At Rangle, we realize that while we try to maintain the team-first approach to quality as defined in the Scrum Guide, there are just some things that our Business Quality Analysts (BQAs) are better at. The role of the BQA on a development team at Rangle is not as a tester as in other organizations, as my colleague Eric has already alluded to in his article BQAs: Why We Combined the Business and Quality Analyst Roles. We help to ensure that the Scrum Team develops cross-functional skills in testing and in story writing; we’re essentially Quality Coaches who work to assist our team members to adopt a testing mindset while thinking of quality from the product’s inception.
During Backlog Grooming for instance, manual tests are written to cover the Acceptance Criteria (AC) for stories before these stories are even added into the Sprint. These manual tests are then actually executed by the developers themselves before the product is delivered to the BQA for final validation. Sometimes all of the testing on a story is done by the developers themselves. When we empower our team members to test, it ensures that we have met most of the the acceptance criteria on features before they are delivered to the BQA; dev testing also gives developers an important sense of autonomy throughout the process (leading to better products).
Empowering our team members to test not only closes the feedback loop and improves the quality of stories that are developed but also encourages the developers to think from the user’s perspective. This approach to quality instills in our devs a mindset that is constantly conscious of the bigger picture: how will the end-user interact with this app? Is this intuitive enough? Am I taking into account accessibility during the deployment of this feature? Does it generate direct business value for our client?
From our experience, shifting testing to the left helps us to create Testable User Stories from the very inception. One other benefit of this shift is that it helps us find and fix issues faster. Our approach to developing software (Rangle Flow) also assists us in building the right product in a fast and efficient manner. When everyone in our team is a tester, we all learn how to think of a story critically, working together with the Product Owner to ensure that we have collectively added the right ACs to ticket.
For instance, in a recent example when working with one of our clients who wanted daily deployments to production during the Build Measure Learn phase of their development cycle, we were able to fix issues found the night before and get them ready for regression testing by 2:00pm in time for a 5:00 pm deployment. This was only possible because the whole team was involved in the entire process. When everyone in the team is on the same page, quickly deploying awesome features become the norm.
At Rangle, we empower our BQAs to coach our team members in testing methodologies so that we can all attain that testing mindset. Our team’s focus is on building the best product possible for our clients, thus we place emphasis on shifting testing to the left as defined in the Scrum Guide. Our BQAs help us coach our teams to become more cross functional. Our team’s focus is on building the best product and our BQAs are an essential part of helping us to attain our sprint goals.