by Anastasia Kizilo | January 26, 2021 9:18 am
Do Agile companies need software testers? And if they do, how does being an Agile tester differ from working in other environments?
While all members of an Agile team are responsible for the quality of the product, QA engineers are the ones who have the necessary testing expertise, skills, and mindset and can guide and coach the rest of the team on the best testing practices.
In Agile, the goal of testers is not just to detect defects at the end of the development process, but to look for them and prevent them throughout the process to ensure the product quality and speedy delivery. In this article, we will address the main tasks and responsibilities of an Agile tester and show how the role of a QA engineer in Agile differs from the one in other environments.
In the Agile approach, much freedom is given to all the team members as to how they do their work, as long as it is done fast and well. So, nothing restricts their creativity, but the team in general and every member of the team are expected to be productive and good at self-organizing.
Agile testers need to plan what tasks they are going to complete during each sprint (a short work cycle of 1-4 weeks), estimate the amount of time they need for each task, and track the actual time that was required and the progress of tasks. They also need to constantly work on improving their working process to make it more efficient.
Unlike the Waterfall model where QA experts start their work at the end of the development process, in Agile, testers are actively involved from the very beginning of the project. Agile testers work closely with developers, the product owner, and other team members to define the acceptance criteria for each user story, or, in other words, the conditions that must be met for each software feature the team is working on for this feature to be considered completed.
QA experts in Agile should especially define how many tests each user story should pass to get the status of “done” and estimate the time and effort required for testing every user story. Additionally, Agile QA engineers should assess testability of each software feature and advise the team on making the product more testable.
Another essential feature of the Agile approach is the collaboration of all the parties involved in the product development to ensure its quality and fast delivery. Agile testers need to work closely with developers, business analysts, the product owner, and other team members at every stage of the development process from the very beginning to make sure the testing process is efficient and serves the main goals of the high quality and quick implementation of the product. QA engineers in Agile should also provide efficient feedback to developers and other team members as soon as they find any bugs or issues with the testing process or the product quality so they can be resolved at once. Thus, it is crucial for an Agile tester to be a team player and have good communication skills.
Daily standup meetings that usually last around 15-30 minutes are one of the important procedures in Agile. At these meetings, team members speak about the work they did yesterday, the tasks they will work on today, and the obstacles they encountered.
It is important for an Agile tester to participate in daily meetings to know all the details of the work on the project and its progress. And if anything interferes with the testing process, the problem should be addressed during a daily meeting to get it resolved as soon as possible. Also, if an Agile tester has an opportunity to help other team members with their tasks and the obstacles they encounter, it should be done to speed up the product delivery.
Being able to respond to change quickly and efficiently is one of the key principles of Agile. In this approach, requirements for user stories are constantly revised based on the new information about the user needs and business value. So Agile testers should be ready to adjust their test cases and write new ones when necessary.
Agile creates a fast-paced environment that can be challenging at first. But when a tester gets used to it, the Agile approach offers great opportunities.
As Agile implies fast implementation of new features, bug fixes, and other increments during each sprint, the amount of regression testing with this approach increases exponentially. In this situation, test automation becomes indispensable. It can be used not only for regression testing, but also for speeding up other routine testing tasks. An Agile tester has to be an expert in test automation. Thankfully, nowadays, there are many great test automation tools such as Selenium, UFT One, Katalon Studio, and others that will make the task much easier.
Not everything can be automated. Manual testing is still essential when it comes to assessing user experience and the way the software reacts to unexpected user behavior and scenarios. In Agile, exploratory testing becomes particularly useful for these purposes.
Exploratory testing saves time as it is scriptless and, therefore, doesn’t require writing and approving test cases. This type of testing is characterized by a fluid approach and quick implementation. Exploratory testing allows QA experts to detect hard-to-find bugs and even critical bugs, which would otherwise be missed. An Agile tester should keep various user personas in mind while performing exploratory testing to make it more efficient.
Constant improvement is one of the pillars of Agile, and there is surely a lot to learn in this approach.
First, a tester needs to learn the principles, procedures, and workflow of Agile itself.
Secondly, as all the team members in Agile work closely together and are versatile, an Agile tester needs to become competent in development processes, coding, programming languages, and business logic. This way a QA engineer will be able to better cooperate with developers and business analysts and more efficiently contribute to the overall product quality improvement.
Thirdly, Agile testers need to constantly analyze the results of their work and working processes, determine what was a success and what was a failure, and learn from both to make their work better and more productive in the future.
As a QA engineer is a testing expert in an Agile team, this person needs to help the rest of the team grasp the best testing practices and apply them in their work on the product. An Agile tester can help developers write unit tests and create great automated tests, assist with making the product design more testable, and make sure that the testing processes followed by the team are of the highest standard.
A QA expert is indispensable in every Agile team that truly adopts the Agile principles of high product quality, end-user satisfaction, and fast delivery. Being an Agile tester has a number of its own specifics that we covered in this article. Such an expert needs to contribute to the product development process from the start, collaborate with all the team members, learn new skills, and constantly improve. Working in a fast-paced and continuously evolving Agile environment can be challenging at first. But if a tester sticks with it, Agile provides endless opportunities for professional and career growth.
We hope this article was useful for you. And, as always, contact us if you have any questions about the topic or if you need assistance from our testers who have much experience working in Agile.
Source URL: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2021/01/26/the-role-of-testers-in-an-agile-company/
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