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Agile Impacts on QA Managers

14 December 2017


We now see one industry after another restructuring their organizations toward Agile practices. No verticals (or at least fewer verticals) is the mantra now. This is because Scrum and other Agile approaches have proven that the less distance information has to travel, the more accurate it remains and the more definite the result. Now working teams interact more with the business and product teams.

This has impacted most managerial roles. As part of the QA industry, I have observed the following shifts required from QA managers.

Actions 

What was done 

What is to be done 

Test strategy and test plan documents 

This has now become more obsolete because test strategy, planning, and other testing SLAs are set at iteration levels. Though these documents are drafted and closed at the initial stage of projects, estimates are seen to be changing once the QA activity actually commences. 

Shifting the focus onto quicker deliverables is preferred over following the plan. Keep all the stakeholders informed and begin the actual work that requires change of plan. Let the reauthoring and approvals of test strategy and test planning take place in parallel.

Reports 

Daily, weekly, and monthly status reports were sent through emails to managers and senior managers. This is actually referred to as effort not required.   

Since Agile, SDET, and DevOps are all trending in industry, reports have transformed from one-time information to all-time information. Meaning that no emails are required. 


DevOps tools have emerged to capture the progress of all programming, UI design, and QA at the same location (like comments in a Jira ticket). 


Tools have come with option of generating and saving customized reports. The actual intention of this is that anyone can access those reports. However, we still follow the traditional culture of emailing reports after extracting them from the tool. 

Point of contact 

Earlier, vendors or clients were managed by managerial positions. They would remain the point of contact and distribute information to the team. Agile has broken this down, recommending that the all levels of the workforce directly interact with others concerned for faster results. 

This is one of the primary reasons for the QA manager role to fade away. QA managers should probably simply facilitate the conversations and involve themselves in such situations as preventing risk, providing solutions, or recommending practices. 

Work prioritization and allocation 

Usually the test lead, and at times test managers,  prioritize the tasks and send them to the team. Agile, however, advocates that a good team is a self-responsible and self-organized team. 

Since the team now communicates directly with the stakeholders, they are in a position to analyze  priorities and can pick up tasks accordingly. Hence the leads and managers are now restricted only to monitoring and becoming involved only if the team faces any particular challenges.

As an end note, I would like to state that, in addition to people management, skill set management, and resource management, leaders today must build skills in tool integration and process solutions. The demand for techno-functional leaders has already increased.


Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.



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