QA in Scrum

I have seen the tension of uncertainties in the eyes of QA people in reality and in the web community while we were newborn Scrum-babies. The reason was, Scrum defined only three roles – and it wasn’t clear how QA will work in this “cross-functional team” scenario. Is QA engineer a waste? Over time, Scrum teams around the globe got valuable experiences and learning and all the tensions vaporized quickly. Whatever processes we follow, the basic SDLC will never change and specific skills & expertise will always be needed in the various phases of the life cycle.

What are the responsibilities of a QA resource and how s/he will look like in a Scrum team?

To me, QA person (whoever works to ensure quality in the team, not just the people with QA designation) reduces waste from everything going on in a Scrum team. QAs are not testers only to report Bugs, Issues… (wastes) at the end, basically they work from the beginning – even can start with the POs to improve the quality of user stories. They can pair with the developers during the implementation to clarify the requirements; remind them with the acceptance criteria, boundary conditions & business constraints; help to develop unit tests; help in testing at Developer’s PC and so on. QAs can develop system test cases and acceptance test cases and can involve the whole team to perform the test in early state, whenever someone is ready and available, just-in-time.

While team passes thru the testing and stabilization phase, QAs should take lead (NOT to control but) to plan, organize and involve the whole team in the testing work and to keep people motivated just like the SM. Reality shows, most of the developers don’t prefer the testing work (they suppose to develop, right 🙂 ), so along with SM, it’s the QA who can keep the vision and goals visible to the whole team and perform everything needed to keep the motivation level high. Sometimes funny testing ideas, funny test data, fun games/competitions  with testing – help the team to stay on top of the testing work.

QA can help the SM to maintain the agility of the team, to follow up on Scrum processes and make adjustments if needed. QA can provide feedback to POs from the testing experiences and that can help POs to develop better user stories with enhanced acceptance criteria. Based on the findings from the team, QA can help POs to modify/update/enhance existing user stories.

QA engineers & Developers just create the perfect balance in the team and produce the required momentum to move faster while reducing wastes and increasing quality.


4 Responses

  1. hi mamun bhai,
    nice to see your blog on web. i totally agree with you, QA guys are part of the cross functional team. they are not limited with in testing modules rather they have far reaching responsibilities than any other team members.
    like you said they can fine tune or improve the quality of user stories or even test criteria.

    on my previous company, we kept our QA persons along the team, they are like other developers who participate in daily stand up, set daily commitment and join in sprint planning, review and retrospective meeting. they had really a great impact on the team and the project.

    best wishes,

  2. Thanks that you liked the post. The things QAs were doing in your last company was just perfect – QA is just another member of the usual Scrum team with specific skill set.

  3. Hello!

    Hmm, I see benefits of a completely opposite approach as well.

    For example, you can think of Q.A. as not a person but a process – a process which is in place to find faults with the product; and in the case of not finding faults, to give the final word that the product is ready.

    Therefore, I believe the QA could be completely independent from the Team, and in a kind of quarantine. They should be handed a product, a set of expected functionalities, and they should then take the list and apply it to the product – trying to break it, and report their results.

    Just a thought, really…

  4. QA doesn’t really have a place in scrum and should be done outside of scrum. Scrum people are good in using impressive words for their agenda.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: