of Agile.  Test everything as you build it.  Automate the testing if possible.

I will go into a whole different blog about testing-  I am sure I am about to learn a lot as I am being helped by a developer on setting up our testing, repository and bug tracking systems next week.

Basically what we learned is that Agile works if you sell it to the client as collaborative.  Your team MUST buy off on how iterations work and that everything- including testing and build deployment go into each iteration so that at the end of the iteration, you have a functional product for testing and sign off.   The product does not have to have all functionality, just what the client needs to provide a more defined scope as each iteration is completed.

We had to define optimal programmer hours available for each iteration.  We determined for our first project that we would sell 50 “points” for each iteration.  Those points were  based on programming hours and difficulty of each story.

That brings me to my next revelation-  you have to basically scope the project down to the story level before you can quote it-  so planning and pre-project fact finding is critical.  The idea is to pre-qualify the lead and plan the hell out of the project before you walk in with a presentation.  Then the client can shoot it apart through the Agile process by redefining needs.

I will post more as I get deeper.  What we have found makes Agile great for us-  although  a bit cumbersome for smaller projects.  We are finding our middle ground.

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