The role of Tester in Scrum Team
17th Apr, 2020
The role of a tester in the Scrum Team is elementary and straightforward but often misjudged. There are only three roles in Scrum, and they hold different responsibilities. The tester is part of the cross-functional development team. The role of a tester is to contribute to product quality just like any other development team member.
Who is a Tester?
A tester is a person who is responsible for identifying the process to test the product and ensuring that the product meets its specifications or requirements. Testers are "Customer Advocates" because they use and test the products from the customer's perspective. They are responsible for finding out defects or bugs in the product, which is under test and thereby helping to improve the product quality. They are User proxies who are responsible for ensuring the product under development solves the problem of the users in the context they use.
Wrong Assumption of Tester role:
Testers get misjudged as "Gate Keepers" of quality for a very long time. It's a myth. In many projects, only when the testers/testing team approves, the project will be released. They were also considered as "Quality Police" and treated as such in product development. There were even stories of Testers stopping a release by giving a "No-Go" because of a few bugs not fixed by the programmers. These are all myths or wrong understandings about the role of testers. Right from defining the requirements, to programming, testing, deploying, staging, and maintenance, everyone is responsible for product quality and not just testers.
What happens to Testers when Organizations adopt Scrum?
People who write code are called programmers and not developers. Developers are responsible for not just programming but testing, building & release, technical writing, and other activities that involve developing a product. Tester's role fit perfectly to be part of the development team. The development team in Scrum is responsible for developing the product by working closely with the Product Owner.
As per the testing quadrants, the testers are responsible for technology-facing tests that support the team & critique the product and business-facing tests that help the team & critique the product.
Technology-Facing Tests that support the team:
Programmers are responsible for using Test First Approach (TFA) while programming for writing better code and only the needed code. Test-Driven Development (TDD) will help programmers to write clean code. Testers can do pair testing with programmers to make programmers write better Tests for TFA.
Business-Facing Tests that Support the Team:
Examples are the best way to understand anything. Specification by Example is one technique that helps the development team and the business team to discuss and sort out the requirements. Testers then automate the specifications, which are behavior-driven development (BDD). Automation Pyramid helps testers figure out what needs to be automated rather than wasting their time on UI automation. The BDD automation serves as living documentation and helps with regression testing.
Business-Facing Tests that Critique the Product:
Critiquing the product with business cases is quintessential in testing. User acceptance, beta testing, exploratory testing, etc. falls into this category. Testers play a significant role in critiquing the product with functional cases. Persona-based testing, usability testing, and other manual testing activities come into play. Testing is not a skill, it's an attitude, and this quadrant needs a personal touch from the testers.
Technology-Facing Tests that critique the product:
Non-functional testing such as performance, security, load, stress, compatibility, etc. be done in this quadrant, and these are all tools based. Non-functional testing is scenario and simulation-based and needs extensive support from tools.
Can a Tester become a Scrum Master?
Tester is one of the responsible people in the Development team for developing a product. If a Tester becomes a Scrum Master, it will be a change of profession. Testers have some of the skill set required for the Scrum Master, which is Systems Thinking and Empathy. They are good at putting themselves in the shoes of the customers when looking at the product. Also, they have a good understanding of the product as a system and how it works. It helps them in testing the product end to end more effectively. A tester can become a good Scrum Master if he/she is willing to acquire more of the skillsets of a Scrum Master like Coaching, Facilitation, etc.
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