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Whole Team Approach in Agile Testing

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The agile software development process has comprised many teams having different skill sets. The teams are experts in Analysis, Testing, Implementation of code, Database administration, etc. All these teams work for delivering the product and are executed in agile projects by the goodness of the whole-team approach. The article focuses on discussing the whole team approach in detail.

The following topics of the whole team approach will be discussed here:

  1. What is the Whole Team Approach?
  2. Why use a Whole Team Approach?
  3. What Skills are Needed for a Whole Team Approach?
  4. Benefits of a Whole Team Approach
  5. Drawback of the Whole Team Approach

Let’s start discussing each of these topics in detail.

What is the Whole Team Approach?

In a whole-team approach, everyone is equally responsible for the quality of the product. Various skill sets of team members are involved in order to level up the benefit of the product. 

  • Regular stand-up meetings are to be conducted to know the status of the product development. Moreover, The business representatives, testers, and developers work together in each and every step of the development cycle. 
  • In agile process development, the mindset should be different. In other words, the mindset should be open and continuously progress. The main focus is on quality therefore, iteratively improving and changing ideas could be effective.
  • The attitude of a member in agile process development is, “How to help the other team member”, “How my skills are useful for product development” rather than “My work is only testing”, or “I have to work only on this specific task” etc.
  • Every person is immensely involved in product development. Therefore, everyone knows one’s work.
  • Collaboration and teamwork play key roles in the whole team approach of agile product development. As agile process development believes that, working together gives the best results instead of working as an individual.
  • The whole team shares the same workspace and they often arrange regular discussions on the quality of the product, they work on their commitments and help each other in every obstacle in the cycle of product development. 

Why use the Whole Team Approach?

Below are some of the reasons for using the whole team approach:

  • No boundaries for specific tasks: The whole-team approach states that There is no boundary for specific activity among teams included in a project. The approach is used in such a way that, the product is delivered with the most effective quality and in a reasonable time. The team members collaborate and understand as well as help each other. 
  • Quality product: As stated earlier, teamwork will results in the quality of the product because, multiple ideas will be implemented and iteratively, they work on the improvement of the product.
  • Broadening the skillset and knowledge: Every individual has to be part of each phase of the product development cycle, therefore, everyone shares their knowledge and ideas as well as everyone learns from the shared ideas, perspectives, etc. Hence, this could be much helpful to enhance everyone’s brilliance. For example: In the whole-team approach, the tester has to work closely with business representatives and developers. Therefore, the tester can also extend his/her knowledge and influence product development.
  • Making customer requirements central: Agile process development is based on 12 principles that give primary importance to customer satisfaction, Therefore, In the whole-team approach they take feedback from the customers and test the product frequently in order to avoid requirement misunderstandings or product functionality.
  • Communication and Collaboration: As everyone on the team is involved in product development, they share their knowledge and perspectives for the well-being of the product and customer satisfaction.

What Skills are Needed for the Whole Team Approach?

A whole-Team approach for agile testing needs a diverse set of skills to succeed in testing. The following points show a few skills that one should have:

  • collaboration: In the whole-team approach of agile testing,  the tester has to collaborate and be able to work with business stakeholders as well as developers. 
  • Communication: The tester is considered a great information provider, and having good communication skills add the advantage in dealing with entire team members. 
  • Multi-discipline skills: In the agile process, It is better to have knowledge about multi-disciplinary skills. For Example, if you have enough knowledge about coding you can collaborate with developers for automated testing or if you have enough knowledge about database management then you can collaborate for Database Testing, etc.
  • Technical-Awareness: It is better to have enough knowledge of technologies in order to collaborate with various technical team members. For Example, by having enough knowledge of high-level system architecture we can deal with reducing risks in the system. Some concepts like programming concepts, some team tools like IDE, and Database design are a few topics that are better to know.
  • Domain Knowledge:  Having knowledge of the domain, business goals, rules, and regulations of business and customer requirements help to create automated tests which improve product efficiency.
  • Involving the entire team: In agile product development, the whole team works for product quality and delivery. Therefore, everyone has to speak with each other as well as share their knowledge. Hence, involvement with the entire team is very important.
  • Proactive learning: All team members should be proactive in learning and adapting to working with new technologies. 

Benefits of the Whole Team Approach

Below are some of the advantages of the whole team approach:

1. The quality of the product is the responsibility of everyone: In the traditional approach, there are boundaries between teams that are, the developers are only responsible for implementation whereas, the testers are only responsible for testing the code. If any failures occur in the delivered software then the product is again assigned to the developers and now it is the responsibility of developers rather than testers. This process could be iterative that is, the process is repeated multiple times. This back-and-forth(testers to developers and developers to testers) process may lead to delays in delivering the product. But in agile methodology, product deliverance is the responsibility of whole-team, The agile allows the shared responsibilities among team members for quality product deliverance. Therefore, we can say that the work with collaboration is always greater than the specific divided work.

2. Improvements in collaboration and communication: The primary component of the whole-team approach is collaboration. In agile methodology, the people share the same workspace and contact straightforwardly to ask as many questions as they have. The testers, developers, and other team members can communicate constantly, which helps in sharing thoughts and knowledge. Communication also plays important role in the agile software development process and the communication channels are widened and more flexible. Below diagram shows the communication channel in the whole team approach: 

Benefits of the Whole Team Approach


3. Levelling up the skillset within the team for the benefit of the product: In the agile development process, the testers have to work closely with business representatives in order to develop the user acceptance test cases. Because the business representatives only know about the exact functioning of features of the product. As per their role in the whole-team approach, the testers also work closely with developers and helps them to create the unit test cases. The testers, developers, and business representatives share their knowledge about the work of the testing. The whole-team approach enables communication among team members which makes a better understanding of each other’s work.

Drawbacks of the Whole Team Approach

Below are some of the limitations of using the whole team approach:

  1. Dependent on others: Testers can possibly lose their independence by being part of the team, they could not perform testing without the help of others.
  2. Organizations fit: This approach works well for large organizations, but it is not really suited for smaller organizations with limited resources.
  3. Focus on quality not time:  Agile processes always focus on quality rather than speed. The agile process delivers the features frequently in order to get feedback as early as possible. Sometimes, they need to borrow time for the delivery of the final product. 
  4. Various opinions:  In this approach, as entire team works together and has equal responsibility, sometimes, there may be ambiguity with various opinions of team members.

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Last Updated : 05 Nov, 2022
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