How Agile development has given the testing community a role facelift…

The Agile manifesto is not new to the software development world anymore. The industry has embraced the Agile development methodologies quite well over the last decade with every organization adopting it in varied shapes and forms to align with their needs with the ultimate goal of being truly receptive to end user and market needs. Initially, like other disciplines in the product team, the testing teams too were randomized with the agile concepts, adoption, timelines, changing user requirements and trying to ascertain amidst all of these as to where they really fit in in the life cycle and what their role needs to be. However, over the years, in my humble opinion, the testing team has gained the most from varied angles including:

1. Better reputation for the work they do – Testing is no longer relegated to a prod3 phase in the software life cycle. Testers are involved upfront not just in their testing efforts but even in requirements definition, product planning and design stages. This level of involvement is better honing their skills and bringing out their best in discussions that they were previously not a part of

2. Improved work items on their plate – With an increased focus on more test automation to be able to save test cycles, testers have been forced to give away some tasks on their plate which were earlier done manually. This has given them more time to do bigger and better things such as end user feedback analysis, competitive analysis etc.

3. Enhanced collaboration with the rest of the team – Having shifted left in the development life cycle, the tester has had a chance to collaborate with the rest of the product team instead of being an isolated entity that enters the scene just before product release. Although this had its teething problems initially including role trespassing, a sense of denial of letting the testers get involved in product discussions etc. the value add the testers have shown have greatly helped the rest of the team see their potential and collaborate with them

4. Stronger ties with end users – Given that in an Agile program, the product team as a whole is more receptive of and engaged with end users, testers as end user representatives on the team have a huge potential to front end with users be it product demos, beta programs, usability studies etc. This has given them a better understanding of the product from end user standpoint and helped them get better in their own roles rather than a previous scenario of imaginary shoes of the end user that they were attempting to fit into

Lastly, most importantly, within all the variables the team works within, the Agile way of operations has forced the tester help the rest of the team own quality in their own spaces and help not just himself but everyone do better in their roles and contribute their bit to the product under development. The tester has come a long way since the role was officially baptized in the 90s. The Agile style of operations has given the tester a much better status and facelift that they deserved both for the work they were already doing and for winning newer tasks that they had a huge potential for. The testing fraternity indeed needs to be thankful to the Agile Development Methodologies for this much needed facelift in their role. In the next post I will talk about the testing deliverables in the Agile world, focusing on the horizontal and vertical deliverables. Stay tuned!

About the Author

QA InfoTech

QA InfoTech

Established in 2003, with less than five testing experts, QA InfoTech has grown leaps and bounds with three QA Centers of Excellence globally; two of which are located in the hub of IT activity in India, Noida, and the other, our affiliate QA InfoTech Inc Michigan USA. In 2010 and 2011, QA InfoTech has been ranked in the top 100 places to work for in India.

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