Using QA in Scrum From Day One

The increasing adoption of Agile project management frameworks like Scrum and short iteration schedule has a deep impact on the place of software testing and the activity of QA people. In this blog post, Chris Burns tries to answer the often-asked question: “what does QA do on the first day of a Scrum sprint?”

The first remark is that there is no role specifically defined for testing or quality assurance in Scrum. He cites the Scrum Guide: “Individual Development Team members may have specialized skills and areas of focus, but accountability belongs to the Development Team as a whole.” The answer is that in Scrum every developer has to learn to skills.

Chris Burns provides some tips to help QA experts create value at the beginning of the sprint:
* Have stories to create automated tests and load tests.
* Make sure all stories are really small.
* Encourage your QA person to learn new skills to help move stories to QA.

His conclusion is that “Scrum teams seem to be really great at making everyone on the team an equal… as long as we don’t talk about QA. They either have a “QA Person” or, even worse, they are in a completely separate QA department. Since your definition of Done should include passing QA (please say it does) and you shouldn’t be showing anything at your closeout without QA, it’s reasonable to say that if you have a separate QA team, you’re just doing it all wrong. But in terms of QA, remember that you don’t have a QA person any longer. You have a person who specialized in QA but has numerous other talents to pitch in on day 1.”

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