Are Prejudices Stopping your Agile Testing Efforts in Their Tracks?

Adopting new software development approaches like Agile and Scrum is always a challenge. There is a natural tendency for part of an organization to resist changing and some prejudices exist against Agile, mainly due to a lack of knowledge.

Adopting Agile may be the next big thing for your team, but adopting new practices always presents challenges for any organization. We all know that the failure rate for traditional approaches, like waterfall, is high. But did you know that the failure rate for Agile projects is still often unacceptably high?

According to Version One’s 8th Annual State of Agile Survey, 85% of respondents encountered an Agile project that failed. If you are gearing up to begin your Agile journey – or if you already are on the train, how can you make sure you are not one of those teams that fails, in spite of the increased communication and continuous improvement embedded in Agile? The Agile Manifesto with its 12 principles is simple. That same simplicity can lead to overgeneralizations and assumptions that don’t reflect the true Agile mindset and result in projects that miss out on success.

What might hold you back from Agile success?

People in and around your development teams may have preconceived ideas about Agile – and some of them may be negative. Misconceptions around Agile can predispose a new project to failure and prevent newly formed Agile teams from succeeding.

Are Prejudices Stopping your Agile Efforts?

Every organization has a unique culture and there is often a general resistance to change that has to be overcome before any successful transformation. Listen for potential negative assumptions, prejudices and misconceptions like the ones outlined below; addressing them at the start can get your project moving on the right path.

Prejudice #1: Agile is just a buzzword.

Agile is about transforming how you deliver product. In order to reap the benefits of Agile you really need to empower developers and testers. They need to be trained in these new techniques and encouraged to contribute and innovate to improve efficiency.

Addressing potential negative assumptions at the start can get your project moving on the right path and prevent potential conflict down the road.

Prejudice #2: Agile doesn’t fit regulated industries.

Some industries are heavily regulated and there can be concerns about the fluid nature of Agile. How do you document everything that’s required by your regulatory body without making Agile processes grind to a halt?

Prejudice #3: We don’t want to release every week.

Agile encourages a fast release cycle, because the faster you get features into the hands of end users, the faster you can get feedback about what works and what doesn’t, enabling you to focus your efforts where the most value will be realized. But there is no set minimum time frame for a sprint, and much of the art of implementing Agile in your organization is finding a sprint time box that allows for an adequate balance of early end user feedback while delivering meaningful progress in each sprint.

Prejudice #4: Agile doesn’t work for distributed teams.

With waterfall, it is easy to throw something over the fence to another team, and this can work well with offshore test teams, but Agile demands communication, preferably face-to-face. With today’s growing move towards cloud collaboration tools, it is possible to pull off Agile in a distributed environment, with the right leaders and team culture

Next time: Tips on how to overcome these prejudices to get Agile adoption on track in your organization.

Kevin Dunne is a product specialist for QASymphony, striving to ensure the continued success of existing and prospective members of the qTest community. Having acted as a tester in his previous jobs, he enjoys interacting with customers on a daily basis to keep current on the latest trends and tools in the testing world. He is always eager to hear what others think about the industry – feel free to drop him a line at kevindunne@qasymphony.com or connect with him on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-dunne/36/b73/ba7/

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