Skip to main content

The importance of well defined COAs!

All through our lives we get told by people you get out of anything that you undertake what you put in. How can it apply to me as a Tester or as an Engineer?

Well lets start with a rather less than subtle drawing, the above shows that if you put poop (in case my 4 year old son reads this one day) into something you will most probably get poop out. It doesn't matter what that task is, it directly effects the outcome.

How does this apply to me as a Tester? Lets look at a PBI with no COAs? If we took that into a sprint, chances are we will end up with a rubbish outcome, it most probably won't be what the Product Owner wanted and it probably would be littered with bugs, and the time taken to even develop and test that thing would have been far greater than it perhaps should have!

Lets flip it, what if we had a Product Backlog Item (PBI) with well defined, testable and understood Conditions Of Acceptance (COAs) the chances are that what would come out at the end of a sprint would be a well tested PBI that meets the Product Owners requirements.

This is why it is so so important to get well understood, clear concise requirements. Requirements that can be tested and are not open to interpretation. This is also where Behavour Driven Development style language (more on this in a later post, but for now read this here by our very own Oletha Lai) can be useful in ensuring that requirements are well understood by the team!

It can pretty much be applied to so many different things, that it's important to remember, next time someone wants to bring in a PBI for a sprint with no COAs, just remind them, that we will more than likely turn out rubbish as a result! Rubbish in = Rubbish out..... That is of course not to assume that by having well defined COAs that you'll definitely deliver an amazing PBI, but it's a step in the right direction!


  1. What a well-written, precise and informative article. I enjoyed reading it throughout. I found the example of poop quite funny though. Good luck for your future.

  2. Howdy! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it's new to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely glad I found it and I'll be bookmarking and checking back often! failed back surgery syndrome


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Advantages of using Test Management tools

Before I start talking about test management tools, let me clarify what I mean by the term test Management tools...  I am not taking about your office excel program where you store your test cases in. I'm talking about bespoke test Management tools, your quality centers or Microsoft test manager...
In the strict case of the term test Management tool, Microsoft Excel can be used as such, but heck, so could a notepad if used in the right way... For the sake of this blog post I am talking about bespoke test Management tools.
Firstly, what test tools are out there? There are many more out there today than when I first started in QA over 5 years ago. When I started the market was primarily dominated by a tool called Quality Center, this would run in a browser (only Ie unfortunately) and was hosted on a server.. Nowadays it's market share has somewhat dwindled, and there are some new kids on the block. 
One of the more popular tools is that of Microsoft Test Manager, it's big…

What is a PBI?

After my last post, I had the question of what is a PBI... so I thought i'd write a short blog post about what they are and why they are used.

A PBI is an acronym for Product Backlog Item. It is a description of a piece of work that your SCRUM team will develop and deliver. When you have a list of Product Backlog Items, you then refer to that collective list as a Product Backlog.

The product backlog is often prioritised and yourteam will work through each PBI, and release on a regular schedule... I am however going deep into the world of Agile development, which isn't entirely what this post is about, so I will stop myself now.

A Product Backlog Item is made up of the following:

Title - This is often a one liner that gives the team an idea of what the PBI is about, although it can just be an ID for the item and the team work off of that.

Description - Breaks down the PBI in a bit more detail, and can be written in any style, however I prefer it to be written as follows: 

By writin…

Dealing with Selenium WebDriver Driver.Quit crashes (Where chromedriver.exe is left open)

We recently came across a problem with Selenium not quitting the webdriver and this would then lock a file that was needed on the build server to run the builds.

We were using Driver.Quit() but this sometimes failed and would leave chromedriver.exe running. I looked around and found this was a common issue that many people were having. We (I say we, as we came to the solution through paired programming), came up with the following, that would encapsulate the driver.quit inside a task and if this task takes longer than 10 seconds, then it will clean up any processes started by the current process, in the case of the issue on the build server, it would kill any process started by Nunit.

        public static void AfterTestRun()
            var nativeDriverQuit = Task.Factory.StartNew(() => Driver.Quit());
            if (!nativeDriverQuit.Wait(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(10)))

        private s…