How can your Agile environment run more efficiently? By breaking down the barriers between your development and QA teams. This starts with identifying the assumptions that each group has about the other’s role and capabilities. With everything on the table, you can then take concrete actions, like the ones below, to begin reducing barriers.

Eliminate the separation between development and QA.

The waterfall model has been around for decades, and Agile has struggled to replace it. Waterfall’s sequential, non-iterative process values a separation between development and QA. It’s not uncommon for an Agile testing services company to come in and discover that the client’s Agile approach is actually a mini waterfall model. Reducing Agile’s tendency to become a short term waterfall framework begins in the project’s planning stage. Combat this tendency by introducing QA during planning, so developers are exposed early on to QA’s processes and resource requirements.

Shift away from the outdated perspective that devalues QA groups as merely “testers.”

Good code is everyone’s product. Emphasize that developers and QA personnel are on the same team. Top-tier Agile testing services select highly trained engineers for Agile development QA. Seasoned companies value QA and test teams for their ability to protect the company’s reputation in the marketplace. And a good reputation equates to job security for developers.

Educate QA personnel on your system architecture.

Education can chip away at the developer expectation that bugs are typically “found” by QA people who “don’t understand the system.” Skilled and trained QA technicians and QA engineers, working in tandem with development, improve quality and lower costs by eliminating bugs earlier in the process. If resources don’t permit hiring and training an in-house QA team or you need to augment your staff, then consider outsourcing QA and testing. If tech talent in your city is limited, consider working remotely with an Agile testing services provider that has experience with systems similar to yours. A team of QA experts can ensure that, while your developers were fixing something, they didn’t break something else.

Cultivate mutual respect between developers and test script engineers.

In an Agile environment, time for manual testing is limited, which makes automated testing essential. Developers are creative people, and a well-trained test script engineer can be just as creative in designing “outside-the-box” tests. If your developers see the creativity and results from QA engineering and test, that can go a long way in reducing the barriers between groups.

View QA as a revenue center.

Most likely, your accounting department has two buckets: one for expenses that contribute to revenue and one for expenses that don’t. In this scenario, purchasing new development frameworks is often justified, but purchasing QA services and tools gets a sharper look. Skimping on QA and testing can result in lower-quality products and poor quality releases that affect your company’s reputation.

Improving your Agile process is a matter of digging deeper and realizing that Agile’s momentum is fueled by the rapid exchange of perspectives between small teams of development, QA, and product management personnel. In a pure Agile environment, development and QA work hand in glove. There are no barriers between members of the same team. They develop mutual respect with a common goal to release the best possible software to the customer.

Read “Software QA: Hire In-House or Outsource?” to help you determine whether you should hire QA in house or outsource to an experienced software testing company.