The Agile Tester

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The Agile Tester

Over the past number of years working as a Scrum Master, I’ve been lucky enough to experience quite a breadth of projects, throughout a number of organisations with varying degrees of Business Agility. Also, working for a consultancy renowned for Software Quality, I can’t help but have a particular interest in the way software quality, and how it is embedded in software delivery, varies not only from company-to-company, but from team-to-team. Here is my essence of the “Agile Tester”.

The Agile Tester

In many cases, this is of course influenced hugely by organisational or localised culture, but there can still be substantial differences between teams that fall under the same cultural umbrella. This has left me wondering, why?

I believe one of the key reasons for this comes down to the role of the “Agile Tester”, and how this is evolving out of necessity to adapt to a world where organisations are now beginning to recognise the true value of high-performing Agile teams.

Over the course of this post I’ll be taking a look at the traditional role of a software tester, the technical and personal skills they typically possess, and how this compares to the role of the new-age “Agile Tester”.

The Traditional Software Tester:

Although I am actually a qualified software tester, I definitely wouldn’t hire myself!

In a previous life as a Business Analyst, I was exposed to a of bit of testing from time to time, and was quick to learn that I didn’t possess the technical know-how, the extreme attention to detail, nor the patience to make it as a great software tester. I was happy to leave that to the experts!

One phrase that stuck with me from my early days in training within Expleo was that;

A good tester will find that hard-to-catch defect, but a great tester will make sure it gets fixed

This to me sums up what a typical quality analyst (QA) is all about. Their job is to come up with a plan to verify that the software is behaving as described by the product people responsible for coming up with the requirements for the product. They are viewed as the sole gatekeepers for quality. This in turn also means that if a bug sneaks past them into production, that it will be their neck on the line. This creates a mindset that the quality analysts must ensure everything is thoroughly tested to prevent the ‘people in fancy offices’ swinging by their desk with a brown box when they get it wrong. They are actively rewarded for finding bugs, and many will get that feeling of accomplishment and success when finding their 47th bug of the day.


It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that the quality gatekeepers want to make sure that they catch every single issue when the code drop arrives in their test environment. However, if you strip it back and look at the motivations here, the QA is primarily focussed on their job, of finding bugs and getting them fixed. If the developer builds in a bunch of bugs into their code, this just gives the QA even more opportunities to raise a new bug in Jira, which they can show off to their other QA colleagues.

There are numerous studies out there that discuss the cost of finding and fixing bugs at different stages in the product development lifecycle, in fact Expleo recently released one – 9 ways to drive business agility with quality assurance in the 2020’s.

So it’s pretty clear to us that finding and fixing issues as early as possible (shifting quality left, that popular but often misunderstood phrase) is a good thing. So how can we actually do this, and how does the role of the tester need to evolve to enable this?

The Agile Tester:

One of the biggest shifts for a QA, or for any Agile team member for that matter, is that they stop working for themselves and start working for their team. Each team member should be able to understand to a reasonable degree what the impact of their actions have on their team members.


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All training courses at Expleo Academy

bcs intermediate certificate in software testing
change management fundamentals
isqi certified agile business analysis caba revision session and exam 1500
flow ambassador excelling at business agility masterclass
estimating for testers
dasa certified devops fundamentals
sql fundamentals
istqb certified tester advanced level security tester
istqb certified tester advanced level technical test analyst
istqb certified tester advanced level test manager
project management professional pmp preparation course
agile certified practitioner pmi acp preparation course
using selenium in csharp with workshop
apmg certified change management in an agile environment foundation and practitioner
risk management professional pmi rmp certification preparation course
project management fundamentals
program management professional pgmp preparation course
istqb certified tester foundation level extension agile tester
bcs certificate in modelling business processes
isaqb certified professional for software architecture foundation level cpsa f
bcs foundation certificate in business analysis
icagile certified product ownership
writing user stories workshop
bcs certificate in requirements engineering
bcs international diploma in business analysis exam preparation workshop
bcs certificate in business analysis practice
agile requirements engineering
certified disciplined agile scrum master dasm
icagile certified agile fundamentals
istqb certified tester advanced level test analyst
certified disciplined agile senior scrum master dassm
requirements verification
isqi certified agile business analysis caba
certified associate in project management capm preparation course
linux essentials
java fundamentals
performance testing fundamentals
agile process tools a look into scrum kanban and safe
scrum master bootcamp
product ownership bootcamp
a4q certified selenium tester foundation
psychology of communication intelligence
test automation fundamentals
using cucumber with selenium
using selenium with workshop
asqf certified professional for project management
istqb certified tester foundation level
agile bootcamp

About Expleo Academy

The Expleo Academy enables you to acquire and develop the right skills by delivering a suite of accredited training courses. With a global presence and reach, we deliver hundreds of training events to thousands of participants each year. We bring the knowledge and real experience of working with global companies and the flexibility of delivering public workshops, custom in-house solutions and blended learning approaches incorporating digital learning capabilities.

The Expleo Academy offers training courses  in Management Consultancy, Business Agility, Continuous Quality, Software Engineering or even Private Events with detailed Learning pathways in Business Analysis, Change Management, Project / Program Management, Software Quality Analysis, Software Quality Management and Software Engineering. Many training courses like test automation engineer, certified tester, automotive spice, usability testing, scrum product owner or isaqb training include certification based on istqb, leading safe, asqf, intacs or isaqb. The Expleo Academy also offers training for wellknown Tools like Microsoft ProjectTools & Automation trainings like Selenium, Jira Essentials, Jira XrayJira Server, Confluence trainingKanbanTricentis and many more.

Academy is part of the Expleo Group , that offers Engineering, Consultancy- and IT-Services to the industry. At one could find a bunch of products which Expleo developed over the years, among them Testona (Features, Klassifikationsbaum-Methode, Training & Tutorial, References, Download & Price), Modica (MBT Process, Modelling, Object Definition, Generation, Automation, Training & Tutorial), Messina, (Camera-Hil-System, Ancona-Hil-System, Messina RS-UI Test Automation, Modular-Hil-System), Trentino, Persim, Savona, Bergamo, Meran, Powerdiff, and also Powerdiffmerge, and of course the Aerospace Products like Crew Rest Unit, Crew Rest Couch and ALM (3D Printed) parts.

Contact the Expleo Academy

Expleo Technology Ireland Ltd
30 North Wall Quay,
Dublin D01 R8H7

Tel +353 87 2355902

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