Recently I was involved in a discussion about how to introduce test automation in agile teams. These were the main discussion questions and below is my attempt to answer them.

How can an agile project manager or scrum master directly influence test automation in agile teams?

I believe directly influencing team to implement any improvement doesn’t go a long way unless the change comes from within the team. If team doesn’t think they have a problem then why change to what is already working.

Scrum master is there to facilitate discussions, these collaborative discussions should highlight problems and team figures out how they will solve them. Scrum master should be focusing their energy on removing any impediments that team faces when they are implementing their chosen solutions.

How do you introduce and improve the level of test automation in agile teams?

Identify what is the core problem and by solving it how you will help your business, clients and ultimately team itself.

Once can help team members to think in a structured manner, so they understand their current state, desired state and steps between them. Here are some of the steps to think about.

  • Problem identification
  • Building understanding
  • Seeding ideas
  • Iterative implementation
  • Adaption
  • Continuation
  • Improvement

Try running a  The A3 Process workshop with your team. I found this a very effective tool in solving complex issues in structured manner.

Once team understands the core problem and knows to solve it then tools, languages, processes, frameworks, artifacts, ceremonies and metrics are primary factors in big scheme of things.

I hope this helps!

The Exercise:

Last year I ran a Marshmallow Challenge with development teams in Cyberjaya at Experian Malaysia. Majority of the team members worked together in an agile environment for a year.

The Idea:

How agile teams respond to a challenge when they have to do a continues collaboration in order to deliver a working product at the end of time-boxed iteration.

The Outcome:

Our game workshop was full of fun and we learned a lot about collaboration and delivery. Here are the few highlights.
  • Not a single team was able build a standing structure at the first attempt
  • Then we paused and identified areas of improvement
    • Importance of  collaboration
    • How to identify and remove hidden assumptions
    • Test early and test often
  • In the second attempt most teams were able to build a successful structure that can hold a marshmallow

The Question?

How are you testing level of collaborate within your team and what you are doing to improve it?

Workshop Time-lapse