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One of the key principles of agile development, and particularly Scrum, is the concept of “One Team”.

The Scrum team should include all key roles for the product, wherever they report to, including Product Owner, Product Manager, Test Analyst, Developers, Business Analysts, and any others that might be appropriate such as SEO, Creative, User Research, etc.

This is important for all roles, but especially for Testers, as they need to be aware of the original requirements, and any changes to them, or they can’t really do their job effectively. Or certainly not to the level a professional tester expects of themselves, anyway.

For agile to work effectively for professional testers, Test Analysts need to be included in Sprint Planning, or Pre-Planning, wherever the requirements are discussed. And they need to be informed, either at Scrums or as they happen, about any clarifications or changes to the requirements.

Increasingly, with the use of User Stories, test cases will be defined up-front as part of the requirements gathering, and written on the back of the story card. This means that the traditional Tester role is starting to converge with the Analyst role, putting much greater emphasis on the Analyst part of many tester’s job titles: Test Analyst.

Using an agile approach, collaboration between team members becomes a key principle. Without a full product specification, agile requirements are barely sufficient and collaboration is key.

It is imperative, therefore, that all Scrum team members – and especially Test Analysts – are included in all key aspects of your regular Scrum process. Irrespective of line management boundaries, which may well be different, it’s imperative that the Scrum team is acting as one.