In Agile, the whole-team approach means involving everyone with different knowledge and skills to ensure project success. The team includes representatives from the customer also known as the Product Owner, and other business stakeholders who determine product features.
The team should be relatively small, typically between five to seven, however, successful teams have been observed with as few as three people and as many as nine. Ideally, the whole team shares the same workspace and are sat as a group, as co-location strongly facilitates communication and interaction.
The whole-team approach is supported through the daily stand-up meetings involving all members of the team, where work progress is communicated and any impediments to progress are highlighted. The whole-team approach promotes more effective and efficient team dynamics.
Also, using the whole-team approach, it means that testers can help developers write automated tests and vice versa and product owners can help with Exploratory and User Acceptance Testing.
The use of a whole-team approach to product development is one of the main benefits of Agile development. Its benefits include:
- Enhancing communication and collaboration within the team
- Enabling the various skill sets within the team to be leveraged to the benefit of the project
- Making quality everyone’s responsibility
In Agile projects, Testers or QAs are not the only ones responsible for quality of the product but the whole team is responsible for quality.
The essence of the whole-team approach lies in the testers, developers, and the business representatives working together in every step of the development process.
Testers will work closely with both developers and business representatives to ensure that the desired quality levels are achieved. This includes supporting and collaborating with business representatives to help them create suitable acceptance tests, define definition of done, working with developers to agree on the testing strategy, and deciding on test automation approaches. Testers can thus transfer and extend testing knowledge to other team members and influence the development of the product.
The whole team is involved in any consultations or meetings in which product features are presented, analyzed, or estimated. The concept of involving testers, developers, and business representatives in all feature discussions is known as the power of three, or the three Amigos.