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.


  1. I definitely agree with you. In several teams now, I've implemented the Tester role as Test *Analyst* and combined BA and QA into one role... See here for more info:

    Kelly Waters
    All About Agile

  2. I suppose that some of the key attributes can be summarised as:-

    Humility - accept feedback
    Able to compromise / support team decisions
    Able to reflect back on events and provide insights (critical for retrospectives)
    Always looking to improve
    Think about things rather than blinding moving forward…..
    Pragmatic - Knows what “just” enough is, Do what it takes
    Adaptive / Flexible - Change direction as required
    Takes initiative / self motivated
    Willing to try new things (may be evident by a desire for continuous learning)
    Can figure out the most important thing to do next. Doesn’t need to be told what to do.
    Risk tolerant – able to make a decision and act based on the information known
    Able to work in fast pace / intense
    Willing to work in a team room – little privacy, very noisy, no prestige
    Can challenge ideas in a respectful manner
    Work incrementally - Willing to revisit work
    Accepting that the big picture will evolve over time

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  4. all developers work closely together so they can communicate informally rather than spending time documenting designs and decisions.

  5. Easier said than done! Managing any project requires certain skills most of the people lack

  6. I agree testing in agile environment can be very challenging and kind of enforce “no offshore” policy to the project.

    The way I usually approach it is by splitting the workload into two baskets: manual testing and automation.

    All new features has to be tested manually but stable code which doesn’t change (have been implemented 2 or more iterations ago) can be automated.

    This gives enough time for testing new features and discussing requirements.

    Just my 2 cents

  7. Hi All,
    Can anybody suggest me to my problem..
    We have weekly builds with some cumulative functionalities added...
    Is it possible to write test cases for the Requirements...I think NO because of time constarint.
    Wt can i do now?

  8. This is the same situation we are in at the moment.There are two different projects that are continously running and its all adhoc testing that we are doing at the moment. How can a project or a product go out only based on the thoughts of a tester or only on adhoc testing.

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