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Immediate Storytest Feedback

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You've been applying Storytest Driven Development, but you are not satisfied with the results, given the effort. Here's some possibilities of what may be happening:

  • The storytests often arrive too late to be used to drive development.
  • They are expensive to maintain.
  • They run slowly, so feedback is delayed. They're run less often than the ideal.
  • The storytests are difficult to read and organize, and the Customer team have mixed feelings about their value.
  • There are business domain  issues that are not easily resolved, even with repeated discussions between your Customer team and the developers.
  • There are overlaps between the storytests and unit tests and it's unclear when to use which.
  • You wonder whether there are better ways to do it.

One of the common problems is with the form of the storytests:

  • Perhaps you write them in terms of the UI, because that's the "obvious" thing to do
  • So you leave writing or completing them until after coding and after the UI is stable, because there is uncertainty around the UI when you write stories.
  • So you're unable to use the storytests to effectively drive the development process
  • The storytests are brittle and large, because of all the UI details. Hence they're expensive to change as the system changes.
  • There is a lot of duplication, which makes changes worse. Trying to run the tests in a fixed order to reduce redundancy leads to tests being inter-dependent. Thus a test is more likely to break due to a change elsewhere.
  • It's easy to get lost in the details of a particular storytest, and so miss the bigger picture of the business domain and the business rules concerned.
  • It's difficult to find the storytests that are inter-related. You'd prefer to run only the ones that are relevant to the changes that have been made recently.

Here are some coaching possibilities...

Copyright, Rick Mugridge, Rimu Research, 2006 .. 2009.