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3 Amigos - what is it?

The basis of ASD (agile software development) is a single, multi discipline squad\team working togetherto deliver working software. But how do squad\teams ensure that the have a common understanding of what they are delivering?

In must be understood that in the real-world implementation of the theory will be different for each squad\team, project, organization and flavor of ASD (agile software development).

Following the practices of iterative sprints, daily stand-ups and regular feature demos, how does each person within the squad\team come to a common understanding regarding a feature or story?

This is when the 3A(3 Amigos) sessions are held. They are a short 30 min~  session to discuss all aspects of the story. During the session the following areas are discussed:

  • Business & Integration analysts discuss user stories/requirements/acceptance criteria.
  • Engineers discuss the code.
  • QA\Tests discuss scenarios/test cases.

Without a shared understanding across the squad\team, there can be confusion regarding behaviors, complexity, code, duplication and depth of testing.

Some squad\teams see the 3A(3 Amigos) as a prescriptive meeting with outcomes and an agenda and other squad\teams use the 3A(3 Amigos) as a discussion session for each story.

By introducing 3A(3 Amigos) sessions to Sprints/Iterations, it gives the Business Analyst (BA) an opportunity to present the story requirements and discuss the tests for a new feature.

The 3A(3 Amigos) - normally consisting of BA, Engineer, and QA\Test - is one of the key ways to change the culture of the squad\team to be more ASD (agile software developmer), and encourage more collaboration. These sessions allow for the squad\team to discuss the new feature and review the specification. The aim is to create a common understanding and shared vocabulary so that everyone is on the same page and also estimate how many story points each user story is allocated.

The 3A(3 Amigos) ensures a common understanding for a story in the squad\team; a session between Product Manager (Business), Engineer, QA\Test. The 3 Amigos session will also define the definition of done for the story. In other words, creating a set of criteria to know when the story is complete and the feature ready for delivery.

Good practice is for the Software Engineer and QA\Test attending the sessions to be the same ones who will develop and test the feature through to completion.

The QA\Test and Software Engineer can identify missing requirements/test cases, and once these are defined the feature can progress to development and allocated to the appropriate iteration/sprint.


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