There were several questions regarding agile implementation issues that came in during our webinar, Challenges and Successes in Agile Implementation, held in December with Greg Burns and Ron Ben Yosef from BlackLine, that we didn’t have a chance to answer during the event. We later sat down and discussed these questions with Ron and Greg which provided for a lively discussion. We answered each of the six questions received over the next few blog posts. Here are responses to the first two:
Question: How important is it to have a DAT (Developer/Bus Analyst/PO/Tester) review right at the developers’ workstation level to get a demo of the solution to the user story in agile methodology?
Answer: This is crucial. The idea with agile is to apply the “right solution” the first time and to reduce hand-offs and approvals that can cause time waste. Having everyone collocated saves the need for these meetings, hand-offs and approvals to eventually get you to production faster.
Question: Does a Test Manager or QA Manager have any role in the agile methodology as it is mostly the QA Testers/Engineers at Sprint execution level?
Answer: They do when you scale. There is room for a QA manager to oversee QA engineers/testers when your company reaches a certain amount of teams that make sense to set standards, set policies, resource allocation and recruitment. They can see the bigger picture and work in strategic rather than tactical level. To handle this, we’ve established a matrix organization where we have managers at the agile team level and “domain leads” at the functional level. In this way, we are able to have both, with a dotted line to the QA Domain Lead who can oversee the items above. This is consistent across domains; QA, Backend, Frontend, etc.
In the next blog are two more questions that represent common agile implementation issues:
Question: Since in a Sprint we have two weeks to develop and test, what is the suggested ratio between developers to testers? Do you see more testers than developers to meet the timelines?
Question: How key is the availability of Acceptance Criteria in user stories at planning/scope level?
Agile Implementation and Quality Metrics
We wanted to also take a minute to respond to requests from webinar participants for a list of BlackLine metrics used for measuring quality. Each of the following can be used as a good starting point for teams/organizations:
- How many defects are deferred to a future release?
- How many customer support requests are coming in?
- What is the average ratio between support tickets and their related defect?
- How many defects are reopened and how often?