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InfoQ Homepage Presentations The Role of Testing and QA in Agile Software Development

The Role of Testing and QA in Agile Software Development



Agile developers are "test infected", we do test-first development and treat acceptance tests as full-fledged requirements artifacts and work with our stakeholders to acceptance test throughout the dev lifecycle. The end result is significantly higher quality software, achieved with very little input from the testing community. So what is the role of testers and QA people on agile projects?


Scott Ambler is Practice Leader Agile Development within the IBM Methods group in Ontario, Canada. He has worked in the IT industry since the mid 1980s, with object technology since the early 1990s, and is a recognized leader in the Agile software community. He is a Fellow of the International Association of Software Architects, and an Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) committer.

About the conference

The Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality (TASSQ) is an organization for Quality Assurance professionals. Their monthly meetings share quality practices and provide an opportunity for networking. The presentations include a wide variety of topics, including testing, project management, risk management, measurement of client satisfaction, other metrics related topics, Year 2000 topics, process improvement, implementing quality practices, etc.

Recorded at:

May 03, 2007

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Community comments

  • i can rename column :P

    by Rave Man,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    i can rename column just like that, you just have to rename it in hibernate mapping xml file. people forget that we all are using ORM.

  • I remember this talk...

    by Bruce Rennie,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    and found the reaction in the audience to be pretty amusing. Heck, it was even brought up at later meetings. Way to make a lasting impression, Scott!

    As a person who's been involved in agile projects for several years now, Scott's comments were right on. A friend of mine (who's also been involved in agile projects for years) and I would often have conversations about exactly this topic. Often the discussion would turn to our disappointment at the contributions of the testers to the project. Occasionally, we would work with a tester who "got it" and things would be wonderful, but this was the exception rather than the rule.

    Personally, I think "we" (developers) bear part of the blame here. We've treated testers and testing as an afterthought, as second class citizens for so long that perhaps they shouldn't be blamed for sticking to their comfort zones. After all, in a lot of corporate or non-agile shops, being an aggressive, dynamic, flexible tester isn't always a career enhancing thing.

    I'm beginning to believe that the only difference between a tester and a developer in an agile team is their mind-set. Developers always tend to be optimists, even on agile teams. Testers are our pessimists. Beyond that, in terms of skills, they really should be identical.

  • IBM's view on "traceability"

    by Rajesh Duggal,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    I wonder when IBM will decide if traceability is a good thing to track and measure or not.

    Rational RequisitePro
    "Provides detailed traceability views that display parent/child relationships and show requirements that may be affected by upstream or downstream change"

    Yet, Mr. Ambler of the IBM Methods groups gives thumbs down to traceability.


    It was really confusing, and mischievously fun, to debate with "IBM Rational tools" believers against Scott's concepts. I guess IBM isn't in the business of selling paper and pens and whiteboards and markers.

    I hope Ambler wins, with AUP...
    Go,go,go! :)


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