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SAST and Tester as business analyst

June 15, 2010 3 comments

I was at a SAST Öresund meeting last thursday. It was time again to hear a little more about the knowledge of agile within the testing community in the south of Sweden. I am sorry to say that other times I have gotten somewhat disappointed, but this time I felt that people are actually starting to get it.

The first presentation, I am not going to say so much about. It was about using Scrum in an outsourced test project. The number of questions that were thrown at the end of the session showed that there was a big number of uncertainty and inconsistency for the presentation to gain acceptance in the audience of testers. It also proves my point on the agile maturity at SAST. In my point, and probably more with me when thinking of all the questions, I am not so sure the project was very agile at all actually with its surrounding managemental and additional processes used to achieve the goals for the poor Scrum team.

Then there was Thomas Stjern from Inceptive, that presented the view on requirements management in the agile context. When listening to Thomas, it struck me that he was almost exactly describing some things that are in the book that I am reading at the moment, Bridging the communication gap by Gojko Adzic, about having User stories on a really high level. Then they become business rules for development and then Fitness tables for acceptance testing during development. I will cover more on this in future posts.

What was more exciting for me about the presentation, was the view of the roles of the requirements/business analyst and the tester. As Thomas referred to scrum teams of size 4-6 people, the role of business analyst and tester could obviously and preferably  be the same person. By doing that, you will never have knowledge/information drop when creating tests from requirements. Going back to Gojkos book, it makes even more sense to do this, as he talks about the requirements written as acceptance tests in the first place.

In some projects I have been in, the business analyst tasks have been carried out by the product owner or scrum master person. This has always created a gap in knowledge about the domain and the customers true wishes between this person and me as a tester. In my current project though, I have actually grown the amount of trust from my project stakeholders, that I was a part of the requirements discussions before any of the features in a the new release were started to be developed. Compared to the other projects I have been involved in at the same client, I have always gotten involved sometime during development before  a release. As this is my 6th product release of a product here, I have every time gotten closer and closer to the initial meeting of the release. Now I have caught up and I see this as a big difference to the first release I had. This time, I have the overall understanding of the design and am able to focus more on the actual testing and quality of the developed product, during development. In contrast to when I need to gather fragments of old discussions together and then analyse what is actually wanted from the product by the customer, and do this maybe after everything has been developed.

Somehow, this also relates to my post on Dare (not) putting your product in a testers hands?. Will you invite your tester to the next design/requirements/scope workshop or meeting? I can assure you that a good tester in that position will find the bugs in the discussions. See my post on that here