My Innovative Solution to Agile: Automation-Assisted Showcase

Make every showcase a successful one.

Zhimin Zhan
4 min readAug 5, 2022

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This is included in the “My Innovative Solution to Test Automation and Continuous Testing” series.

In 2015, I worked (as the test lead) on one project that took the showcase quite seriously (at least the project manager planned to). The showcases for the first two sprints went quite well. The highlight of the showcase was, of course, a demonstration of implemented (or changed) user stories by business analysts. However, the business analysts’ demonstration started showing signs of struggling since Sprint #3.

The reason was simple. The user stories implemented were simple and straightforward ones, such as: ‘user login’, ‘user sign up’, ‘applicant can fill the form’, …, etc, which are easy to demonstrate. Along with the development, the user stories (of new sprints) are dependent on previous ones. For example, “Manager can reject the application” needs a newly submitted application first. Therefore, the business analysts had to spend growing time preparing test data for the showcase demonstrations. It seemed still manageable.

However, showcase #5 went quite badly. The problem was not test-data preparation, rather, the business analyst forgot one user’s password when switching users. Then, he panicked, which made things worse. He eventually made it through, but it was no good, at least compared to the previous showcases.

After this failed showcase (not really the business analyst’s fault), all team members realized it was going to get worse, as upcoming user stories would be much more complex (i.e. more steps and multiple switching users). The project manager was upset because ‘unable to showcase’ would undermine ‘his perfect Agile’.

Seeing that, I said: “We could use automated test scripts to assist showcases”. The team members were aware of the value of our automated tests: verify the user stories (Done, Done) and regression testing, but for showcases?

I continued: “I could create a set of new automated (not test) scripts purposely for the sprint’s showcase. Because it is really a subset of existing automated tests (I developed for the sprint), I could create them very quickly, in minutes”.

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Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.