Agile testing is any test which occurs to support an agile methodology. Below we break down some of the best practices for agile testing in software. If you want to start testing in agile with Global App Testing, you can get in touch here.
Agile testing has become a critical part of application lifecycles and has had a significant impact on software development, testing and quality assurance. It has also gained widespread acceptance as a crucial driver for the delivery of high-quality products. In this article, we take a deep dive into the world of Agile testing to better understand how it works and how it can help you.
In order to understand agile testing, it’s important to understand what the Agile development methodology involves. It’s an umbrella term, encompassing many practices that are quite different from traditional development techniques.
Let’s start by looking at the key principles of agile software development. The four core values are:
As the name implies, an Agile methodology is focused on responding to change. There are many frameworks teams might use, such as Scrum or Kanban, but at the center of it is a collaborative approach.
A traditional development approach might separate team members based on the area they’re working on, and slowly add pieces together to create a finished product. With Agile, continuous integration is key - the whole team collaborates and new features are added as they work. It creates a completely different software development life cycle - which is why teams need to implement agile testing methods to help.
Our definition of agile testing is testing which occurs in and is appropriate to an agile software development environment. Many of the kinds of testing which are appropriate for other software development methodologies are suitable for agile testing – regression testing, feature testing, and so forth. But their methodology – how they fit with the software release cycle; the way that the tests are planned and success is understood – is often different. Global App Testing provides tester supply which is elastic and which entails a rapid turnaround, meaning you can expand your team instantly in the case of tests which can’t be automated.
Agile testing operates under the philosophy that continuous testing is a crucial part of development, on a par with coding.
In Agile, testing is integrated directly into the development process so that bugs are discovered as early and as often as possible. As a result, testers can identify problems at every point in the development process, moving the product quickly towards release.
To keep things from breaking in the customers’ hands, testers attempt to break it first - and then have it fixed.
In the traditional waterfall method of development, the sequence of events is:
Requirements > System Design > Implementation > Integration and Testing > Deployment of System > Maintenance.
The Agile Testing Life Cycle is an iterative process that aligns with the overall Agile software development life cycle. It includes various phases that focus on continuous testing, collaboration, and improvement. Here's a breakdown of the Agile Testing Life Cycle:
The Agile Testing Life Cycle iterates through these phases in alignment with the development sprints, promoting continuous improvement, rapid feedback, and ongoing collaboration. This approach allows the team to adapt to changes and deliver high-quality software throughout the development process.
There are three simple benefits to adopting Agile testing: a happier team, a higher-quality product and faster delivery. But that trifecta is worth the effort put into developing an effective Agile testing framework.
However, no system is perfect. Improperly implemented, Agile testing can weaken team structure and product development, preventing a viable product from ever being released. Even when properly used, all Agile methodologies have their weaknesses. For example, exploratory testing can lack the structure necessary to ensure a product is comprehensively tested; ATDD accounts for customer feedback, but not for business outcomes.
The emphasis Agile testing places on people can also be its downfall. If Agile testers are excluded from the team that they need to be closely integrated with, they are rendered useless. If a single skilled Agile tester leaves, it can prove to be a major setback for the development of the product.
Finally, since everyone in the team performs testing, the muddied hierarchy could lead to confusion and conflict. Methodologies like Scrum attempt to circumvent this by having ‘scrum masters’, but this has the potential to fall back into a more traditional method rather than staying truly Agile.
While Agile methodologies offer numerous benefits for software development, they also have some disadvantages when it comes to testing. Here are a few potential drawbacks of testing in Agile:
It's important to note that these disadvantages are not inherent to Agile methodologies themselves but rather potential challenges that can arise if testing is not effectively managed within an Agile context. With proper planning, collaboration, and adaptation, many of these drawbacks can be mitigated.
With dedication, each of these pitfalls can be overcome and the three powerful benefits experienced. The first step towards successful Agile testing is determining when Agile testing should not be used. Blind adoption of Agile testing can result in a weak, crash-prone product.
Here are a few guidelines for cases in which Agile may not be the best way to test:
Once you have determined that Agile testing will benefit your team, your product and your customers, you should spend as much time as necessary to pick the right methodology and to create a process for testing using the four-quadrant model.
To counteract the possibility of testers' exclusion, testers should work in as close physical proximity to the developers as possible. They should meet with them often to see what they are currently working on and to give them a chance to review the tests that have been developed. Taking an iterative approach here, as well as in the testing process itself, can help connect the teams early and help with later collaboration.
Testers can open doors for themselves by providing useful feedback based on interactions with both developers and customers. In short, they should make themselves indispensable to developers in order to be able to perform their job well.
The greatest thing that can be done to ensure the success of Agile testing for a product is to hire people who have the essential characteristics of an Agile tester, and to build a culture of self-organisation and independent thinking in the entire organisation.
That environment will naturally result in ‘stable infra’ without sacrificing speed, resulting in happier workers delivering a better, more valuable product - faster - to a satisfied customer.
Testing in an agile environment, it's important to focus on metrics that provide meaningful insights into the quality, progress, and effectiveness of testing activities. Here are some of the most appropriate metrics to consider:
Test Coverage: This metric measures the extent to which the test cases cover the requirements and functionality of the system. It helps identify gaps in test coverage and ensures that critical areas are adequately tested.
Defect Density: Defect density measures the number of defects identified per unit of code or functionality. It helps assess the effectiveness of testing by indicating how many defects are found in relation to the amount of tested code.
Test Execution Progress: This metric tracks the progress of test execution within a sprint or iteration. It provides visibility into the percentage of test cases executed and helps identify any bottlenecks or delays in testing activities.
Test Execution Efficiency: This metric measures the ratio of passed tests to the total number of tests executed. It indicates the efficiency of the testing process by highlighting how many tests are passing successfully and how many are failing.
Cycle Time: Cycle time measures the time it takes for a user story or a task to move through the entire testing process, from creation to completion. It helps identify bottlenecks and optimize the testing workflow.
Defect Turnaround Time: This metric measures the time taken to identify, report, fix, and retest a defect. It helps assess the effectiveness of defect management and the overall responsiveness of the team in addressing issues.
Customer Satisfaction: Although not directly related to testing, customer satisfaction is a crucial metric to gauge the quality of the product. Feedback from customers and stakeholders can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of testing efforts.
Agile Test Velocity: Test velocity measures the rate at which testing tasks or user stories are completed within an iteration. It helps the team understand their capacity for testing and provides insights into the progress of testing activities.
Escaped Defects: Escaped defects are defects that are identified by customers or end-users after the software has been released. Tracking and analyzing escaped defects helps identify areas of improvement in testing and quality assurance processes.
Remember, metrics should be used judiciously and in conjunction with qualitative assessments. It's crucial to select metrics that align with the project goals, adapt them as needed, and use them as a tool for continuous improvement rather than as mere performance indicators.