Tester and Scrum

When we are transforming our way of working from a waterfall to an agile way of working like Scrum, we see some shifting in rolls inside the IT world. For example if you want to adapt scrum, rolls like a testmanager are not needed anymore. A lot of testers who are currently active in a team where they change to the scrum framework, are feeling lost in the dark. Who is telling them where they can improve their work or where they need to focus on?

What I saw from within the test community at CAST2016, a lot of testers are doubtful about the scrum way of working. They only see engineers, UX and product owners in the teams and no place for testers. Is there still a need for testers if we adapt Scrum? I think that testers still can play a key role in the scrum teams.

From what I experienced at CAST2016 was that a lot of testers are feeling lost with the Scrum framework. Before scrum they had a testmanager who were guiding them on their testwork. But with scrum their testmanager is eliminated and can’t steer them in a direction. This was also the topic of the keynote from Anne-Mari Charett. She has a worked as a test consultant and saw a lot of problems with the shifting to scrum. She saw a lot of testmanagers were changing into develivery managers and their testers were left alone in the teams. So how can you still improve the testpart without a testmanager?

The problem from what I saw immediately at CAST2016 was that there is a culture difference. I’m a software developer and you can assume that for me the test community is a whole different world. But I was eager to understand the test community and how they are thinking about scrum and developers. From my findings I can conclude that the most of testers are thinking about “them” (software developers) and “us” (testers). They mostly feel not fully accepted by their developers because the topic “Testing” is not rocket science as it is for programming of course. And because of this behaviour in between the test and developer community you can’t expect immediately a good collaboration in a scrum team.

I think as a developer a tester is crucial if you want to develop a good application or feature for an existing app. And If you are working with scrum, you need to embrace your tester and help him out with the test work. The whole point of scrum is to collaborate with each other, from what I see at my work is that most scrum teams are still working with a waterfall solution from within the team. First there is a design made, than the developers are coding the whole thing, and in the end the testers do the test work. From what I learned from scrum, this way of working is not ment for scrum. In scrum you need to work together at one user story at a time, there are no separate task for different rolls such as developers or testers. You are working together as a team on one task. If this task is for example design, an ux designer needs to take the lead. If the task is coding, the same applies for a developer and of course if the task needs to be tested a tester needs to take the lead. This is what scrum is all about, no specialised work for an individual, where you can blame individuals if they didn’t finished on time. But a team who is responsible for the commitment of a task. What I’m trying to say here, is that we are not alone in a scrum team, you still got your teammates who can help you and improve you as a team member.

So testers, step up to the plate and be a leader in the test task. Show your team how to test and guide your team to a successful finish of your task. And software developers, embrace your testers. You gonna need them to make your app or feature epic!