Why Agile Testers Should Be In At The Start

agile testers should be in at the startIn my experience, some people implement agile principles within the development team itself, but leave other key roles (for instance business users or testers) out of, or on the fringes, of the agile team.

Earlier in my blog I wrote that active user involvement is imperative in agile development for a wide variety of reasons. It’s just as important for the agile team to include all roles required to ensure that each feature is actually complete, that is complete, at the end of each iteration or Sprint.

In particular it’s a good idea to include Testers from the outset, and especially in planning, because:

  • Testers tend to be exceptionally good at clarifying requirements and identifying alternative scenarios. Doing this thinking at the requirements clarification and planning stage improves the quality of estimates given for the work, and therefore increases the chances of successfully delivering in the timescales.
  • When more is known about the test approach up-front, developers are more inclined to write their code to pass! (see my earlier post on test driven development).
  • Testers that are involved in requirements clarification and planning first-hand will have a much better understanding of what’s needed and how it’s being implemented, enabling them to do a better job of the testing. In the absence of a lengthy specification, this is essential in agile development projects to allow a Tester to do their job effectively.
  • And testing must be completed within each Sprint for any completed features to be really 100% “DONE!”, i.e. production ready.

Kelly.

See also: 10 Key Principles of Agile Development

Photo by lorenzo281203

3 Responses to “Why Agile Testers Should Be In At The Start”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    In a sprint when developers are writing the code does that mean that testers idle for that time?

    Thanks,
    -Am

  2. Kelly Waters says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    In agile development, testing is integrated throughout the lifecycle and features are delivered and tested throughout each iteration. So, no, testers are not idle during coding and can in my experience have difficulty keeping up. See the 2 links below for more info…

    http://kw-agiledevelopment.blogspot.com/2007/03/agile-principle-6-focus-on-frequent.html

    http://kw-agiledevelopment.blogspot.com/2007/04/agile-development-agile-testing-is-not.html

    Kelly.

  3. Jeonghoon Park says:

    Hello, Kelly.
    My name is Jake Park working as a QA engineer in Korea. I’ve translated this article into Korean at the address of http://xelion.pe.kr/898. If you woudln’t want to post this, tell me to close the article and I will. Thanks for sharing your excellent experience!

Leave a Reply

What is 4 + 2 ?
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...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

“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.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“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.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“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.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

“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!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“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!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

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

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“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. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“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.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“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.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“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.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES