Tips for Testers Moving from Waterfall to Agile

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More and more organizations are moving from Waterfall to agile software development. While developers usually find the transition to be fairly easy, testers often face more difficulties. Shaun Bradshaw, Zenergy’s Agile expert, explores 5 success tips that can help testers make the transition from Waterfall to agile more smoothly.


Tip #1: Creating Stronger Partnerships

Creating a strong partnership between testers and developers is key in agile software development. Overall, the pairing between a tester and a developer can break down some of the pre-existing barriers as well as provide various benefits to the entire team and process as a whole.


Tip #2: Swarm to the Top

In Waterfall software development testing is usually the set of activities completed toward the end of most projects with little to no overlap between testers and developers working together. In agile software development testers do not wait until all the developers are finished with everything to start their work. In a two-week agile sprint testers, developers, Product Owners, and business analysts all work together to identify which features to test next. After the Product Owner has identified the most important feature(s) for the next sprint, the team will focus on all the tasks that are necessary to get that feature completed before the end of the sprint. Overall, testers should think in terms of “smaller slices,” instead of testing everything at once. They should focus on the most important features or tasks as early as possible in the sprint, which in this instance is referred to as “swarming to the top.”


Tip #3: The Three Amigos

The Three Amigos, in this case is a concept, sometimes referred to as the “triad” where developers, testers, Project Owners and sometimes business analysts all work together throughout the sprint to identify the key features. Together they figure out how the key features will be tested and created and make sure everyone who needs to be involved in the conversations is involved. The Three Amigos concept creates and environment with better collaboration, allowing everyone to be on the same page while working on the same goal and outcome in mind.


Tip #4: Focus on Acceptance Criteria

As a tester in agile software development you can not test everything you want to in a given sprint. Instead, it’s important to focus on the acceptance criteria and finish all the tests related to that criteria first. One suggestion would be to have the testers work with the Project Owner to help create and discuss what the acceptance criteria should be for each sprint.


Tip #5: Balance of Testing

How do you get everything you need to done in a sprint? A balanced approach plays an important role in agile software development. The overall goal in is to find the right balance between automation testing, manual testing, and exploratory testing.

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Are you working with distributed agile groups?

Read our blog, Distributed Agile Teams: The Art of the START, written by Bob Galen.