The Team aren’t communicating, what can I do?

I’ve been a part of a number of teams that are new to agile and have seen that the collaborative and knowledge sharing side of things can fall to the wayside. Obviously  this is problematic for us testers as information isn’t shared or holistic views to design aren’t thought about.

When you don’t have an idea about what’s happening on the project, nobody is sharing designs or keeping you in the loop regarding in development work try some of these:

  • Say something! Tell the team that there’s a problem and work together to sort it out. Set up a contract regarding what they should expect from you as a tester and what you expect from them.
  • Ensure that the standups are taking place in the right way. People should be walking through the board and describing the work on the tickets taking place, rather than giving an account of their day.
  • Add a questions / decisions log. Document any and all questions that you have and the decisions made to answer those questions. That’ll help the team to see what they’re not communicating.
  • Use three amigos story grooming. Set up sessions with a developer and business person to drive out the meaning behind every ticket. Get an understanding before things are even worked on.
  • Add acceptance criteria to tickets. Make sure that every piece of work has predefined acceptance criteria that have to be met, this way you have some requirements to work towards.
  • Think higher level. Understand the higher goals and needs of the project to test holistically. In many cases we don’t need to understand everything that’s being worked on at the lowest level.

Often, as the testing specialist on your team you’ll be one that sees the problems in how things are working. Researching agile practices, or even doing some scrum master training, means you’ll have some possible solutions to these problems.