Creating Tasks for Testers

In a Sprint, testers have tests to plan, design, and execute – but these are just a few of the many tasks they do within the time-box. This article will help guide testers in a Scrum project when they are creating their tasks during Sprint Planning.

Tasks in Scrum

Tasks are the smallest units of work that are used to distinguish the different components of a goal or project. In the context of Scrum, they are the activities that need to completed in order to finish their corresponding user stories. These activities are discussed during Sprint Planning, which the Scrum Guide describes this Sprint ceremony in the following excerpt:

“The work to be performed in the Sprint is planned at the Sprint Planning. This plan is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team. Sprint Planning is time-boxed to a maximum of eight hours for a one-month Sprint. For shorter Sprints, the event is shorter. The Scrum Master ensures that the event takes place and that attendants understand its purpose. The Scrum Master teaches the Scrum Team to keep it within the time-box.

“Sprint Planning answers the following:

  • What can be delivered in the Increment resulting from the upcoming Sprint?
  • How will the work needed to deliver the Increment be achieved?”

This simply means that a Sprint Planning session is divided into two parts: scoping and committing user stories, and planning the tasks and capacity for the Sprint. Even though the Scrum Guide does not explicitly suggest that tasks are required to be listed during Sprint Planning, it does prescribe teams to plan how to deliver the increment as well as to continuously refine the product backlog with details and estimates.

Teams new to Agile might find it difficult to rely solely on user stories when implementing them, so they will need more organised ways to work with those. Tasks help in organising by letting the team track what needs to be done and what their progress is for each user story.

SMART Tasks

SMART is an acronym that can serve as guide when creating tasks. SMART stands for:

  • Specific – The task needs to be independent in accomplishing an objective. It also needs to be specific enough to be understood by everyone.
  • Measurable – The task must be mark-able as “Done”, and everyone needs to agree on what “Done” would mean for the tasks.
  • Achievable – It is expected for task owners to find ways to achieve and complete their tasks.
  • Relevant – The task must be valuable and justifiable to the user story and the customers.
  • Time-boxed – The task must be limited to a specific duration.

Creating SMART tasks mean creating tasks that are clear, well-defined, and valuable. Such tasks should have definite end-states, should be realistic and feasible as skills and resources permit, and should be accomplished within a certain period of time.

Breaking Down Tasks

Completion of user stories and delivery of the product increment entail the usage of various skills and technologies. And the best people to assess how to put those skills and technologies to use is the development team itself. Because of this, it takes teamwork to decompose user stories and list the tasks that are needed to achieve the Sprint goal.

When decomposing user stories into tasks, the Scrum team should analyse each user story and its acceptance criteria in order to discuss what needs to be done. By bringing the team together to put their ideas on the table, everyone gets each other’s point of view to assess what are the necessary tasks and what are the unnecessary tasks. Identifying tasks also help determine if a user story is too big, would take more than one Sprint to finish, and would need to be split further.

Testers can make use of task writing to inform their teammates what testing work they plan to do, how it would impact the others team members, and what help they would need, if any. Some testing tasks could include:

  • Identify and retrieve test data from the QA database
  • Set up the data files for test scripts
  • Write automated test scripts
  • Run and debug test scripts
  • Run automated test scripts in QA environment

Other things that could be considered in writing testing tasks would be the different browsers, devices, and environments that tests should be done in. It can take a few Sprints for the Scrum team to find the best “size” or granularity for their tasks.

<– Continue Reading –>

Our Book Recommendations

We found these books great for finding out more information on Agile Scrum:

Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Tester With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

Introductory Offer: Free Course

Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Tester With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

What is this course?

This ‘Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Tester With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)’ provides an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Tester roles and responsibilities

You will explore the Agile Scrum project life-cycle, including how an Agile User Story is created, to how we know when it is ‘done’

This course is aimed at those with or without prior knowledge and experience of the Agile values and principles

During this course you will learn the tools needed to succeed as an Agile Scrum Tester

What will you learn?

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Tester roles and responsibilities, and you will be able to

  • Fully understand the role of the Agile Scrum Tester
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team
  • Fully understand the role of the Agile Scrum Developer
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team

What topics are covered within this course

You will cover the following topics during this course:

  1. An Introduction to Agile Project Management (Tester)
  2. The 12 Agile Principles (Tester)
  3. Introduction to Scrum (Tester)
  4. Scrum Projects (Tester)
  5. Scrum Project Roles (Tester)
  6. Quality in Agile (Tester)
  7. Acceptance Criteria and the Prioritised Product Backlog (Tester)
  8. Quality Management in Scrum (Tester)
  9. Epics and Personas (Tester)
  10. Planning in Scrum (Tester)
  11. Scrum Boards (Tester)
  12. User Stories (Tester)
  13. The Daily Scrum (Tester)
  14. The Product Backlog (Tester)
  15. Review and Retrospective (Tester)
  16. Validating a Sprint (Tester)
Translate »