Scope: This write-up is for anyone working as testers in Agile teams.
Aim: To build self motivated testers who would effectively contribute in Agile teams. The idea is to change the mindset of a tester, get them out of frustration and get them out of uncomfortness.
During our journies as testers in different Agile teams, during test activities we are exposed to various aspects of Agile such as sprints, stand-ups, user stories, backlogs, and retrospective meetings. However, ideally, the roles we perform will and should go beyond this. Through this article, I would like to share information about the role of a tester in an Agile team, and how to build ourselves as self motivated testers and team members.
In an Agile environment, the primarily role of a tester is to work as part of a development team, and to ensure that quality is built into a product by working closely with the product owner.
A few other aspects include:
- The QA team getting involved early in the project along with product owners and business analysts. In some cases they would be working with the development team, who are involved in coming up with user stories.
- Defining acceptance tests for user stories before a story is developed.
- Actively take part and share ideas during the backlog grooming and estimation phase.
- Adding test cases as user stories are being developed.
- Setup an automation strategy in an earlier phase of the project.
- Always looking to refactor existing tests and automation scripts.
- Giving feedback about the application at a user level is the major responsibility of a tester.
Most of these are being followed and if not, as a tester we need to be self driven and start showing interest in taking up these responsibilities with management. Maybe not all of them, but however many can be incorporated, which mainly depends on the project we working on.
We have to strongly concentrate on the ‘Agile Manifesto’ which says to focus on individuals and interactions over processes and tools. As testers, there is a need to work as members of the team and to engage with others within the team, regardless of titles. The role of a tester is to test. However, if you see a task that is stuck and needs immediate attention, even though it’s part of the developer's job, you should take up the task. The title and role of every individual working should have less impact in any matter.
Regular and timely communication is yet another aspect. Use the daily scrum meeting as the best platform to communicate effectively with the entire team.
We have to look at incorporating some best practices so that our efforts as an Agile tester are really effective. A few of them include:
- Testers influence developers
- Removing competition between dev and test
- Develop better confidence in QA with management
- Initiative from QA in taking up unit testing
- Develop automation or ways to manually test for regression after continuous integration
- Spread awareness among the entire project team for ‘Quality is everybody's responsibility’
- Spread awareness to work as an agile team for better delivery of the project.
- Defect bash from the whole team
- Pair programming and pair testing
- Test-driven development
To conclude, let’s be proud of working as testers in an Agile World. Look forward to freshly restart the way of working by taking initiative in applying few of the above mentioned best practices of Agile.