When it comes to the idea of leading business transformations in the world of technology, one term that is frequently highlighted is “Agile.” Though the term is often understood to be a practice that adds to the rapidity of any process, the word ‘agile’ turns to be even more valuable when paired with software testing.
Since the dynamics with the development and implementation of technology are quickly changing, Agile testing has appeared to be a practice that has helped the software companies improve on their release cycles. However, the use of agile practices within a software testing company requires sticking to the quality benchmarks when the development velocity is increasing with each passing day.
Thus, it becomes necessary to understand how sticking to the agile testing principles could help yield quality while overcoming any possible challenges that QAOps and DevOps Teams are likely to encounter. Let us quickly dig into understanding how Agile testing can be deployed to maintain that continuous feedback loop for baking quality products through rapid iterations.
Before we proceed with the principles associating with agile testing, it is always a good idea to start from the basics.
What is Agile Testing?
Agile testing could be described as the process of integrating the development and testing phases for rapid results. As per the traditional practices, testing was usually the last step before deployment or implementation. However, the agile testing process allows continuous testing of the product throughout the development stage, offering immediate feedback to the developers for improving on any error cases.
Features of Agile Testing
- Enhanced Testing Process: Agile testing needs entire testing and development teams to work together on building unit tests that can help with effective auditing. Besides, the test outcomes help developers to recheck existing requirements and improve the code for any flaws.
- Improved Interactions On Quality: Agile approach brings testing closer to the development process. This means improved reporting on quality issues adding more reliability to the solution.
- Engagement With Clients: Agile Testing allows the product owners to be directly involved in the entire development process. This means all the stakeholders could align well on the defined scope of the project while working through a clearly established roadmap.
Agile Testing Principles
Before we start digging into the possible quality challenges that agile testing could help you overcome, it is vital to explore the eight significant principles of using agile testing. Let’s just quickly eyeball each of these to understand how Agile QA Solutions help yield the highest standards of quality.
- Continuous Testing: In an agile test environment, teams perform continuous tests to ensure progressive development as testing and coding both go hand in hand.
- Continuous Feedback: The next important principle for implementing agile testing in the software development process is to ensure continuous feedback is received by the DevOps teams to overcome any code issues and meet the quality requirements.
- Client Involvement: Agile testing allows clients to be directly involved in the development lifecycle. This brings the ease to regulate the requirements so that test cases could be framed to meet the desired goals.
- High-Quality Solutions: Agile testing allows the team to work on code issues for any errors that might lead to vulnerabilities, risks, or unexpected failures. Thus, the iterations become much quicker to perform for developers leading to high-quality solutions.
- Minimal Documentation: Since agile testing allows rapid iterations on the provided requirements, testers and developers could easily follow the requirements of the clients, resisting any need for comprehensive documentation and instructions.
- Team Involvement: Right from the beginning of the software development lifecycle, agile testing requires the complete involvement of business analysts, developers, and testers.
- Test-Driven Progress: Agile testing needs testers to evaluate the product right during the implementation stage, unlike conventional practices that follow testing after implementation.
- Quick Response: Every iteration involves immediate team participation. This means rapid feedback on the test cases that adds more value to the development work.
Common Testing Challenges & How Agile Testing Helps To Overcome?
Since testing is a consuming process that needs extensive checking of code, there are certain challenges that most software testing companies tend to face with their existing test procedures. We will try to understand each of these challenges while developing insights on the importance of agile testing in enhancing the development process while resisting these common challenges.
- Rapid Change In Requirements
The first and most common challenge that QAOps and DevOps teams often need to encounter on their way to the software development lifecycle is changing requirements. The management practices that lead to requirement changes could lead to an unexpected change in the scope of the project, which might affect the existing progress. Even though agile methodology discourages such practices, sticking to agile testing makes it easier for testers and developers to accommodate any required changes.
However, it usually needs testers to modify their test cases as per the changed requirements while highlighting the progress made and any areas of code that are still to be tested, this makes it easier for development teams to streamline the changed functionality requirements without affecting the overall timeline and quality of the project.
- Incomplete Information
Since the technology market experiences rapid changes, product owners are very likely to come with new ideas. However, the sudden introduction of the requirements makes existing test cases sit back. Nevertheless, Agile testing allows testers to run through existing requirements and then come up with some additional scenarios that might interest the product owner’s needs. Moreover, it brings the liberty to test an application that is made without complete details while high-level test scenarios could be fostered, irrespective of the fact that the particulars are modified.
- Ongoing Testing
Since testing is a continuous practice that starts with the development phase, it gets difficult for testers to create test cases for the features just when the coding starts or, in some cases, is not even initiated.
However, Agile testing allows testers to work on user story backlog, defining the most likely outcomes for a test case and create the acceptance criteria. Besides, it is necessary that the defined acceptance criteria should be understood well and the DevOps teams are kept in sync while coding for that particular feature.
- The Technical Struggle
Testers that have experience working on exploratory/manual testing practices often experience a struggle leaning on the agile environment. This is because agile practices need testers to be well-informed of the technique when it comes to performing automation checks or work on testing scenarios like API testing, Integration testing, etc.
- Regression Cycles
With features continuously being added to the products, testers may need to run frequent regression tests. However, the agile environment is fast-paced, and therefore running manual regression tests could get consuming when any application or software is required to run through multiple test scenarios. Also, testing across different devices and operating systems makes it difficult to ensure the viability of all functions perfectly.
When sticking to agile testing principles, the testers could lean on tools like Selenium and JMeter to skip regression testing for basic features. Besides, Docker could be used to manage the tests and run them parallel for different browsers and devices.
- Communication Gaps
In order to make agile testing work, the developers and testers need to be in direct contact while keeping things synchronized with the product owner. However, cutting this off, we need direct communication within the teams, I.e., developers and testers having routine meetings to conduct scrums.
- Quality Measurement
Last but not least, there are generally no particular measurements when it comes to quality. However, the Quality measurement could be fostered by defining metrics for the agile testing operations so that there is no blind flying. This could be worked by focusing on specific product areas that are most likely to pose quality issues to the users.
The Crux: Establishing Quality Benchmarks With Agile Testing
Concluding it all, the agile testing principles are all about bringing rapidity to the test approach and techniques. Right from the initiation of the software development lifecycle to the communication, it is QAOps, DevOps, and Product owners that need to come together to achieve the quality goals.
Besides, any software testing company dealing in QA services could try accommodating quality intelligence platforms into the testing landscape. It can help testers to work well on the Agile principles while ensuring complete success for different testing quadrants, I.e., acceptance testing, code quality, functional testing, and non-functional testing.
Moreover, successful implementation of the agile approach could even aid in visualizing the test gaps and help identify all the product areas that are not adequately tested after all the recent changes in the scope and requirements.
In a nutshell, having an eye on test gaps needs you to stick to the basics of agile testing as well as all the advanced practices that can make testing efforts more focused. Also, incorporating these tactics into the process could aid in rectifying production faults leaving no chance for over-testing and simply aim for areas that are most vulnerable to quality issues. After all, Agile is all about nurturing faster release times and providing end-users with software products that are sustainable when it comes to Quality goals.
1. What is Zero sprint in Agile?
Sprint zero is the pre-preparation process, where the setting of the development environment and test backlogs, etc., are done before the first sprint is initiated.
2. What is the Agile Manifesto?
Agile Manifesto contains 12 principles and four key values. It is actually an iterative approach to software development that follows people-centric goals.
3. What is test-driven development in Agile?
Test-Driven Development requires developers to prepare test cases in the first place before they write the code to satisfy the test requirements. Moreover, the code is usually refactored to align with the acceptable QA standards of the product.
Kanika Vatsyayan is the Vice-President, Delivery, and Operations at BugRaptors, one of the top QA & software testing company. She herself is a QA professional with a grip across several leadership positions such as test program planning, innovation, and process transformations. From quality control to test leadership, test practices, and assurance strategies, Kanika is a seasoned expert with influential tech skills required to offer world-class quality assurance services. Besides this, she has a knack for writing and therefore has published countless articles and blogs educating audiences across the software testing industry.