Advantages of Agile Software Development for Testers

Advantages of agile software development for testers.This is a guest blog post from Ray Claridge, who writes a really interesting blog about agile testing caled Tester Troubles.

Over to Ray…

Moving into agile software development can be a daunting experience for any tester, and crawling the Internet for crumbs of comfort does little to ease the anxiety.

I remember how I felt on my first day, going into a mammoth planning meeting and participating in a sizing session with what appeared to be poker cards. When asked why I’d held up a 5, I really didn’t know what to say. Talk about a fish out of water!

Like most testers, I gained experience and qualifications over many years whilst practicing the V-Model approach to development. I’m not saying it was easy, but it was pretty straight-forward. Give me a spec, I’ll review it, create a test plan, devise tests against it and months later finally test against it. Whereas in agile, there’s no big spec, the software functionality evolves during development and testing is required before it’s finished!

However, once I got my head around the changes I soon realised the advantages of working in an agile environment:

• Agile re-ignited my passion for testing.
• I spent less time complaining about being the last to know when there’s a requirement change.
• For the first time I felt like a valued member of the team.
• Developers looked upon me as one of their own, instead of the nasty tester in the corner.
• I was being engaged and used for my creativity, skill and critical thinking.
• Tried and tested test techniques still applied.
• User stories are just like bite size specifications, only easier to digest.
• The business were more engaged with the process.
• I was more engaged with the business.
• The business was happier with the process.
• The business were ending up with software that meets their needs at that moment in time, not the software they thought they wanted 6 months ago.
• I was helping to shape the requirements.
• I lost a huge amount of negativity and became more positive, motivated and accommodating tester.
• I spent far less time sitting around waiting for code to be delivered.
• I no longer waited days, sometimes weeks for defects to be fixed.
• I felt I was adding real value.

Now I know there are some testers and managers out there who will disagree with agile and will never accept it as a development process. Some have even considered a career change to avoid it. I’m not saying agile is perfect and like all methodologies it’s not without it’s faults, but for me it’s been a breath of fresh air.

My advice to any tester about to embark into the world of agile would be: keep an open mind, be flexible, accept the tester’s role IS changing and remember, agile is here to stay. Don’t fight it, embrace it!


Ray Claridge is an experienced tester with ISEB qualifications and experience in both agile and waterfall environments, and author of the popular blog, Tester Troubles.

photo by Duncan Rawlinson

3 Responses to “Advantages of Agile Software Development for Testers”

  1. Trisha Haynes says:

    Spot on Ray! Agile has helped testers to be much more proactive and involved in the team.
    It's also a great opportunity for learning and expanding your skills.

    Keep on blogging :)

  2. John Reber says:

    I'm with you Ray. Agile has presented testers with a bunch of new challenges to meet. My main concern is that the test community should be contributing to the critical debate surrounding testing within Agile and not just blindly accepting new methods of working.

  3. Test Early and Often

    Not just some, but all relevant test procedures for a given project must be carried out comprehensively as early as possible in the lifecycle of a project. This means that unit tests, functional tests and load tests must be built into project planning from the start. By doing this, problems can be identified early and can be rectified before they become roadblocks capable of stalling the entire project.

Leave a Reply

What is 8 + 7 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”