Agile Project Management

Agile Testers Roles and Responsibilities

Quality Assurance (QA) Team’s job in Agile Software Development environment is more challenging because there is no software requirement specifications (SRS) for testing team to verify development release and the team often has a user story and some acceptance criteria in which any good tester can quickly poke holes.

Development team always says that they will fix these minor issues in next iteration or the fact is that build can be changed after showing it to customer. Then Testing Team or Testers usually say “Well, then there's no point in testing now if the code changes, I'll just need to re-test all this stuff anyway. Call me when things stop changing.” But it doesn’t solve the problem.

So what are the roles and responsibilities of a tester / QA Team in Agile software development environment?

Deliver Quality Product: Being a tester in an agile development environment is about improving the quality of the product before it's complete. It also means becoming an integrated and important part of the development team. They help ensure the software-each little bit that's complete-is verified before its users validate it. Testers are involved early to help describe acceptance criteria before the product is written. Their experience is valuable to finding issues that likely will cause issues with customers.

Provide Early Feedback: Provide feedback early, often, and on anything. It will save the cost of changing major things at the end of the project.

Add Value to the Business: Add value throughout the whole life-cycle, by starting early and testing the design until the code is implemented. Assist Design in identifying alternate scenarios and business rules and assist in refining requirements. Contribute in helping to solve the business problem.

I think tester role is all about providing feedback on analysis, requirements, design and implementation as early as possible. What do you think? please tell me in comments.

Leadership Advice for Managers

I think Agile Project management is something different than old project management style. Generally "old managers" try to control the things in angry and judgmental way. This tends to long run problem for you and organization.

Do you have any employee who is not acting as he supposed to? Are you just getting annoyed or are you trying to help him. Think about your own behavior at work. Are you communicating a sense of joy and enthusiasm to the people around you - or are you spending too much time in the role of angry, judgmental critic.

Keep trying to make a constructive difference in the situation, but do it in a way that is positive for you and the people around you. Real leaders are not people who can point out what is wrong. Almost anyone can do that. Real leaders are people who can make things better. What do you think?

Team building Tips for Project Managers

Every project manager wants high performance teams because effective & motivated teams magnify the accomplishments of individuals and enable you to better serve customers. As a team leader it is your responsibility to motivate team members. Here are some tips for How to build high performance team & increase employee involvement.

Clear Goals
Make sure that the team goals are totally clear and completely understood and accepted by each team member. Keep the vision for the project front and center. Remind people what is going to be different as a result of your collective efforts.

Open Communications
Make sure there are no blocked lines of communications and you and your people stay fully informed. Effective interpersonal communication among members and successful communication with managers and employees external to the team are critical components of team functioning.

Positive Relationships
Develop and maintain positive relationships among members. Be careful with interpersonal issues. Recognize them early and deal with them till full resolution.

Consensus and Commitment
For issues that rely on the team consensus and commitment, involve more the whole team in the decision making process.

Sense of Responsibility & Ownership
Provide each employee with a distinct definition of his or her own responsibilities, both individually and as it relates to group projects. This eliminates confusion over who is accountable for what, and allows employees to relate without struggling over responsibilities.

Progress & Feedback
Give them regular progress reports about what’s been achieved so far. And make sure they know that their input is valued. Give your feedback about their work.

You can find Some Team building faqs at
Team building question answers for Project Managers

Characteristics of Agile Managers


In Agile Project Management, managers play their role in different way. They need more particle skills than old project managers. Agile managers should have the following behavioral characteristics:

1. Innovative — feeling comfortable in fast-changing environments; being willing to take risks and to consider new and untested approaches

2. Strategic — taking a long-range, broad approach to problem solving and decision making through objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning

3. Excitement — operating with good deal of energy, intensity, and emotional expression; having a capacity for keeping others enthusiastic and involved

4. Tactical — emphasizing the production of immediate results by focusing on short-range, hands-on, practical strategies

5. Communication — stating clearly what you want and expect from others; clearly expressing your thoughts and ideas; maintaining a precise and constant flow of information

6. Delegation — enlisting the talents of others to help meet objectives by giving them important activities and sufficient autonomy to exercise their own judgment

7. Production — adopting a strong orientation toward achievement; holding high expectations for yourself and others; pushing yourself and others to achieve at high levels

8. Consensual — valuing the ideas and opinions of others and collecting their input as part of your decision-making process

Scrum methodology of Agile

Can we afford not to use Agile software methodology? I think no. Water fall model may complete your project on the time according to specification but may not deliver value to the end user. That’s why continues feedback is important though the whole software life cycle.

Agile software development aims to develop and implement software quickly in close cooperation with the customer in an adaptive way, so that it is possible to react to changes set by the changing business environment and at the same time maintain effectiveness and efficiency.

To accomplish this you should emphasis on tacit knowledge and sharing it via frequent face-to-face communication and by concentrating on producing working software instead of documentation.

SCRUM is an agile, lightweight process for managing and controlling software and product development in rapidly changing environments. Iterative, incremental process Team-based approach developing systems/ products with rapidly changing requirements Controls the chaos of conflicting interest and needs Improve communication and maximize cooperation Protecting the team form disruptions and impediments A way to maximize productivity

See What this Presentation explains about Scrum methodology of Agile.

New Question & Answer Portal for Project Managers

Hi, New Question & Answer Portal for Project Managers has been launched. On this site you can ask questions and share your knowledge with others by answering their questions. On this site you can discuss about various topics like Project management, Agile Methodology, Team management, Leadership, Software development etc. Here is the link of the site: http://www.techbaba.com/faqs/project+management+question+answers.aspx

Attributes of Product Roadmap

product roadmapping can play an important role in bridging the gap between management, marketing and product development by forcing management to consider both product positioning and development aspects at the same time. Product roadmap is important to account for services in the product roadmap, and that a common conceptual view of the product may be lacking even when the development organization is small.

Furthermore, the roadmap helps in making resource allocation trade-offs between product and service development. Because a sense of urgency is always present when dealing with small companies, an incremental and systematic process for roadmapping seems necessary

Some attributes of product roadmap

The market, the life cycle, where you are in the adoption curve, pricing and distribution are all factors to consider.

Draw a distinction between goals and commitments on a feature by feature and time level. You don't commit to something that doesn't have some sort of supporting plan so you have confidence in it.

Often times releases will be anchored by defining features and then other enhancements.

Features need to be prioritized based on business bang for the buck, market windows.