Are agile testers different?

Lisa Crispin gave a keynote at Agile Testing Days conference in Berlin today, discussing the topic of staffing an agile team with testers, in particular whether any tester can be on an agile team or are agile testers different from the rest. Crispin and Janet Gregory interviewed a lot of testers while working on their book and found that lots of people they interviewed had similar experiences and traits. According to Crispin, an agile tester mindset is such that they:

  • Constantly look for new challenges and ways to improve: they learn new tools, scripting languages and approaches to testing
  • Are proactive and willing to take on any task: they look for ways to contribute in different ways on a project, not limiting themselves to traditional testing tasks
  • Collaborative, not antagonistic: they collaborate with the rest of the team to deliver the best possible product, not take an adversarial approach to developers.
  • Customer-focused: they to work closely with customers, learn from them and help them do their job better
  • Results-oriented: teams set goals for themselves and they aim to achieve these goals with everyone else

The “quality police” mindset typical for testers on traditional waterfall teams doesn’t work on an agile team. “You’re not there to stop bad developers put bad code into production, you’re there to help them build quality into the product from the start“, said Crispin.

To testers fearful about going into an agile project, Crispin said that “It’s an agile testers’ utopia”, because “agile is all about quality” and everyone on the team is concerned about delivering a good product.


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