Advantages of Agile Software Development for Testers

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Advantages of agile software development for testers.This is a guest blog post from Ray Claridge, who writes a really interesting blog about agile testing caled Tester Troubles.

Over to Ray...

Moving into agile software development can be a daunting experience for any tester, and crawling the Internet for crumbs of comfort does little to ease the anxiety.

I remember how I felt on my first day, going into a mammoth planning meeting and participating in a sizing session with what appeared to be poker cards. When asked why I'd held up a 5, I really didn't know what to say. Talk about a fish out of water!

Like most testers, I gained experience and qualifications over many years whilst practicing the V-Model approach to development. I'm not saying it was easy, but it was pretty straight-forward. Give me a spec, I'll review it, create a test plan, devise tests against it and months later finally test against it. Whereas in agile, there's no big spec, the software functionality evolves during development and testing is required before it's finished!

However, once I got my head around the changes I soon realised the advantages of working in an agile environment:

• Agile re-ignited my passion for testing.
• I spent less time complaining about being the last to know when there's a requirement change.
• For the first time I felt like a valued member of the team.
• Developers looked upon me as one of their own, instead of the nasty tester in the corner.
• I was being engaged and used for my creativity, skill and critical thinking.
• Tried and tested test techniques still applied.
• User stories are just like bite size specifications, only easier to digest.
• The business were more engaged with the process.
• I was more engaged with the business.
• The business was happier with the process.
• The business were ending up with software that meets their needs at that moment in time, not the software they thought they wanted 6 months ago.
• I was helping to shape the requirements.
• I lost a huge amount of negativity and became more positive, motivated and accommodating tester.
• I spent far less time sitting around waiting for code to be delivered.
• I no longer waited days, sometimes weeks for defects to be fixed.
• I felt I was adding real value.

Now I know there are some testers and managers out there who will disagree with agile and will never accept it as a development process. Some have even considered a career change to avoid it. I'm not saying agile is perfect and like all methodologies it's not without it's faults, but for me it's been a breath of fresh air.

My advice to any tester about to embark into the world of agile would be: keep an open mind, be flexible, accept the tester's role IS changing and remember, agile is here to stay. Don't fight it, embrace it!


Ray Claridge is an experienced tester with ISEB qualifications and experience in both agile and waterfall environments, and author of the popular blog, Tester Troubles.

photo by Duncan Rawlinson


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