Agile makes the problem transparent

When my colleagues or myself teach Agile classes, we often refer the ability of Scrum or Kanban making the problem transparent. The teams still have to react appropriately upon it. This also holds true for testing in Agile projects. Motivated from the discussions at the German Agile Testing and Exploratory workshop, I ended up with a realization, that not only Agile testers profit from soft skills and collaboration with programmers.

One of the major insights from GATE was the realization that Agile testers don’t need any special skills. All of the items we identified also help a traditional tester excel in their work. Communication with the programmers, stakeholders, and project managers help to derive a well-informed picture of the software.

This raises the bar for many testers transitioning to Agile methodologies. Many testers could hide in their old projects, only talking to people when absolutely necessary. On an Agile team this kind of behavior ensures to screw up the whole team.

So, skills like communication, team behavior, and collaboration suit an Agile tester. And they also serve a more traditional tester. But on an Agile project the whole team becomes aware of such liabilities as missing communication skills. This puts the individual tester under some pressure to change their behavior.

This might sound hurtful to some of you. Yet, if we fail to adapt to this changing environment, we’re setting up our profession to become extinct. More and more I read about testing becoming extinct, the death of the testing phase, and other similar topics. Agile set up to change the world of software development by embracing change even late in the project. If we fail to set the sails appropriately for the testing profession, we will become history in the next decade.

How have we ended up there? Well, this will be the topic of my next few blog entries.

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4 thoughts on “Agile makes the problem transparent”

  1. To me, testing is and always has been a highly social activity, regardless of whether you work in an agile environment or not.
    As a tester, it is one thing to have good contact with developers and managers – this ensures you know enough about the product you are supposed to test and the information you are to deliver.
    However, to me personally, collaboration with other testers if even more rewarding. Simply the ability to bounce test-ideas back and forth has the potential to create the kind of synergy that is frightening to behold.

  2. Great Post. I think Collaboration between developers and testers can bring real benefits but many testers like to keep a distance. I think they are worried it would somehow affect their integrity to be colluding with the enemy! We are slowly breaking down those barriers by offers of help when they are becoming a bottleneck and our test team are slowly revealing their secrets ;-)

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