What is Agile to the Tester?

No matter what product development framework is used, each approach goes through product testing and quality assurance. There will always be acceptance criteria and test cases to write, checklists to tick off, and defects to communicate to the team. However, due to the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of Agile, there are added responsibilities and concerns for testers. This article will list some of the things that testers can expect from Agile projects.

Faster project pace, same standard quality

The first thing that testers will need to know about Agile is that everything will be at a faster pace. Product increments should be delivered in a potentially shippable state after every sprint. In that time-box, requirements analysis for future Sprints as well as  functional testing and verification of fixes for the current Sprint need to be done. With this shorter time frame, it is a challenging task to ensure that the quality of the product increment is maintained and improved. This puts testing in the forefront of Agile, and testers need to find ways to keep up with the speed.

This does not mean letting go of traditional testing tasks such as test planning, test case creation, and other forms of documentation. It simply means choosing the appropriate tasks for the project and adjusting the templates to make them simple, readable, and understandable for the rest of the team. What was once a tedious bug reporting process could be made easier through changing the approach to presenting it to the developer, and what was once an overly detailed test case could simply list steps and acceptance criteria. Again, these will depend on what the team will find valuable.

Upgraded testing tasks

When a team decides to go Agile, gone are the days where the only things testers will do includes creating test plans, writing and executing test cases, and reporting and retesting defects. They will need to collaborate with every stakeholder – customers, product owner, and developers alike – in making sure that the application will be built the way it was envisioned to be.

As opposed to requirements specifications documents worked on by business analysts with clients, Agile teams come up with features or user stories, depending on the Agile framework being used. Everyone in the team is expected to help contribute in shaping these backlog items. Part of being a great tester is having the ability to see things from a user’s perspective, and these insights could help enhance the acceptance and done criteria. Testers need to work with the product owner in defining backlog items for the team. They must also work with the developers and analysts in understanding the complexity of how the product should be made.

Multi-skilling will come a long way

This is not a hard requirement for Agile team members, as having a role to focus on is better and more efficient. However, given the small team sizes some Agile projects have, it pays to support one another by learning what another team member does. Not only will it save the project when a team member is not available for work, it will also give a fresh perspective for the tester in terms of testing the product. For example, knowing the back-end system will let the tester check the data and the transactions that interact with the data, even before the UI can be built.

A skill worth having by testers would be test automation, a form of testing not limited to Agile projects. Having to manually run regression tests will eventually be impossible to complete as the number of tests increases. Given the short Sprints and iterations, test automation can become a necessity, especially for regression testing.  Another skill that can be useful for testers would be doing the business analysis for the team. Ensuring that the team will build what the customers want involves being able to translate those needs into requirements and backlog items.

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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)