test managers in an agile environment

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13 Aug, 2020


The software development industry is chock-full of innovations and modern technology. Many organizations are now trying their best to implement the most efficient practices possible for them. Why? Because the competition today in the market is extremely intense. And organizations are bound to adopt any of the modern practices to ensure better and improved product quality that results in higher rates of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. A new and advanced addition to increasing the business process efficiency is the agile environment. Nowadays quite a large number of organizations are adopting agile methodologies to improve their way of working. But here lies a question.i.e…

What is an Agile Way of Working?

Agile way of working means to empower employees without any specific boundaries or limits to achieve specific targets. Employees are given the freedom to achieve the assigned targets without any specific indicators while utilizing their own creativity and skills. It is about bringing people, processes, technology, time, and place altogether to come up with a potential solution to make tasks and projects even easier and simpler to achieve. 

But another burning question lies here i.e what shift or change has developed in the role or responsibilities of test managers with the implementation of the agile way of working? Has it reduced the responsibilities of test managers or geared up some more.

Here we are revealing some of the important changes that have taken place in the role of test managers with the adoption of agile;

From controlling teams to enabling teams – The role of the test manager has experienced a shift from an individual who was responsible to manage the test team to an individual who supports the team. A strong team means that the test manager must make quick decisions when choosing the appropriate mix of manual and automated testing methods including test case management software & test management tools for the test team. The test manager must collect information rapidly about the various risks involved in using the solution. The test manager must enable its team with an accurate skill set to perform different sorts of tests to test the software in-depth.

From testing to training/ guiding – As it is widely observed that with agile working methods, there are self-organized, cross-functional teams capable of performing end-to-end testing. One of the highlighting challenges for these teams is to make sure that they make an accurate decision every single time because the correct first-time approach needs to be adopted before the deadline. This requires consulting and guidance functions. Test managers working outside of self-organizing teams play a significant role in providing guidance to the testers for the sake of improved performance in agile testing methods. The test manager must support the purpose of the test and sometimes transform into the role of an agile coach and Scrum Master. Moreover, the test manager is responsible to make sure that the agile team has effective and efficient human resources. If the team cannot determine how to deliver effective software for each sprint, then an experienced test manager can help them find the answer.

From controlling testers to controlling tests – In an Agile way of working, test managers are responsible to govern tests instead of testers. This means that test management is critical to achieving the desired results and outcomes. Test managers must equip their teams with the appropriate test management tools to improvise the results of the testing process. Agile also requires increased collaboration among testers, developers, business analysts, product owners, and test managers to adapt to the changing situations timely. 

There are various test management tools available for the organizations, that help test managers to carefully cope up with the testing challenges, and also aids in the achievement of the desired testing results with increased efficiency.

Change in focus from documentation to strategy – Testing in a conventional environment demands high-level documentation to plan and execute tests. Whereas in an agile environment, the testing strategy is relatively more essential than having documentation. Test managers must have a broad understanding and in-depth knowledge of testing to develop fail-safe testing strategies. The test manager should ensure that the documentation must be as small and concise as possible. The format of supporting documents must encourage expansion and revision to respond to changes more efficiently. 

Accountability to communication – In an agile environment, every single team member is accountable for the quality of the software that is launched. The test manager does not take full responsibility for defects that leak into production. Quality is the responsibility of each and every single team member in the self-organizing team. Instead, the test manager will be responsible for facilitating communication between the various agile teams in the organization. The test manager provides senior management with a summary view of the test. They are also upgrading points for testers. The test manager must also provide the test team with the appropriate set of tools.

Running a test center – One other role that a test manager plays in an agile environment is to begin and run a testing center of excellence. It is essential to share agile practices, tools, and methods that the team considers useful. From a center of excellence that is dedicated to sharing knowledge, introducing new technologies, and providing testers with a well-developed place to perform well in agile.

Final Thoughts

With every single innovative approach and technology, there lies a significant reduction in the role of tech individuals. But in the case of the role of test managers with the agile way of working, some responsibilities have changed or shifted from their regular duties to some extended detail-oriented responsibilities, as mentioned above in the list. If a test manager wants to be more efficient and effective in an agile environment, he/she must require test management software to improve and make the testing process better, for the sake of gaining desired outcomes or objectives. The better the efforts of a test manager, the better the team’s effort and hence a higher return on investment.

About the author

Rubab is a marketer-turned-content writer, passionate about how storytelling and targeted messaging create business changing content. With hands on experience in writing blog posts on Information Technology trends and news. As a Content Executive for an IT firm, she is responsible for creating well-researched blog posts that would help the firm, increase its awareness, online traffic and reach. When she isn’t working, you’ll find Rubab reading novels of her favorite author and doing English poetry.

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