Explore the Tester Role

Context of the Tester role

  • Explore the Roles of Lean-Agile
  • The Lean-Agile Framework offers a diagram that sets the roles in the context of the overall work of Lean-Agile and the value stream.
  • The Lean-Agile RACI chart is a common representation of the roles and responsibilities and accountabilities of the many roles in involved Lean-Agile and how the Tester role interacts with other roles.
  • The Overview of Roles by Level offers a more richer description of the roles involved in the Portfolio, Program, and Team levels and what they do.
  • The Standard Work for the Tester describes the primary duties of the Tester role at various stages of Lean-Agile work.

Related roles

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Related blogs

Sustainable Test-Driven Development is a blog by Scott Bain and Amir Kolsky and Max Guernsey that explores how to do TDD in a Lean-Agile way. This blog forms the basis of the book they are writing on TDD.

Related books with sample chapters

coverla_atddLean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration. Software development projects have been adopting agility at a rapid pace. Although agility provides quicker delivery of business value, lean principles suggest reducing waste, delays, and hand-offs can provide even faster delivery. With Lean-Agile Acceptance Test-Driven Development: Better Software Through Collaboration to help, the business customer, the tester, and the developer collaborate to produce testable requirements.

coverprefactoring_largerPrefactoring: Extreme Abstraction, Extreme Separation, Extreme Readability approaches software development of new systems using lessons learned from many developers over the years. It is a compendium of ideas gained from retrospectives on what went right and what went wrong in development. Some of these ideas came from experience in refactoring. Refactoring is improving the design of existing code to make it simpler and easier to maintain.

covertestdrivendatabasedevTest-Driven Database Development: Unlocking Agility. The practice of Test-Driven Development (TDD) has helped thousands of software developers improve quality, agility, productivity, and speed. In Test-Driven Database Development: Unlocking Agility, Max Guernsey III shows how to adapt TDD to achieve the same powerful benefits in database design and development.

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The Tester role is a full partner in the Team, to help discover and eliminate errors and their causes. This is related to one of the most fundamental Lean principles: To aim for perfection and to improve constantly. To this end the Tester role uses techniques such as root-cause analysis, examination of processes and infrastructure, and gaining understanding of customer requirements. The Tester also helps set up a testing environment that is consistent with the Team’s quality and continuous test and integration objectives.


Featured resources

Getting started

Begin by reviewing the resources in the Context of the Tester Role box to understand how the Tester role fits in the context of Lean-Agile. Then work through the Reading Path (guided readings) and library pages that pertain to the Tester role.

Role_Tester_LargeThe Tester Reading Path offers a general introduction to the Tester role including standard work, essential practices, how to grow in the role, and helpful resources.

LP_ScrumThe Scrum Reading Path introduces essential concepts for Scrum in a Lean-Agile environment. Scrum is a conceptual framework for undertaking software engineering projects that embraces and promotes evolutionary change throughout the entire life-cycle of the project.

LP_DecomposingRequirementsThe Decomposing Requirements Reading Path describes the Lean-Agile process of understanding requirements “just in time,” adding “just enough” detail to keep the work progressing but never more than what we need at the time. Testers are involved in decomposing requirements, especially when requirements arrive at the team level: features/stories/tasks. Pay attention to the Activities section, especially Decomposing Features into Stories and Writing Tasks.

Going Deeper

Here are additional resources to explore related to the Tester role.

The Disciplines and Practices page describes competencies at the team level to be mastered. Testers should pay special attention to the resources in these areas: ATDD, estimation, understanding requirements, continuous improvement, and quality.

Page_LibraryThe Resource Libraries for the Tester page lists the complete set of resources in the Lean-Agile Portal related to the Tester role. In particular, see the topics on Quality and on Acceptance Test-Driven Development.

featured_lastpodcastThe Lean-Agile Straight Talk podcast features interviews of experts in Lean-Agile. Subscribe to the podcast to receive updates. Here are sessions that apply to the Tester role:


page_webinarsNet Objectives routinely hosts webinar series to explore important topics in Lean-Agile. Here are sessions that apply to the Tester role:

technicalresourcesThe Technical Resources page offers a set of resources to equip you in learning essential technical practices of Lean-Agile at the team level.

page_notrainingInvestigate Tester-oriented training by Net Objectives, starting with the training roadmap. Then consider the relevant courses in Technical Agility and in Lean-Agile at the Team.

The Tester Role in a Transformation

The transformation to Lean-Agile involves everyone. While the transformation is guided by leadership, everyone on the team routinely must make decisions about how to realize Lean-Agile in their own context. Lean-Agile Thinking guides these decisions so that everyone in the value stream is aligned.