In Agile Projects, we use the swim-lanes to track the status of the card life-cycle in an iteration. Unfortunately, the swim-lanes depict a sequential work-flow. Something has to come first, second, ... last. That puts the thought in a lot of minds that what is first is indeed first, and what is last, well, is last in the scheme of things.
That depicts testing being done towards the end - which is very anti-agile!
Testing starts off way before development is completed on any card. See the "Agile QA Process" for one way to do Testing on Agile projects.
On Agile projects, reality is that testing is going on in some fashion or the other right from the beginning. To help bring that visibility into the work-stream, I tried creating a grid (physically on a board, also in mingle) - with the rows representing the state of testing in each swim lane ... but that too was not as appealing as the image shown below. I chose to call it the Dartboard.
|Dartboard - Are you on track?|
Some explanation on how we used this:
Each triangle can represent your individual swim lanes. From testing perspective, we chose to club together "ready for Dev", "in Dev" and "in UI" in the same category.
There is a specific in Testing triangle - because there is some amount of work that definitely needs to be done from testing perspective AFTER development and BA signoff is complete.
The RED triangle means the card is blocked from ALL perspectives in the iteration.
The GREEN tringle means the card is completed from ALL perspectives (analysis, dev, testing - manual + automation)
In each of the triangle (except RED and GREEN), the different colors mean specific things:
- BLACK band = Testing not yet started
- RED band = Testing is blocked (maybe for additional info needed, etc)
- BLUE band = Testing is in progress. Could be identifying test cases, doing manual / exploratory testing, setting up test data, automation, etc.
As the card moves between triangles, the testing state of each of the card is very visible.
Add to this a simple time line on top / bottom of the card to indicate where you are in the iteration, and you know if your "state-of-panic" is justified or not at a very quick glance at the dartboard.
Some swim lane states we have used:
> Backlog / Spillover?
> Ready for Dev / In Dev / In UI
> Ready for BA Signoff / In BA Signoff
> Ready for Test
> In Test / In Integrated Test
We also tracked each type of card separately:
Defects = RED cards / stickies
Story cards = Blue / Yellow cards / stickies
Tech cards = White cards / stickies