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Rev up to Agility, Apply Lean Six Sigma in Testing

Roll out Scrum is easy, but not being Agile. Often it is easier to form Scrum teams, teach the teams the Scrum ceremonies and Scrum roles and artifacts, principles and rules. When we ask , whether all these have led to sustained shortest lead time with built in quality, after the introduction of Scrum , the answer many times would be “no”. It is not because the teams do not want to practice, but there are some factors which inhibit transitioning to Agility from doing Scrum. This is especially so, when a waterfall model has been practiced for long with well-defined phase-gates. I don’t mean to discuss or elaborate on all these but just one inhibitor which we observed and which could be addressed from a Testing perspective. And that is the Lag between coding or development and Testing for a story.

When we have groups of scrum teams working on products, which are more on the enhancement mode with a clearly defined road map, we notice that Test cases have been built over time and there could be a huge repository of Regression test cases. Even when limited changes are made to the product, or whenever a release is being made to the customers at regular intervals, there is a need to make sure that no part of the existing code is broken .This every testing professional is aware of and that is the Regression cycle where the entire test suite is run to improve the confidence level in the Quality of the product. This phase runs into weeks for some of the mature products and the developers on the team start working on the next release and this creates a lag and this lag is inbuilt in the system resulting in not being Agile. As Agility requires testing and coding to happen in the same sprint.

There are again many ways this problem can be addressed but some of the ways to bridge this gap for teams transitioning to Agility are

  • Eliminate NVA ( non-value added activities) during the Regression cycle
  • To bring down the time to Regression to the minimum possible time
  • Build a standard test suite with improved test case writing
  • Risk based grouping of test cases

These were done very efficiently by applying Lean six sigma at our company and this paper provides a high level view of how this was done.


  • Reducing testing cycles towards agility
  • Lean six sigma basics
  • Extraneous factors causing delays in testing not usually attributed to
  • Optimizing Automation suites
  • Risk based testing

Ramesh BR

Ramesh BR is Certified Scrum Master, Certified Scrum Professional, a leading SAFe 4.0 certified, Six Sigma GB, MS (Software) and a Lean manufacturing expert. He has demonstrated leadership with uncompromising integrity in global environments.

He has led offshore Software Product Development, delivery management, centre management, Quality Engineering, Program Management and Enterprise Software Implementation in the last 18 years. He has experience in Technical & Talent nurturing, growing an off-shore developmental center from startup levels to World class delivery centre with strong process orientation and expertise in Six Sigma & Agile Software working seamlessly across geographies and cultures. He is a continuous learner.

He has in-depth manufacturing experience & domain knowledge in Automobile & Earthmoving industry and achieved manufacturing targets through strategic & processes planning, execution & co-ordination across Organization (People, Process, and Material) & Supply chain in over 16 years.


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