Software QA vs. Software Testing on Agile Development Projects

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the people, what would happen if each tester took responsibility for a story and the division was along story or features, rather than activities. Your testers would gain skills, and I think you might have better testing in the long run.

Bob:

Well in that case I guess we would have to consider the ROI of having two people on the team, a QA Analyst and a tester, versus one person doing both functions. I can tell you that in my experience it is faster to have the two people versus one person. As long as the team is completing testable functionality in a timely manner both roles can be done efficiently and effectively. However, should you find you are scarce that resource one person will need to do both functions.

Janet:

What would prevent you from having two people both performing the same function, just on different stories? You might find that it actually is more effective. There is no one way to do agile and your team will need to figure out what works for you. I do strongly recommend you start thinking about the whole team taking responsibility for quality, and the team works together to get the stories “Done”.

Bob:

Janet I agree that as a team member you will have to find what works best for you in the situation you are in at your company. That being said if you are the sole test engineer on an agile team then you will need to do both job functions and have a lot of work to do to help the team get the stories to doneness.


 [i] Chapter 8, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory, Addison-Wesley 2009

*Chapter 9, Software Engineering, Merlin Dorfman and Richard H. Thayer, IEEE Computer Society Press 1996

About the Authors:
The co-author of Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Agile Testers and Teams, Janet Gregory is a consultant who specializes in helping teams build quality systems using agile methods. Based in Calgary, Canada, Janet’s greatest passion is promoting agile quality processes. As tester or coach she has helped introduce agile development practices into companies and has successfully transitioned several traditional test teams into the agile world. Her focus is working with business users and testers to understand their roles in agile projects. Janet teaches courses on agile testing and is a frequent speaker at agile and testing software conferences around the world.

Bob Small , founder of the Quality Consortium of Phoenix, has 12 years in the IT industry. Bob has been a developer for a Professional Senior care provider. Bob started as a System Tester for the number one domain registrar in the world. Bob continued his career in testing and advanced into Quality Assurance at a leading contact center solution provider. Bob has recently started guest lecturing at local Universities and colleges. Bob has won worldwide online testing contests. He continues to learn Agile techniques and mentors those around him in testing techniques and methods. He has taught developers and mentored junior QA analysts in testing methodologies and QA responsibilities. Favorite quote is: “Plan your work, work your plan.”

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