The importance of three amigos in agile!

In the world of testing, three amigos refer to primary perspectives to examine before, during, or after a development process.

The three amigos perspectives include business, development, and testing. In regards to business, you need to know what problem it is you’re looking to solve; with development, you need to know how to build a solution; and when testing, you need to be aware of all aspects which may occur in the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC).

As a tester, it’s important to know the above perspectives, as well as define and collaborate what needs to be done. Reviewing increments of a product that has been implemented to ensure its correct from different perspectives is essential for testers wanting to deliver a product that’s fit for purpose, up-to-date and easily accessible.

Three amigos benefits

Other benefits of implementing three amigos include:

  • Sharing and building an understanding of the SDLC
  • Collaboration in sprint meetings and sprint reviews
  • Identifies confusion and misunderstandings early, allowing for faster delivery
  • Ensures developers, as a team, discuss the increment of work needed
  • Helps go over the acceptance criteria and other attributes.

“We tend to use three amigos sessions sparingly within our digital team. They are less of a meeting and more of an ideation session where the business and developers discuss their differing viewpoints to a complex issue. We try not to limit the number of people involved, but instead, ensure the right people are involved. The hopeful output of these discussions are clear requirements and, if possible, clear and complete acceptance criteria,” said Leon Harvey, Agile Delivery Manager at Which?.

“We find that as the wider team matures, these sessions become more and more valuable. Contributors know what outcome they’re seeking and the input from the right people at the right time generally ensures these sessions are incredibly useful.”

Common pitfalls

Nevertheless, common pitfalls can occur when using the three amigos perspectives:

  • Stakeholders aren’t always involved in discussions, when it’s vital they should be
  • Three amigos discussions should be with a small group of people so they can all be heard, not a large group with only certain members being heard
  • Three amigo discussions are, typically, regularly scheduled and can be treated as a task other than a helpful discussion on the increment of work needed.

In conclusion, three amigos in agile simply define the balance between no collaboration between people with different perspectives and involves the whole team to discuss the insides and out of a development process.

Written by Leah Alger