Getting through a planning session… as a tester

I have been working as a software tester for some time and I still feel that there are times when a sprint planning session can pass me by. The ability to provide valuable feedback is something I believe definitely improves over time, as I feel I’m now better at getting involved that when I first started out. A big part of our role as testers (technical or not) is to ask relevant questions and raise any potential concerns. Below are the things that I have done to Improve my chances of adding value…

A big part of our role as testers (technical or not) is to ask relevant questions and raise any potential concerns


Review the stories before the planning session

This is an obvious one but at the same time one that is often forgotten. Trying to follow what is being described as well as paying attention to what’s on screen during the planning session can be extremely difficult if you are seeing the story for the first time.

Asking questions regarding a story before the planning session is a powerful way to shape the forthcoming sprint, as well as being easier to ask outside of a group session. You can ask the person who raised the story or those who will eventually work on it. I sometimes spend 5 minutes researching topics within a story is not fully clear on. It’s also a good idea to leave some questions you may have for the actual session which will get a wider audience involved. If you work with another tester in your team it is also a good idea to get their input on the story.


Ask simple questions.

It is sometimes a good idea to ask a question even if you know the answer. it can raise things that may have been missed and give you a good way to get involved. Some simple questions that can be asked are:

  • How soon can I get involved with the testing of this story?
  • Is there anything I can do in preparation for this ticket
  • What level of coverage do we have with regards to unit and integration tests around this area
  • Are there any specific end-to-end tests you think may be required

One of the problems that one can sometimes face is the feeling that a question may be irrelevant or too simple. If it has a simple answer it will be covered quickly and everyone will move on. If not, you may have just uncovered a major issue. On balance, I would say refraining from asking is not worth the risk!


Take notes

This one is more about getting the most out of planning session and goes almost without saying. As a tester, it can often be down to you to sign off a story before it gets completed. discussion points can often not be added into an actual story so it can often be very important to be able to refer to notes regarding a conversation you would have had some time prior.

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