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Three amigos:

Three amigos refers to the primary perspectives to examine an increment of work before, during, and after development. Those perspectives are:

  • Business – What problem are we trying to solve?
  • Development – How might we build a solution to solve that problem?
  • Testing – What about this, what could possibly happen?

An example of an unsuccessful three amigo meeting:

BA: "Here is what I got from the user requirements, I came up with some acceptance criteria."

Dev: "Looks good".

QA: "Agreed"

How to do the three amigos meeting so at the end of it we have

  1. Rules we need to implement
  2. Concrete examples that can be turned into acceptance criteria, specifications and test cases
  3. Further questions that will be discussed later or turned to new stories
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Make testing the focus

  • For a given feature that you are discussing, as a group, go through what you plan for unit tests, integration tests and end-to-end tests. Talk about how you will do performance, security and usability testing for the feature.

  • Discuss what makes sense to test manually and what makes sense to automate

  • Discuss which tests you should have and talk about a plan to write them ahead of the code

  • Engage the team with constant and on-going education. A great many "agile" teams are agile in name only and really waterfall and command and control under the hood. With QA doing verification testing that is separate from the development process. In order to promote a 'whole, one team', constant and consistent Agile Development messaging and education is essential.

  • Respect that has been built up over time between the parties. This also takes skilled management to encourage and grow these aspects.

In order to avoid having to 'make the case' for this approach every time you may wish to come up with an agreed template of going through the above points. This way there is less persuading each time and more following quality procedures.

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One of the ways is Example Mapping.

All you need is a pack of coloured cards and pens and preferably a table.

  • Write the story on a yellow card and place it at the top of the table
  • Write the acceptance criteria and the already known rules on a blue card beneath the yellow card
  • Under each rule/AC add green cards with an example that illustrates it
  • Write questions that need to be investigated to red cards
  • Timebox the meeting to 25 min (25 is not a magic number, just make sure you don't lose focus)

At the end of the meeting, if red dominates, the story probably isn't ready for work. If the blue dominates, maybe it is too complex. Decide by a quick vote and that's it!

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I'd also add that seeing the story beforehand is a good way of making the Three Amigos session more likely to provide benefit.

Thinking up questions and issues on the spot when you've only just seen the story is a lot harder versus having a day or so (or even an hour or so to be honest).

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