Agile methodology across the application development has grown briskly. Organizations’ use of agile process at least in some application development has increased 70-80% in the last few years. With the growing effectiveness of agilities at improving delivery outcomes, it is not just restricted to the development process, but now QA and testing teams are also exploiting to improve the odds of outcomes. To become more productive, testing teams need to move to agile development and DevOps, breaking down the siloes, and start building teams with the combined skills to deliver. Each team needs to be complete in its arsenal and focus on providing specific business capabilities.
However, the traditional QA and testing approaches were misaligned with Agile’s iterative approach to planning and delivery of the software product. In Agile testing, traditional roles and responsibilities often don’t reflect the new cross-functional roles, team structures, and competencies required for high-performing agile delivery. Today a tester or a team of testers need to play more stimulating positions in the agile environment. It includes actions that are focused not only on providing feedbacks/inputs on test status, test progress, and product quality but also on the overall quality process of the software. It includes the following:
- Collaborate with product teams more closely in tracking and tracing the product development stages
- Create the framework for both manual and automated testing
- Configure, utilize, and manage test environments and test data
- Build test scripts as per the agile process that includes behavior-driven, test-driven, or UAT-driven
- Ensuring proper use of testing tools in the agile environment
- Keep a tab of the testing readiness used at different validation and verification process
- Find, fix, and report defects promptly to minimize the risk and impact of final delivery
- Execute automated testing and report back to the destined team
Along with that, today's testers have a crucial role in helping product owners understand the value of agile methodology and how to adapt their processes to meet the needs of agile teams. This way, they can increase the speed and responsiveness of the whole software development process. But, this is not always the case with testing teams because agile-driven conversations sometimes do not motivate them. Often, they struggle to envision how better understanding their roles and responsibilities concerning the agile model can help them achieve not just their own functional goals but also the overall business goals.
Even though, tweaking testers’ roles w.r.t. agile approach introduces some challenges in terms of flattening former hierarchies, redefining responsibilities, adopting self-organizing work teams, and developing and training the QA team with broader skills. But, we all know customer focus is utmost because everyone is on the value-driven business. Here are few tips to start with:
Digitally Inspire and Motivate
With digital transformation as a top strategic goal for most organizations, all types of organizations are increasingly looking for talent with both technical and business skills. Being a tester, they must exhibit the competencies needed for end-to-end ownership of the QA process. They should take on a broader set of delivery responsibilities and minimize dependence on external resources by providing diverse experiences and expanding their set of core competencies.
Deeply Understand the Delivery Processes
A tester also needs to get input and approvals from other teams like the UI team, software developers, IT infrastructure team, and PMO without extended delays in the delivery. A tester can build effective solutions delivery partnerships by improving handoff efficiency,
better integrating other teams into early delivery processes and embedding governance requirements into delivery processes and environments. They must proactively participate in daily standup meetings, team retrospectives, suggesting and implementing improvements, and other initiatives for process quality improvements.
Effectively Coordinate with Cross-Team
Testing persons in the agile teams need to partner efficiently not only with other functions, but also with other delivery teams to achieve shared outcomes. They should also collaborate with developers and business stakeholders to clarify requirements, especially in terms of testability, consistency, and completeness. They should also work in the direction of improving cross-team coordination by tracking interdependencies through shared goals and objectives and by effectively managing coordination responsibilities across the delivery cycle.
Adapt Fast to the New Norm
At all levels of the software development life cycle, the quality analyst team should open to change, risk, and new ways of working. To build a climate of openness to Agile, the QA team should also focus on bringing more agility in the delivery cycle to help enterprises achieve business objectives. Project leaders should also establish an environment that encourages everyone to adapt fast and bring to the table more innovative ways to deliver positive results.
Expand Existing Role and Train Others
A tester must also enable themselves to take end-to-end ownership of their QA work by expanding their scope of responsibilities. It is good to pilot test on QA teams to take on new areas of accountability by giving them more ownership of delivery processes corresponding to their proven maturity in the existing practices and performance delivered. Moreover, they should also coach other team members in relevant aspects of understanding, implementing, and updating the agile test strategy.
To conclude, today’s QA teams in the agile world are not just restricted to operational software testing and validation tasks; they have much more roles and responsibilities to improve the delivery process and ensure the stringent quality of the developed product or software. In fact, the diversity in the team will also help better track the progress and improve the overall process for ultimate business goals. As we continue to adopt more agile approaches to overcome traditional QA testing barriers, we would also love to get your perspectives on this, too. Do let us know what key roles and responsibilities a tester should adopt to improve the agility and responsiveness of SDLC.
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