Agile tester skills


The Differences between Testing in Traditional and Agile Approaches
The roles and Skills of a Tester in an Agile Team

Agile tester skills

A tester in an Agile team should be competent in test automation, test-driven development, acceptance test-driven development, white-box, black-box, and experience-based testing. 

As Agile methodologies depend heavily on collaboration, communication, and interaction between the team members as well as stakeholders outside the team, testers in an Agile team should have good interpersonal skills. 

Skills and competencies 

These are more important than named roles as cross-skilling in other disciplines is encouraged such as product owners becoming competent at testing. 

Testers in Agile teams should: 

  • Be positive and solution-oriented with team members and stakeholders 
  • Display critical, quality-oriented, sceptical thinking about the product 
  • Actively acquire information from stakeholders (rather than relying entirely on written specifications) 
  • Accurately evaluate and report test results, test progress, and product quality 
  • Work effectively to define testable user stories, especially acceptance criteria, with customer representatives and stakeholders 
  • Collaborate within the team, working in pairs with programmers and other team members 
  • Respond to change quickly, including changing, adding, or improving test cases 
  • Plan and organise their own work

Continuous growth 

Continuous skills growth, including interpersonal skills growth, is essential for all testers, including those on Agile teams. 

Possible cultural change for testers 

Agile is not simply a new development model, it is a cultural shift for the entire business.  

Everyone involved in the project will have to deal with cultural change, this includes testers: 

  • The Silo mentality needs to be set aside. Testers should no longer see themselves as the Quality Police. 
  • Software may be produced that is ‘fit for purpose’ rather than having passed strict entry and exit criteria 
  • Test conditions may come from verbal and frequently changing requirements, written Acceptance Criteria may only be the starting point for software behaviour.  
  • Defect management may be very informal to be as efficient as possible 

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This section discusses the differences between testing in traditional and Agile approaches, the status of testing in Agile projects, and the role and skills of a tester in an Agile team. 


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