In a perfect world, every Agile team has its own QA lead and a tester or two, with time to execute continuous testing and access to end users for extensive interviews. In this perfect world, teams practice cross-training so that during peak test times, additional team members can take on testing roles, thus adding new eyes to the process and augmenting test results.

In the real world, good testing practices often fall prey to decreasing budgets and to testing bottlenecks when multiple user stories enter the testing queue at the end of the sprint. In the budget-centric organization, often the testers are the first to go when finances demand a reduction in teams. Once the “just get anyone to do the testing” mentality creeps into an organization, quality becomes relegated to that proverbial back burner. Eventually, someone gets burned. When a team is fortunate enough to retain its testers, they find themselves overwhelmed with work at peak test times (usually near the ends of sprints or just before deployment) and attention to detail declines.

With nearly 30 years of combined experience between us, we (and we are Julie Clooney and Marianne Erickson) have compiled tools to help mitigate the effects of budgets and bottlenecks in the testing process. Our tools help build team enthusiasm for quality and a Whole-Team, Agile approach to testing. Learning outcomes in five areas will provide our session participants with a toolkit they can use to facilitate improved, continuous, and collaborative test strategies for their teams.

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