Power of Three

When you’ve started to work under Agile context, have you ever run into such situation: 

Tester: User story “Day 1” does not work. Can you make it work in the A way for this scenario?

Developer: Really, let me take a look. Oh, yes, you’re right. Let us make it in A way secnario.

This looks nice so far, nice teamwork between developer and tester! And it’s really effective. But wait:

2 weeks later, when BA is working on another user story “Day 2”, she thought there was less work given “Day 1” working under mode B. But it’s totally wrong as the developer and tester had made it work under mode A, which totally changed user story “Day 2”.

So happy start does not always result in happy ending, sometimes it’s more RISKY. 

One proven practice to avoid this is: always follow the rule of “Power of Three”. That means:

  • Whenever you need to make a decision, call at least 3 people: Dev, Test and BA. Anyone left out might introduce risks.
  • Get involved when you see two people is talking, try to see if they need people No. 3.
  • Always share the decision with the team to get early feedback; sometimes more people than 3 is needed to make a wise decision.

2 Responses to Power of Three

  1. PM Hut says:

    A better solution to this problem is not to allow the tester to give direct feedback to the developer. All the feedback must go to the BA or the PM, and that the feedback will be organized into scheduled tasks and assigned to developers. Usually neither the developer nor the tester are aware of the full picture.

    In very small projects (2-3 people), the tester should also be the PM.

    • mayxu says:

      That’s one alternative, but I would not recommend that explicitly as different situations apply. Doing so will promote the culture that “Tester is not trusted, they do not know what they are doing”. As we’re promoting cross-functional team, tester could be a role, one person could be tester, BA, PM at the same time.

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