Necessary Skill Sets for the Agile Test Team
In making the move to agile practices, development teams are finding that they need new skill sets and a better understanding of what exactly "agile" means for their jobs and the projects they undertake. Testing teams especially are finding that a specific skill set—or more than one—is necessary in order to take advantage of the benefits of agile methodologies. Both development and testing operations depend on the expertise of the individuals doing these projects, so it's crucial for organizations to support their teams' need to gather as much knowledge as possible about agile and everything it entails.
A 2015 survey conducted by Innotas found that 37 percent of IT professionals cited resourcing as one of the major issues facing their organizations, and 61 percent of those polled did not have enough resources or staff to meet demand for IT projects within their businesses. In other words, testing and development teams need to make sure they have the right skills for the job of implementing agile methodologies. With that in mind, let's take a look at the skill sets and information that teams need to have before an agile project can be undertaken.
Ask: What is agile, and how does it relate to testing?
For agile endeavors to be successful, teams need to have an understanding of what it is and how the business needs to implement it. Agile refers to the way of developing software using pragmatic approaches to anticipate the need for flexibility, according to TechTarget. Unlike traditional waterfall development methods that take longer to implement and require steps to be taken one at a time, agile processes allow teams the opportunity to assess the direction of a project throughout its development lifecycle, including the testing step.
A common reason that many organizations are making the shift to agile methodologies is the need to support today's fast-paced organizations. Time to market is becoming increasingly more important in the age of on-demand everything, and software developers need to keep up with this breakneck pace. In addition, agile product teams need the support that project managers can provide.
Understand: Why agile?
It's critical for development teams to be on the same page as the project managers when it comes to implementing agile processes for the first time. The point of agile is to accelerate time to market and make it easier for teams to collaborate during the entire lifecycle of an app.
A firm grasp of how agile test automation tools can impact the project is also necessary. Along with a clear knowledge of why agile methodologies are being used in the first place, test automation tools can help teams make the transition.
Do: Earn certifications and gain working knowledge.
Once the questions about agile have been asked and it's clear why the business is making the move to these faster, more intuitive processes, teams need to gather the technical skills necessary to implement the new strategies. But how should they do that? Gathering certifications is one way to boost your team's knowledge base.
Here are a few certifications that are sure to help jumpstart any organization's foray into agile development and testing, according to CIO:
- PMI-ACP: The Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI) proves that developers have experience using agile methodologies in real-world settings.
- APMG International: This certification serves as a touchstone for how project managers are able to deliver agile projects that fit certain standards.
- ICAgile: The International Consortium of Agile offers certifications in expertise for all of the different kinds of agile workflows.
These are only a few certificates that your testing team can gather. Certifications aside, it's also critical that your team has a working knowledge of agile processes and that you're using the right tools to support agile testing.