Lack of trust in QA doing adequate job

Last post 04:24 pm September 28, 2017
by Kheng (Phil) Ooi
9 replies
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08:44 pm September 26, 2017

On our scrum team we have 2 QA members and 3 developers.  Often our developers are in helping test to make sure the work is finished in the sprint.  As Product Owner I am also in testing during the sprint.  I am finding that I can't trust that the QA are doing a good job.  Is it common for the Product Owner to assist with testing and does anyone have suggestions for our scrum master on how they can do a better job.  I have added testing considerations to my stories and then the QA would ONLY test what I put in the considerations and not think outside the box.  I have offered suggestions to them on not just re-testing the bug but what areas could that affect, meaning if the error happens from within a process will that same error happen when done from the main menu.  I don't feel they take pride in the work or own the product.  I am super frustrated with my scrum master as she says she will work with them and then nothing happens so I still feel like I have to go in and test to make sure all issues are being caught as I feel it's my name on the product and don't want it reflecting poorly on us. 

04:27 am September 27, 2017

Few observations/questions,

1. "QA" - "DEV" - do we have role QA defined in Scrum Guide ?

2. What was the retrospect outcome for this issue ?

3. Does the team understand what is being asked here ?

I would recommend someone experienced and good at testing need to coach them on regression/ad-hoc testing but this requirement should come from team in a retrospect.

06:03 am September 27, 2017

There's nothing to stop a Product Owner from also being a member of the Development Team. If, as PO, you have testing skills you can share with team members to improve their cross-functionality, then that sounds like a good idea.

Have you raised your concerns during a Sprint Retrospective? This is the key inspect-and-adapt opportunity for the team's way-of-working. For example the team might look to improve the Definition of Done so that the quality of work can be better assured in Development, QA, and other stations. This may include identifying acceptance criteria during Product Backlog refinement, test case scenarios which might be added to an automated regression pack, and assuring the quality and degree of automated test coverage each Sprint.

06:34 am September 27, 2017

There could be a lot of things causing this, and as the others have mentioned, you should probably raise this in a Sprint Retrospective to start a healthy discussion about what is going on. 

If for some reason it's difficult to discuss it properly in a retrospective, try to find a different responsible moment to discuss it with the team.

One of many possible causes is a difference in how the QAs see their role. Perhaps it's different to how you see it. Maybe the current working environment is preventing them from using their specialist skills.

Have you tried asking the QAs or whole development team to write the testing conditions? Perhaps this is a better use of a skilled QA engineer's skills.

12:31 pm September 27, 2017

Thanks for the responses.  I have brought it up in the Sprint Retrospective and even provided specific examples of situations that have occurred to make sure every one is on the same page.  I was previously the manager over the QA department prior to moving to Product Owner.  I have many years of experience in the QA role so feel I have given them apple coaching and mentoring along the way.    I am thinking of having a Senior QA added to our team to free up my time and work to get better practices in place.  I was wondering if there were things our Scrum Master could work with them on in the mean time?

09:26 pm September 27, 2017

I was previously the manager over the QA department prior to moving to Product Owner.  

Ahhh...

Tell me Kim:

  • Do you miss managing the QA department?
  • Why do you still feel the need to continue testing?
  • What were the reasons for you to accept the role of a Product Owner, as opposed to joining a Scrum Development Team (albeit one with a high level of testing expertise)?
  • Do you find the role of a Product Owner satisfying?

From your posts, it seems your Development Team is developing solutions that strictly address the acceptance criteria as stated in the PBI.   Why then are you faulting them for not "thinking outside the box"?  

If there are scenarios or acceptance criteria that you want them to include, why are they not being discussed and added to the PBI's when you refine them with the team?

What specific steps have you taken to provide knowledge transfer of your testing expertise to your Development Team?

Why do you feel the answer to your "issue" is to add another testing expert to the Development Team?

Why do you find it difficult to trust your Development Team?   Are they not delivering items within the sprint according to your Definition of Done?

 

09:54 pm September 27, 2017

I am thinking of having a Senior QA added to our team to free up my time and work to get better practices in place.  I was wondering if there were things our Scrum Master could work with them on in the mean time?

Adding a further skills-silo is unlikely to be the best option, unless the team as a self-organizing unit consider it to be the best arrangement. It would probably be better to improve the quality of teamwork given the current membership, including the ability to frame objective criteria during Product Backlog refinement.

As PO you may collaborate with the Development Team throughout the Sprint in order to clarify work further. If you consider your input essential to the creation of an increment of release quality, then you may also work as a member of the Development Team as their peer. The Scrum Master may facilitate such improved cross-functionality.

04:21 am September 28, 2017

Ian, "There's nothing to stop a Product Owner from also being a member of the Development Team "

As per my knowledge a Product Owner is part of scrum team not the development team. How can a PO become member of development team?

Scrum team= PO+SM+Dev team

 

06:10 am September 28, 2017

Ian, "There's nothing to stop a Product Owner from also being a member of the Development Team "

As per my knowledge a Product Owner is part of scrum team not the development team. How can a PO become member of development team?

Scrum team= PO+SM+Dev team

The Scrum Guide does not demand any sort of independence with regards to the Scrum Roles. The general consensus seems to be that PO is a full-time job and being a part-time developer/PO is a difficult situation to handle. However, if it serves the team and the product quality, there may be situations where it is a good idea.

04:24 pm September 28, 2017

Bring this issue up during either the review or retro. By having conversations and understanding their 'side' of approaches used might shed some insight for possibly refining and enhancing their 'test' processes. It might take a few sprints of what is expected and implemented to gain traction.