Are All Disciplines Equal?

This discussion was around the differing perceptions of the specialist roles within a scrum team and how the relationships can be maintained or made better.  The main points are listed here, but please feel free to add any more in the comments.

  • An observation was made that if a comment or suggestions is made by a tester it isn’t given any consideration, however if the same suggestion is made by a developer then it is immediately accepted and usually acted upon.  All opinions are equal and should be treated as such, regardless of the persons job role.
  • The ideal make up of a scrum team would be to have multi-talented T-shaped people, which would still value the specialist skills of each discipline but would give more flexibility to complete any task.
  • Job descriptions can reinforce the perception that a developers contribution is more valuable by using phrases such as helping the developer rather than concentrating on the testers skills.
  • Job titles can also influence this.  One example was that everyone within a project should be called an engineer, it was thought this would naturally lead to a more inclusive approach.
  • One scenario discussed was the testers being allocated to a project from a central pool of testers, rather than integral members of the scrum team.  This led to the test resource being removed or reallocated.  In order to counter this, the the testers were involved throughout the life of the PBI from requirement gathering, to pairing with the developer, making it more difficult to remove the test resource from the team.  While this works around the problem, it is no substitute for a fully integrated team.
  • Automation could be used as a bridge between development and testers, giving each an appreciation of the other’s skills.
  • Giving the testers the skills and authority to correct minor bug themselves was also discussed as a way to gain appreciation and respect.
  • Some people were discussed as being role models and encouraging the relationship between the two disciplines by getting involved with tasks outside of their traditional role, helping with automation and training their colleagues.
  • We also discussed that often any issues within a team come down to personalities rather than any lack of respect for the job role.



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