From Waterfall to Agile: How does a QA Team Transition?

Author(s): Megan Sumrell
Venue: AGILE 2007
Date: 04/07

Class/Experience Level: Professional


Scrum Size: N/A
Sprints: 4 weeks
Scrum Meetings: N/A
First Time: Yes
Overall Transition: not smooth

Developing software in a waterfall approach for a long period of time can become a hindrance to
change, especially a change to agility. The company found that they needed to invest some time in a
new software development process in order to move away from the lengthy 6 month waterfall
practices. After some research they settled upon Scrum and started researching and reading about
Scrum. One of their main concerns with the change to Scrum was with the QA departments ability to
perform its set of testing within the sprints.

The initial change to Scrum brought some problems to the QA team. It was unable to fully test the code
being created in each sprint within the sprint deadline. They decided to then have 4 week sprints with a
following week dedicated to regression testing. However, as the sprints continued the QA team fell
further behind. To help with the problem, the company brought in two agile consultants to help with the
problem. The consultants immediately changed the structure of how testing was being accomplished,
but also needed to change how the entire team viewed testing.

To accomplish Scrum in this environment, the consultants recommended that developers needed to
perform unit testing in order for agile development to be successful. They also recommended that the
entire team needed to participate in the definition and execution of acceptance testing instead of just
relying on QA. Although the transition was eventually successful, it was a shaky start and outside help
was needed to make everyone happy in an agile world.