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Supporting Separate Dev and Test Sprints/Iterations

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Question

We have separate Development and Testing sprints/iterations so that the QA team is always one sprint behind dev. How can we support that in Lifecycle?

Answer

One goal within Agile is to completely deliver a subset of the features within a sprint/iteration, which means testing is included in the delivery of the feature (backlog item, story or requirement). An advantage with this, of course, is that all effort for the feature is neatly contained in a single package (the requirement itself).

Some teams are at different points on the path towards agility and have employed an offset in the development vs. testing efforts. The sprint schedule, in this case, can work as follows.

Sprint 1

Sprint 2

Sprint 3

  • Dev builds functionality Wave A
  • QA prepares for testing
  • QA tests Wave A
  • Dev fixes bugs on Wave A
  • Dev builds Wave B => Wave A gets completed
  • QA tests Wave B
  • Dev fixes bugs on Wave B
  • Dev builds Wave C => Wave B gets completed

This scenario requires creating separate features for development and testing. The individual tests can exist under the testing 'feature'. The separate Dev and testing features can be related via dependencies. A single testing feature can have dependency relationships to multiple development features, so there doesn't have to be a 1:1 match.

It is also possible to have development and QA working off different, overlapping schedules so that the offset does not have to be a full sprint.

The next step towards agility is to combine the development and testing work for each feature into the same sprint. This eliminates the potential confusion around separate Dev and QA features and focuses the entire team on the single end goal of delivering running, tested software each sprint.

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