Just One Slide Inspired Me To Be a Better Coach for Testers in Agile teams

W21     Start Time : 16:00     End Time : 16:45

In my organisation we have a large number or Agile Teams, meeting release deadlines while striving to maintain Agile principles and Quality. I had observed teams falling into a pattern of develop first, test second. In my role as Test Process Mentor, I struggled with how to enable teams to analyse and improve their own behaviour with respect to testing.

After attending ‘Acceptance Testing in Agile – what does it mean to you?‘ by Fran O’Hara via webinar one slide stood out as exactly what I was looking for. His slide “Evolving from sequential to Iterative and Incremental” explained exactly how our teams were operating, some falling into all three categories based on specific User Story Implementation and has become the basis to a workshop I have run with over 20 Agile teams in our organisation. In using the slide content as a basis, teams place themselves in one of the described categories.

Teams have recognised their own behaviours, how they can change their behaviour to effectively deliver complete User Stories, and provided valuable feedback on the issues they see as blocking to incremental delivery of User Stories. Key feedback included User Story quality, lack of Test engagement at Kick Off meetings but most importantly for those teams that changed how they approached their testing an acknowledgement that upfront test and design planning was proving beneficial – catching defects in a conversation or whiteboard session before development work commenced.

Teams that had already adapted this approach had a very interesting and different view. The feedback they provided highlighted the role of the tester in an Agile team. They had taken an iterative approach but developers had also defined User Story Tests. These teams had identified a number of their escaped defects as a direct result of not having a Tester define what testing should be implemented.
Let me elaborate on how this worked and is working…

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  • Speaker

  • Grace O'Mahony - Test Process Mentor, Openet, Ireland

    A Tester with 15 years experience in Telecoms Testing, Team Leading, Test Management, and Process Mentoring.  I have been part of the evolution of both Telecoms and Testing.  It has been a pleasure to watch my craft and fellow Testers evolve with the demands of today’s software delivery, and always interesting to debate the evolutions along the way!