Sharing Agile knowledge with experienced testers

… and not boring them into oblivion.

Last month, I had the opportunity to teach the first iSQI® Certified Agile Tester️ training in México and very proudly at @Nearsoft headquarters where I currently work as a Software QA Engineer. It’s been quite a long road to reach this point, with obstacles along the way but it has been taught and trainees have taken the exam… yay (whew)!

What’s the big fuzz about this training? Well, there are many training programs out there for developers, but for testers the scene is a little limited; likewise we must choose the right option based on specific objectives. After a lot of talks with a fellow QA about training options, I became interested especifically in CAT because it is not a foundation course, it is built around Agile (the majority of our projects use Agile practices) and it focuses on the most important element in Agile projects, each member of the team.

Let’s remember that the key to success in Agile projects strongly relies on individuals able to collaborate and self-manage and when rigid guidelines are exchanged for dynamic, constantly changing, communication-rich environments, a common language is a must. Another positive attribute of this course is that it focuses on practical exercises and a hands-on approach, so it’s constantly changing the game.

The group consisted of six Software QA Engineers with the following characteristics:

Note: this are averages.

As you can read, these engineers are quite competent and proficient in different projects and roles. This was very useful while teaching because they were able to contribute with their own experiences and generated rich discussions around the topics and issues explored.

We all know how continuous theory is dull and tiresome. Therefore, group discussions were encouraged at regular intervals. Also, the practical parts, were fun because the teams at first were very confident on their knowledge and experience but they had to deal with strict timeboxed periods. This caused surprise and sometimes frustration on the results they were obtaining at the end of each practical.

The trainees were able to relate to many of the subjects seen and were able to provide their own experiences to the group. For example, in Version Management sub-topic, we all shared stories about fixes being deployed to the wrong branch, or while going through Pairing, we discussed how can we use this technique with other roles than the common pair consisting of developer+developer.

“Life is an Iteration Zero”
- J. García, C. Ramirez, 6/Oct/2016

In the feedback session, I was impressed to find that Iteration Zero is THE topic, standing out amongst top important topics for the trainees. They were able to discover the real value of it during the practical activities and even personal quotes around the matter were established along training days.

Other subjects in top five positions were Estimations, Planning, Definition of Done and Technical/Testing Debt.

Trainees were able to understand the principles behind the Agile approach to development of software and they clearly differentiate the testing role in traditional and Agile projects.

Relevant aspects that were consolidated:

  • Appreciation of challenges and difficulties that come hand in hand with the activities that don’t involve testing in an Agile team
  • Proper acknowledge of a soft skills spectrum required by all the team.
  • The awareness of great value that a process like Retrospectives can give in return and how their adequate contributions to it will allow continuous improvement.
  • Importance of Automation in Agile projects (automating everything is not the key) and how to decide wisely which tests need to be automated.

And at the end, we had a clear vision about Agile and how collaboration is its backbone.

Happy and focused trainees

If you are interested in knowing more about the CAT training course and exam, please contact us. We are going to be very glad to support your team! :)

You can also visit the following sites to view next scheduled CAT training courses or other trainings available:

PMPO / QA at @EncoraInc | Practitioner in Agile Quality trainer | Coffee addict 🇭🇳 🇲🇽 ✨ she/her

PMPO / QA at @EncoraInc | Practitioner in Agile Quality trainer | Coffee addict 🇭🇳 🇲🇽 ✨ she/her