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Testing Agility in an Agile Transformation

By Leanne Howard | Agile Practices Consultant

INSIGHTS // Articles

28 Apr 2017


INSIGHTS // Articles


By Leanne Howard

28 Apr 2017

Agile may be simple, but you need to change your mindset.

Organisations often fail to adopt Agile methods for similar reasons, and many of these reasons are cultural. From a tester’s perspective, here are some Agile failure models to avoid so you can help your teams succeed with your own Agile transformation.

Testing Agility in an Agile Transformation

Agile disruption

You are told that you are going to be part of an Agile transformation, and instantly you have feelings of cynicism and distrust. You have heard from colleagues that they are not seeing the promised benefits of Agile.

Great news for testers, as there are many skills that you already have in your toolkit that can be re-used in an Agile framework. The fundamentals do not change. For example, the use of testing techniques to quantify and justify test coverage are critical, particularly given your test preparation window is smaller.

Quality ownership

This is where the tester plays a key role in Agile transformation. As the expert in quality uplift, it is critical for you to become the quality champion and not the quality gatekeeper. You will take on a coaching role to help the rest of the team understand where they can contribute to shift left, building quality in and not testing it out. The cost of quality model can help you in having these conversations with the developers about what you expect from their unit testing.

Risk mitigation

Testing is a risk mitigation activity. Here you can help influence the reduction of risk early in the project as you iteratively ship to production, rather than the big bang of traditional projects. Again, the re-use of your risk based testing strategies are of key importance in iteration planning and ensuring that acceptance criteria and definitions of done are met by your team.

Poor and changing requirements

This is cited in many surveys, including Planit’s own Index, year after year as one of the major contributors to project failure. In Agile, we embrace changing requirements; however, we do expect them to be in a form that the team can use, meeting the definition of readiness. Testers can facilitate grooming sessions in order to make the user stories testable. Static testing techniques and checklists such as INVEST are part of the testers way of working, which they can share with the rest of the team.


There are of course some competencies and skills which will change for you as the tester in an Agile environment, but take this as a great opportunity for continuous learning. Planit has a range of Agile Training options to help you with this.

To achieve a successful Agile transformation, you need to make a critical change—from just doing Agile to being Agile.

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