How to hire an Agile tester?
What should you look for in an Agile Tester? In this guest blog from Zephyr Test Management, Sanjay Zalavadia offers some tips.
Guest blog by Sanjay Zalavadia from Zephyr
Agile testers are a totally different breed of team members when compared to traditional (waterfall) testers. The traditional testers need to “Unlearn” more before transitioning to an Agile tester. This article takes a look at some of the qualities an organization should focus on when hiring an Agile tester.
Hiring a traditional tester
Traditional hiring focused on some of the following skills:
- White box and Black box testing
- Knowledge of software development life cyclE
- Tools usage
- Testing scripts writing
- Pen tests, User Acceptance Tests
- Integration and System Testing
As one should see, the emphasis is mostly on technical skills and not so much on soft skills. However, this does not work any more in this era of Agile methods. The organizations should make a conscious effort to look at non-technical aspects as well. Some are discussed in the next section.
Hiring an Agile tester
Scrum, the most popular Agile method, does not have a specific role called “Tester” or “QA.” This exclusion is by design and to encourage team members not to identify based on their “titles” or “roles” but to focus on delivering value, as one team. The next natural question is; how do I work without a testers title? One of the ways is to build T-shaped Skills.
T-Shaped Skills: Testers need to be in a position to swap their roles with Developers, DBAs, Business Analysts, etc. Over a period, while keeping their speciality in testing, they need to broaden their skills.
Open Mind, Continuous Learning: In order to build T-shaped skills, the traditional testers need to have an open mind. They should stop equating work with their titles, instead look at it as a “role”. This distinction enables them to change roles easily.
Collaboration Skills: Strive to collaborate with developers, BAs, to learn from them. This aspect of continuous learning is most critical to succeeding as an Agile tester. Agile tester should get deeply involved in User Story writing with the Product Owner and helping the team in managing the walls.
Facilitation Skills: Scrum recommends the team to take ownership of the delivery. This ownership in turn demands team members to run the day to day ceremonies. The Scrum Master should not facilitate the stand-ups, retrospectives iteration planning or reviews. Any team member (including testers) should step forward to lead the teams and facilitation – communication skills become crucial.
Advanced Technical Practices: DevOps and Continuous Delivery/Integration are becoming part and parcel of every Agile project. It is expected that Agile Testers take lead in driving these automation and advanced configuration management practices.
Planning and Alignment Techniques: Impact mapping, user journey mapping, and specification by example, are some of the highly recommend Agile testing skills.
The following diagram could be used as a handy guide during the interview process while hiring an Agile tester.
The interviewer should ensure to check the awareness of above mentioned ideas as depicted in the diagram. An Agile Tester is not a “tester” working on Agile projects but someone who has an upper hand in soft skills with a core attitude of continuous learning.
About Sanjay Zalavadia
Sanjay is responsible for driving customer success at Zephyr. This includes training, consulting, customer support and client management. Most recently, as the Associate Vice President for Patni Computers Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice, he established IT Operations teams supporting mobile content providers.
Sanjay brings more than 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Sanjay has a graduate degree from the Manipal Institute of Technology in India. When he’s not watching Arsenal FC, he’s coaching his son’s soccer team.
For more on Zephyr visit: http://www.getzephyr.com/. Zephyr is now included as an option in Spectrum PaaS, click here to learn more.
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