In January I wrote about what you can do to start crawling out of your manual regression testing hole. Since then I’m working with a new team and I’ve tried a similar approach once more.
This time, we were two teams working together to release a more modern and responsive booking site for a travel agent. We’re not using any bug tracking software instead we had were post-it notes for each issue. Other than that the approach was the same: gather the teams, sort bugs in categories which felt appropriate, discuss results and pick one issue to analyze.
We sorted the bugs first into categories such as IE, mobile, appearance, infrastructure, translations, etc… and then we used dots to mark the one which we found were the most severe and/or important bugs. After talking freely about what we saw when we looked at these
bugs and how it made us feel, we selected one which we did a root cause analysis on using 5 Whys.
We finished by identifying one concrete action which would help us improve. The action became a story card which will be prioritized among the others in the backlog. The action was that we needed to make sure that we could trust our test environments.
What I learned
This exercise requires 1½-2 hours when the volume of bugs is around 50.
I felt that it was important that we wrote down one action to take. Even though the action only became “hold a meeting to discuss what we can do to improve our test environments” it is a promise that we will have the discussion.
Selecting only one issue to analyze and only one action to take felt like a drop of water in the sea of possible improvements. But I do believe it is better to commit to one action at the time rather than doing a lot of things simultaneously. If it turns out to be a small thing to fix, it will be done quickly and we can select a new one sooner.
I do believe that you should hold retrospectives like these whenever you have done a major effort in your team. Retrospectives aren’t just for the end of a sprint, they can be used in many other situations where you need to reflect on something that has happened in order to improve continuously.