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Quality Engineering >> Quality Methodologies

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Erik_Johansen
Member


Reged: 10/13/06
Posts: 194
Loc: Norway
Do we need QA in Scrum?
      #388632 - 06/12/07 10:11 AM

The question is as basic as that. Do we need a QA department in a Scrum environment?

We are about to implement Scrum as a working methodology and I am having trouble to see what QA can do in such an Environment.

I've read up and down in a lot of documentation both in this forum and online, read the Poppendieck book and had a Scrum crash course.
Then my manager ask me, just for fun. What tasks could QA be responsible of in a Scrum environment?

And I had to tell him, "None, as far I can see".

The Scrum team(s) will be in charge of the testing and it's their responsibility that whatever comes out of the Sprint, is fault/error free.
It is the Team(s) responsibility to write the Userstories/Scripted test from day 1 in a sprint. (Perhaps with QA support in the beginning, but in a few sprints the team will be experts at that)
QA should not be bothered with testing the Artifacts from a sprint as they are finished because of this, already extensive testing. (defined as waist)

Automation, same. It is created during the sprint by the team. Both unit and regression tests.

QA could do acceptance testing with Customer I've read people mentioned. But the customer is the Product Owner that will have a close relationship with the team. Why introduce QA as a 3'd party when the Product Owner can talk straight to the team? (Again QA is waist)

So I have to create a dialog with you guys that have some experience with Scrum and QA, what tasks is suitable for QA in Scrum?

(The only thing I can think of is build the new modules into the Application. But that's not much more than 30 minutes work at the end of a sprint

--------------------
- How many testers do you need to switch a light bulb? None, we just report it's dark -


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blueinatlModerator
Active Member


Reged: 10/20/06
Posts: 756
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: Erik_Johansen]
      #388638 - 06/12/07 10:17 AM

What types of skill sets do you have on your scrum team?

I'm working on a Scrum project and QA is very involved, all the way through doing things we are used to QA doing, they are a Scrum team member...


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Corey_G
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Reged: 09/14/01
Posts: 4281
Loc: Boston, MA
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: blueinatl]
      #388659 - 06/12/07 10:42 AM

I don't understand the question. You mentioned your sprint teams doing testing.. so you have a model where QA is built into your project teams. That is common.

Are you talking about a QA "department" that is separate from your project teams? If so, then that would be a weird model which I have not encountered.

--------------------
Corey Goldberg
Homepage: goldb.org
Twitter: twitter.com/cgoldberg
Google+: gplus.to/cgoldberg


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NickSimmons
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Reged: 08/09/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: Corey_G]
      #388671 - 06/12/07 11:17 AM

Scrum doesn't propose a methodology that eliminates QA. Scrum actually says very little about development or testing since it is actually just an adaptive project management methodology that can be applied to ANY industry. The various roles and responsibilities throughout a software company shouldn't change that much if the only change you are making is adopting Scrum.

I am a tester on a team that switched to Scrum almost a year ago. I still have the same role and general objectives that i had before. What changed was how i accomplish them. There is no longer a Dev team and a QA team. Now there are just Scrum teams, with dev and QA integrated into the same working group. I do my testing inside of a sprint, and my tasks are managed and tracked in the same way dev tasks are. This is basically the same as the two posters above me mentioned.

Like you said: "The Scrum team(s) will be in charge of the testing and it's their responsibility that whatever comes out of the Sprint, is fault/error free." QA's role is to verify this and provide feedback on the product.


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TestingGeek
Member


Reged: 05/03/07
Posts: 391
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: NickSimmons]
      #388672 - 06/12/07 11:25 AM

Hi Eric,

The Scrum team will be in charge of the testing so there has to be a QA in this team who is responsible for it. And the similar thing applies to Automation. The QA Lead will come up with the user stories to test them.
We followed scrum as well and we were doing as mentioned above.

I will be interested to know other responses also

--------------------
Thanks & Regards,
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TestingGeek
Member


Reged: 05/03/07
Posts: 391
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: TestingGeek]
      #388674 - 06/12/07 11:30 AM

Hi Eric,

We were also following scrum and QA did play an important role.
Infact Scrum increases the collaboration between the developers and testers.

Will be interested in knowing other responses.

--------------------
Thanks & Regards,
Geek -
www.iCheckWebsite.com
Check & Monitor content for SEO, Accessibility and Quality issues


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Erik_Johansen
Member


Reged: 10/13/06
Posts: 194
Loc: Norway
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: TestingGeek]
      #388801 - 06/12/07 10:32 PM

Hello all.

I'm talking about a separate QA department working alongside with the various Scrumteams.

I've have the understanding that a Scrumteam consist of cross-skilled teammembers. So, if you have a team of 7, you can have 5 developers, 1 manual tester and one automator. But the tester and automator is not QA. They are just resourses in the team. And again, this does not mean that the Developers should only develop, and the testers should only test. The developers might have 70-30% focus on Development-Test. And the tester have 20-80% focus on Development-Test.

Some great responses here, and my opinion about them.

blueinatl wrote:
I'm working on a Scrum project and QA is very involved, all the way through doing things we are used to QA doing, they are a Scrum team member...
My opinion: These teammembers are not QA anymore. They are a part of the scrumteam with QA background doing some QA work, and some not. (Help the team where help is needed)

Corey wrote:
Are you talking about a QA "department" that is separate from your project teams? If so, then that would be a weird model which I have not encountered.
Answer: Yes, this is exactly what I thinking about. Scrumteams with full coverage of skills, and then have an external QA that do stuff. (This "stuff" is what my manager asked me about. "What can QA do in a Scrum environment?" And I'm still curious to find out.

NickSimmons wrote:
There is no longer a Dev team and a QA team. Now there are just Scrum teams, with dev and QA integrated into the same working group.
My opinion. Yes, and as it should be. Meaning that in this case there exist no QA perhaps?

TestingGeek wrote:
We were also following scrum and QA did play an important role. Infact Scrum increases the collaboration between the developers and testers.
My opinion: This is the wrong use of scrum. You should be very careful putting a "label" on one resource in the Scrumteam. The whole team is testers, the whole team is developers, the whole team is database personell. Cross-skilling is almost a must in Scrum.
Further on, if you still have these "Developers/Tester" labels in a scrum team, blame when testing/development fails to meet the Burndown is easily set. "Your in charge of the testing, why is it taking so long?" and then the developers also have an "excuse" to not do testing. "Your our tester, test it!"

I think our Management still wants to keep the QA department, but I think it's waste. The QA department consist of some people doing Loadtesting, Automation, Management, Build control and just plain ol' script and exploratory testing (QA consist of less than 10 resourses)
Exept for build control and management, all other activities will go into the various Scrumteams.

--------------------
- How many testers do you need to switch a light bulb? None, we just report it's dark -

Edited by Erik_Johansen (06/12/07 10:41 PM)


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NickSimmons
Junior Member


Reged: 08/09/04
Posts: 73
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: Erik_Johansen]
      #389003 - 06/13/07 07:25 AM

One of the scrum teams we have in our company is called the "System" team. They are the closest thing we have to a QA department now.

They take the work from all the other scrum teams working on the product and merge them together to do System testing and resolve any performance and integration issues that may arise. The team has a heavy focus on testing at a higher level, but also does some development (mainly tweaks and System-level fixes).

This scrum team essentially works a sprint or two behind the other teams. Some of you may say this breaks the idea of Sprints - the work produced in a sprint should be considered 100% finished, testing and all. First of all, that's the idea in theory but in practice things don't always work out that way. Second, each team is only focusing on their part of the product. They can't possibly be expected to verify that it integrates well with all the other components of the system. So we felt this higher level role should be satisfied by a separate scrum team.


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DSquared
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Reged: 04/02/03
Posts: 4546
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: NickSimmons]
      #389016 - 06/13/07 07:56 AM

I have been working in a Scrum environment for the last year. Here is the model we use.

The QA folks all report to a "QA Manager" for HR and reporting purposes. But the QA people are actually part of the agile team and are embedded. They don't report, in a QA capacity, to the QA Manager - the report directly to the scrum master.

There is a reason for keeping the QA department - they basically become a support organization for all the projects that are being implemented and provide resources on a project basis. BUT, there are certain aspects that should remain constant in QA across all projects. For example, SOX compliance. It would be a coodination nightmare to pull selected people out of agile teams to do any sort of SOX training. But if they all "belong" to a QA department, it become logistically simpler to pull the "QA department" for SOX training.


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michaeljfModerator
Veteran


Reged: 09/17/01
Posts: 3979
Loc: Yankee Land
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: DSquared]
      #389048 - 06/13/07 08:45 AM

When I was on a Scrum Team QA was embedded, but unlike your definition of the Team, I don't see them not being QA anymore as much as I would not say a Developer is not a Developer anymore because he is on the Team. Part of Scrum is about skill sets and what you bring to the Team, sure Developers can write tests but they will more than likely be targeted Unit Tests; I have yet to see a Developer who has spent time writing a System Test.

If you want something external, a good need is having an integration group, Scrum sprints focus on the sashimi and while that may evolve over time you do need time to pull all that sashimi together and make the whole fish. Someone needs to check that fish, perhaps its QA?

- M

--------------------
- M

Nothing learns better than experience.

"So as I struggle with this issue I am confronted with the reality that noting is perfect."
- Unknown

Now wasting blog space at QAForums Blogs - The Lookout


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maymay_jr
Newbie


Reged: 06/14/07
Posts: 1
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: michaeljf]
      #389614 - 06/14/07 08:36 PM

Hi, Eric

I fully understand your situation because the same thing happened in our company. I am also a QM independent of testing. I once read an artical and the following sectors may be helpful.

"Using Scrum we see great improvement in speed and quality of deliverables to meet our business objectives. If we support projects using Scrum with some of the best practices from CMMi , overall organizational and long term objectives of business could be met easier.

CMMi and Scrum mapping


CMMi Process/Practice
Standard Scrum
Scrum Extension

Requirements Management
Product backlog, Sprint backlog, continuous collaboration
Caliber & Test Director tools for managing user stories and test management

Project Planning
Sprint backlog, Sprint review
Overall Project Plan to describe project startegy, goals, operation of Scrum (S1) and Scrum Of Scrums (S2).

Estimation guidelines based on historical data made available to Scrum teams for improving sprint planning

Measurement and Analysis
Sprint backlog
While sprint backlog focused on project specific data, practices and tools like Balanced Score Card, Software Process Improvement Plan (SPI), Metrics analysis/RCA reports are used to look at multiple projects and organizational business objectives

Process and Product Quality Assurance
Sprint exit criteria
As there are no specific QA activities addressed in Scrum, for a large project of size 200 team members and 40 to 50 Scrum teams, we practiced the following QA activities: Project quality planning with Software Quality Assurance activities, sprint process compliance check, product reviews, project quality report

Verification & Validation
Test case design within Sprints, Integration testing, Sprint reviews & product demo
Test concept/stategy document prepared to help Scrum teams to understand test enviornment, resources, etc.,"

I think Scrum will not elimate QA. We need to consider a new method to do QA work. We just need to find some systematical errors in whole project and consider how to prevent it.


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faldana
Newbie


Reged: 10/29/08
Posts: 1
Re: Do we need QA in Scrum? [Re: Erik_Johansen]
      #527853 - 10/29/08 11:27 AM

I know this post is old, but I wanted to comment for future reference.
At my previous employer (gaming company), as a QA Director, the company was very new to Scrum and it took several months to addapt and setup a process that most people were happy with. After some research and attempts, this is what worked the best.

- QA team is structured as normal. Director/Manager, Lead(s), and testers.
- Defects/Bugs are prioritized, converted into user stories and added to the main backlog.
- QA Director or PM is responsible for assigning the "new tasks" to the respective team under the current sprint (spring # = priority).


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