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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Dedicate Tester in an Agile Team

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  • Ryan Shriver
    ... To follow up, on our agile teams we d have embedded testers in each team that would be responsible for testing new stories that iteration their teams were
    Message 1 of 24 , Apr 18 4:22 AM
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      On Apr 17, 2009, at 11:06 PM, George Dinwiddie wrote:

      > brian_bofu wrote:
      >> We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that
      >> they'd like to have a tester who could look at the application in a
      >> different angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a
      >> dedicate tester be a great helpful with respect to the quality?
      >> What's your thoughts?
      >
      > I've found that having a dedicated tester (or several) on the team
      > pays
      > big dividends. They bring a viewpoint similar to the product owner
      > angle, bit with more depth and variety of considerations. This is
      > really helpful for coming up with acceptance criteria for a story that
      > will hold up under real-world usage.
      >
      > They can also help (often with a developer) automate regression
      > scripts.
      >
      > - George

      To follow up, on our agile teams we'd have embedded testers in each
      team that would be responsible for testing new stories that iteration
      their teams were developing (writing FitNesse and Selenium scripts).
      We also had a separate, independent group of "end-to-end" testers
      that did more thorough, lifecycle testing with each iteration's code
      drop and especially before a major release. For example, they would
      do a transaction, cycle the system forward a few days, then do
      another transaction and ensure things worked correctly. I thought
      this setup worked well.

      The "end-to-end" testers had deep domain experience and knew how the
      system should work whereas the agile team testers were younger and
      generally had more technical skills but lacked deep domain experience
      (along with many developers).

      Before adding the "end-to-end" testers, we completely relied on the
      agile team testers, but got bitten by a few nasty bugs that got
      shipped. Adding this team, especially because they had deep domain
      experience, was a big help in improving release quality.

      -ryan
    • Ron Jeffries
      Hello, Ryan. On Saturday, April 18, 2009, at 7:22:45 AM, you ... Were you able to be Done in every Sprint, or did this extra line of testers require a
      Message 2 of 24 , Apr 18 4:53 AM
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        Hello, Ryan. On Saturday, April 18, 2009, at 7:22:45 AM, you
        wrote:

        > The "end-to-end" testers had deep domain experience and knew how the
        > system should work whereas the agile team testers were younger and
        > generally had more technical skills but lacked deep domain experience
        > (along with many developers).

        > Before adding the "end-to-end" testers, we completely relied on the
        > agile team testers, but got bitten by a few nasty bugs that got
        > shipped. Adding this team, especially because they had deep domain
        > experience, was a big help in improving release quality.

        Were you able to be Done in every Sprint, or did this extra line of
        testers require a separate testing phase?

        Ron Jeffries
        www.XProgramming.com
        www.xprogramming.com/blog
        In times of stress, I like to turn to the wisdom of my Portuguese waitress,
        who said: "Olá, meu nome é Marisol e eu serei sua garçonete."
        -- after Mark Vaughn, Autoweek.
      • andaluri sai prasad
        Hi But as per Scrum guide lines , is it suggestable to have a dedicated tester . Scrum says the team should have members who are multi skilled. -Sivaram On
        Message 3 of 24 , Apr 18 5:31 AM
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          Hi
           
          But as per Scrum guide  lines , is it suggestable to have a dedicated tester . Scrum says the team should have
          members who are multi skilled.
           
          -Sivaram


           
          On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 8:36 AM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:


          brian_bofu wrote:
          > We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that
          > they'd like to have a tester who could look at the application in a
          > different angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a
          > dedicate tester be a great helpful with respect to the quality?
          > What's your thoughts?

          I've found that having a dedicated tester (or several) on the team pays
          big dividends. They bring a viewpoint similar to the product owner
          angle, bit with more depth and variety of considerations. This is
          really helpful for coming up with acceptance criteria for a story that
          will hold up under real-world usage.

          They can also help (often with a developer) automate regression scripts.

          - George

          --
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
          Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
          Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
          ----------------------------------------------------------




           

        • davenicolette
          Hi Sivaram, If my understanding of Scrum is correct, then the guideline is that teams should include all the skills necessary to deliver the product; teams are
          Message 4 of 24 , Apr 18 7:23 AM
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            Hi Sivaram,

            If my understanding of Scrum is correct, then the guideline is that teams should include all the skills necessary to deliver the product; teams are cross-functional. Scrum itself doesn't dictate exactly how to achieve that. Team members who are individually multi-skilled is often a very good way to do it, but I don't think that's actually defined in Scrum as such. It would still be consistent with Scrum if you had a team comprising individual experts in each required discipline.

            So, if your team members have both development and testing skills, that's fine. If your team includes some developers who aren't skilled at testing, and some testers who aren't skilled at development, that's also fine as far as Scrum guidelines are concerned (although I personally think the former model is more effective for general business application development, which rarely demands narrow-and-deep specialized skills).

            Cheers,
            Dave

            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, andaluri sai prasad <andaluris@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi
            >
            > But as per Scrum guide lines , is it suggestable to have a dedicated tester
            > . Scrum says the team should have
            > members who are multi skilled.
            >
            > -Sivaram
            >
            >
            >
            > On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 8:36 AM, George Dinwiddie
            > <lists@...>wrote:
            >
            > >
            > >
            > > brian_bofu wrote:
            > > > We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that
            > > > they'd like to have a tester who could look at the application in a
            > > > different angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a
            > > > dedicate tester be a great helpful with respect to the quality?
            > > > What's your thoughts?
            > >
            > > I've found that having a dedicated tester (or several) on the team pays
            > > big dividends. They bring a viewpoint similar to the product owner
            > > angle, bit with more depth and variety of considerations. This is
            > > really helpful for coming up with acceptance criteria for a story that
            > > will hold up under real-world usage.
            > >
            > > They can also help (often with a developer) automate regression scripts.
            > >
            > > - George
            > >
            > > --
            > > ----------------------------------------------------------
            > > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            > > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
            > > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
            > > ----------------------------------------------------------
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
          • Mike Dwyer
            If you want to get into this come join Scott Barber and me at CAST 2009 where we are going to get into Agile QA, software testing, and best of all a face to
            Message 5 of 24 , Apr 18 9:07 AM
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              If you want to get into this come join Scott Barber and me at CAST 2009 where we are going to get into Agile QA, software testing, and best of all a face to face conversation on subjects like this with serious test types and folks like Gerry Weinberg.
              What we as Scrummies need to remind ourselves is that we are not the center of the universe and that REALLY scarce resources like good testers are too valuable to baby sit every team writing a couple of dozen lines a code a day.
              Pay attention to equally scarce ressources like Ron or better Chet who take responsibility for their work by first writing out their tests. I bet if you ask them they might tell you that test folks are great to sit down with at the BEGINNING of the project and come up with a collaborative strategy that integrates all the tests they will build. The test gang can then go rock the integration system and performance end.
              Ron? Care to comment?

              Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


              From: "brian_bofu"
              Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 04:11:26 -0000
              To: <scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Dedicate Tester in an Agile Team

              Hi there,

              We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that they'd like to have a tester who could look at the application in a different angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a dedicate tester be a great helpful with respect to the quality? What's your thoughts?

              Regards,

              Brian

            • Michael James
              ... One thing I ll add to this discussion is the TDD habit of mocking out the UI layer and the persistence layer (in order to make tests run in less than 10ms)
              Message 6 of 24 , Apr 18 2:13 PM
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                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Dave Rooney <dave.rooney@...> wrote:
                >
                > I agree with your separation of the types of testing, but would suggest
                > that TDD is a design specification activity rather than a testing one.
                >

                One thing I'll add to this discussion is the TDD habit
                of mocking out the UI layer and the persistence layer
                (in order to make tests run in less than 10ms) leaves
                holes in the areas a lot of customer bug reports tend
                to come in: the UI (especially in browser-based apps),
                and the interaction of multiple components at the
                persistence layer.

                So yeah, you need end to end system testing, and it's
                the whole team's responsibility. Fortunately nowadays
                we can do a lot of it using unit test tools that can
                plug into our continuous integration environments,
                which helps mitigate the slower turnaround time.

                Knowing whether to add this particular person to
                the team is a whole different question that can't be
                answered just from his resume.

                --mj
              • Michael James
                ... I m wondering how cross-functional team often gets misconstrued into team of cross-functional individuals ? Getting Scrum out there would be so much
                Message 7 of 24 , Apr 18 2:26 PM
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                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "davenicolette" <dnicolet@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > If my understanding of Scrum is correct, then the guideline is that teams should include all the skills necessary to deliver the product; teams are cross-functional.

                  I'm wondering how "cross-functional team" often gets
                  misconstrued into "team of cross-functional individuals"?
                  Getting Scrum out there would be so much easier without
                  all these misconceptions.

                  It's true I've seen individuals become more generalized from
                  working closely together. But that doesn't always happen,
                  and (as you wrote) isn't *required* by Scrum anyway.

                  --mj
                • Ken Schwaber
                  Scrum does not say that. It says that a team commits to developing an increment of potentially shippable functionality from the product backlog items it
                  Message 8 of 24 , Apr 18 4:17 PM
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                    Scrum does not say that. It says that a team commits to developing an increment of potentially shippable functionality from the product backlog items it selects. Hopefully the team is insightful enough to only commit to those things that it has the skills to do (whether multi-skilled or whatever). The proof is determined when the increment is inspected in the Sprint Review meeting.
                    Ken


                    On Apr 18, 2009, at 8:31 AM, andaluri sai prasad wrote:




                    Hi
                     
                    But as per Scrum guide  lines , is it suggestable to have a dedicated tester . Scrum says the team should have
                    members who are multi skilled.
                     
                    -Sivaram


                     
                    On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 8:36 AM, George Dinwiddie <lists@idiacomputing .com>wrote:


                    brian_bofu wrote:
                    > We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that
                    > they'd like to have a tester who could look at the application in a
                    > different angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a
                    > dedicate tester be a great helpful with respect to the quality?
                    > What's your thoughts?

                    I've found that having a dedicated tester (or several) on the team pays 
                    big dividends. They bring a viewpoint similar to the product owner 
                    angle, bit with more depth and variety of considerations. This is 
                    really helpful for coming up with acceptance criteria for a story that 
                    will hold up under real-world usage.

                    They can also help (often with a developer) automate regression scripts.

                    - George

                    -- 
                    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
                    * George Dinwiddie * http://blog. gdinwiddie. com
                    Software Development http://www.idiacomp uting.com
                    Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemar yland.org
                    ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -




                     



                  • Tobias Mayer
                    ... team of cross-functional individuals ? For very good reason, And misconstrued is the wrong word; intelligently interpreted would be more accurate. A
                    Message 9 of 24 , Apr 18 5:05 PM
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                      > I'm wondering how "cross-functional team" often gets misconstrued into "team of cross-functional individuals"?

                      For very good reason,  And 'misconstrued' is the wrong word; 'intelligently interpreted' would be more accurate. 

                      A team should consist of specialists, sure, but we absolutely need individuals capable of taking on many different types of tasks.  Why is this important?  Because people take vacations, get sick, have babies, get new jobs.  We never want to be in a situation where the one person with all the testing skill, or all the web design skill isn't there.

                      I remember a while ago Jeff Sutherland (I think it was Jeff) coined "the two truck rule": your development may only stop if two of your developers get hit by a truck on the same day.

                      Scrum doesn't really say much at all.  Common sense says don't have narrow specialists.  Strive for cross-functional, multi-skilled individuals, don't let it happen as a side-effect. 

                      Tobias



                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Michael James" <michael@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "davenicolette" dnicolet@ wrote:
                      > >
                      > > If my understanding of Scrum is correct, then the guideline is that teams should include all the skills necessary to deliver the product; teams are cross-functional.
                      >
                      > I'm wondering how "cross-functional team" often gets
                      > misconstrued into "team of cross-functional individuals"?
                      > Getting Scrum out there would be so much easier without
                      > all these misconceptions.
                      >
                      > It's true I've seen individuals become more generalized from
                      > working closely together. But that doesn't always happen,
                      > and (as you wrote) isn't *required* by Scrum anyway.
                      >
                      > --mj
                      >
                    • davenicolette
                      +1. Another part of the post of mine that was quoted below mentions that most business application development doesn t really demand the skills of
                      Message 10 of 24 , Apr 18 5:20 PM
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                        +1.

                        Another part of the post of mine that was quoted below mentions that most business application development doesn't really demand the skills of narrow-and-deep specialists (at least, not most of the time). For that sort of work (and I think that accounts for most of our work), a team of generalizing specialists often performs better than a group of specialists because they can (a) eliminate hand-offs and interim artifacts, and (b) shift their activities to handle changing workloads during each sprint; in addition to the benefits Tobias mentioned.

                        If we limit ourselves to what Scrum "requires," we are in effect setting those "requirements" as our end goal. What might we achieve if we saw Scrum's "requirements" as a baseline or starting point for ongoing improvement? Cross-functional team is a good baseline; a /minimum/ requirement for an effective team.

                        Cheers,
                        Dave

                        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Tobias Mayer" <scrum@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > > I'm wondering how "cross-functional team" often gets misconstrued into
                        > "team of cross-functional individuals"?
                        >
                        > For very good reason, And 'misconstrued' is the wrong word;
                        > 'intelligently interpreted' would be more accurate.
                        >
                        > A team should consist of specialists, sure, but we absolutely need
                        > individuals capable of taking on many different types of tasks. Why is
                        > this important? Because people take vacations, get sick, have babies,
                        > get new jobs. We never want to be in a situation where the one person
                        > with all the testing skill, or all the web design skill isn't there.
                        >
                        > I remember a while ago Jeff Sutherland (I think it was Jeff) coined "the
                        > two truck rule": your development may only stop if two of your
                        > developers get hit by a truck on the same day.
                        >
                        > Scrum doesn't really say much at all. Common sense says don't have
                        > narrow specialists. Strive for cross-functional, multi-skilled
                        > individuals, don't let it happen as a side-effect.
                        >
                        > Tobias
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Michael James" <michael@>
                        > wrote:
                        > >
                        > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "davenicolette" dnicolet@
                        > wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > If my understanding of Scrum is correct, then the guideline is that
                        > teams should include all the skills necessary to deliver the product;
                        > teams are cross-functional.
                        > >
                        > > I'm wondering how "cross-functional team" often gets
                        > > misconstrued into "team of cross-functional individuals"?
                        > > Getting Scrum out there would be so much easier without
                        > > all these misconceptions.
                        > >
                        > > It's true I've seen individuals become more generalized from
                        > > working closely together. But that doesn't always happen,
                        > > and (as you wrote) isn't *required* by Scrum anyway.
                        > >
                        > > --mj
                        > >
                        >
                      • Michael James
                        I also prefer generalists (in general!), but specialists need not be forced to be generalists to do Scrum. --mj
                        Message 11 of 24 , Apr 18 5:49 PM
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                          I also prefer generalists (in general!), but specialists need not be
                          forced to be generalists to do Scrum.

                          --mj
                        • andaluri sai prasad
                          Hi Thank you . This is clear. ... -- ANDALURI
                          Message 12 of 24 , Apr 20 12:52 AM
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                            Hi
                             
                            Thank you . This is clear.

                            On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 7:53 PM, davenicolette <dnicolet@...> wrote:


                            Hi Sivaram,

                            If my understanding of Scrum is correct, then the guideline is that teams should include all the skills necessary to deliver the product; teams are cross-functional. Scrum itself doesn't dictate exactly how to achieve that. Team members who are individually multi-skilled is often a very good way to do it, but I don't think that's actually defined in Scrum as such. It would still be consistent with Scrum if you had a team comprising individual experts in each required discipline.

                            So, if your team members have both development and testing skills, that's fine. If your team includes some developers who aren't skilled at testing, and some testers who aren't skilled at development, that's also fine as far as Scrum guidelines are concerned (although I personally think the former model is more effective for general business application development, which rarely demands narrow-and-deep specialized skills).

                            Cheers,
                            Dave



                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, andaluri sai prasad <andaluris@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hi
                            >
                            > But as per Scrum guide lines , is it suggestable to have a dedicated tester
                            > . Scrum says the team should have
                            > members who are multi skilled.
                            >
                            > -Sivaram
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > On Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 8:36 AM, George Dinwiddie
                            > <lists@...>wrote:

                            >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > brian_bofu wrote:
                            > > > We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that
                            > > > they'd like to have a tester who could look at the application in a
                            > > > different angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a
                            > > > dedicate tester be a great helpful with respect to the quality?
                            > > > What's your thoughts?
                            > >
                            > > I've found that having a dedicated tester (or several) on the team pays
                            > > big dividends. They bring a viewpoint similar to the product owner
                            > > angle, bit with more depth and variety of considerations. This is
                            > > really helpful for coming up with acceptance criteria for a story that
                            > > will hold up under real-world usage.
                            > >
                            > > They can also help (often with a developer) automate regression scripts.
                            > >
                            > > - George
                            > >
                            > > --
                            > > ----------------------------------------------------------
                            > > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                            > > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                            > > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                            > > ----------------------------------------------------------
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >




                            --
                            ANDALURI
                          • Sean Hart
                            Well put. QA is important to reconcile the product being shipped with the wants/needs of the business. Ideally, in addition to being part of the team, QA
                            Message 13 of 24 , Apr 24 8:24 AM
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                              Well put. QA is important to reconcile the product being shipped with the wants/needs of the business. Ideally, in addition to being part of the team, QA folks should work with the PO and the customer during backlog creation. It's amazing the kinds of ambiguities you can avoid if you identify and resolve them before they get to the team. QA has to be both pig and chicken (picken?) in a sense. This makes for a very busy quality assurance staff, but do it right and you have a much happier and more productive team as a result.


                              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Cenk Çivici <cenk.civici@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hi,
                              >
                              > TDD with unit testing is for building the code right
                              > Acceptance Testing and QAs are for building the right code..
                              >
                              > Cheers
                              > Cenk
                              >
                              > On Fri, Apr 17, 2009 at 7:11 AM, brian_bofu <brian_bofu@...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > Hi there,
                              > >
                              > > We're using Scrum and TDD. But I heard from some team members that they'd
                              > > like to have a tester who could look at the application in a different
                              > > angel. I'm bit curious, in an Agile environment, would a dedicate tester be
                              > > a great helpful with respect to the quality? What's your thoughts?
                              > >
                              > > Regards,
                              > >
                              > > Brian
                              > >
                              > >
                              >
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