What is the ‘right’ Developer Vs Test Ratio in an Agile Team?

Posted: May 25, 2010 in Agile, Testing
Tags: , ,

A number of text’s on the subject of ratio’s suggest a 4:1 developer to tester split. I would agree that if the majority of your development work concentrates on delivering functionality, then you will need to increase the number of testers on the team. But what about the early phases of a project, where infrastructure needs to be installed and integrated or in the run up to that first release; where teams have to tackle additional technical debt to harden the application? Running a 4:1 ratio in this situation may seem to be overkill for your client; or lead to utilisation problems. In these situations I have been working to a 6:1 ratio, anything greater than that and cracks began to appear; leading to resourcing conversations.

No project is going to be the same; and as the project matures; and hopefully the technical backlog/debt mountain reduces; this is where team ratios will get closer to 4:1 or even 3:1 in order that velocity can be maintained and that the testers can provide feedback early in the sprint; whilst maintaining the automation effort as part of continuous build.

I mentioned in my previous post whether the Agile Tester’s input finishes at the end of a sprint; as I outlined; my current thinking is ‘No’; therefore this also needs to be factored in to discussions around team size and ratios.


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