Friday, June 29, 2012

Challenges of testing an open source application

How do you test something where most of your human resources are unpaid volunteers; volunteer developers and testers? What do you do if you want to use agile development practices but your team works in different time zones all over the world? We have to make it easy for anyone contributing their time for free to do so. So how do we do agile development and testing with external volunteers, from all over the world?

These are the sort of questions that you could face if you work as a tester for the HQ of a successful open source software organization.

We can't tell a volunteer, open source developer how to write their software, if we are too strict with someone then we might discourage them from contributing. They may have developed software for us within another organization - a partner or user organization - that has it's own development processes. We can't insist that they are agile if they work for an organization that doesn't use an agile development process. In such cases we can't expect test or behavioural driven development and our "early" testing often can't be early enough.

My aim is to share my experiences and techniques that I have used and any other thoughts and software testing resources that I find useful (or maybe even not useful) with the world. I hope that anyone working in testing for an open source organization, or anywhere else for that matter, will find the information that I provide in this blog useful.