Agile testing is a practice that follows the principles of agile software development. Agile testing involves all members of a cross-functional agile team, with special expertise contributed by testers, to ensure delivering the business value desired by the customer at regular intervals, working at a sustainable pace. In a nutshell, it implies to building a quality work product developed and tested on Agile Development Model.
It’s a must to understand Agile Development Model in detail to understand what is agile testing. Agile Development Model is a type of Incremental model. Software is developed in incremental, rapid cycles. This results in small incremental releases with each release building on previous functionality. Each release is thoroughly tested to ensure software quality is maintained. It is used for time critical applications.
When Agile Development Methodology is adapted, the onus is on delivering a product with quality functionalities to the customers at an earliest. Then, with successive delivery, more features, capabilities and functionalities are added to the product. This process of developing and delivering application results in higher customer satisfaction and transparency.
Principles of Agile Testing
- Consistent and Continuous Software deliverable builds confidence and instills satisfaction in customer
- Quick adaptation to change with regard to requirements throughout the cycle is salient attribute
- Alliance of varied business stakeholders and team players (Developers and Testers) results in better team bonding and richer outcomes
- Motivation, confidence and belief are key for agile project success
- Team working at same location helps interaction and results in effective communication in turn removing hindrances for better outcomes
- Progress can only be quantified with delivery of functional software to the end users
- Process in Agile framework, Develops and Delivers work product at constant pace in every release
- Focus on Technical Attributes and Designs improves agility in terms of quality product
- Simplicity -Simple is what the client wants, and simple is what the Agile team should strive to produce.
- Self-organizing Teams- A group of motivated individuals, who work together toward a goal, have the ability and authority to take decisions and readily adapt to changing demands
- Self-assessment, process improvement and advancement in skills and techniques results in more effective and efficient outcomes
Advantages of Agile Testing
Agile testing is an apt for increasing Customers demands. The main advantage of agile testing is with each sprint, customer gets to see salable product or working copy of the software. Unlike traditional Waterfall model, Agile Testing does not believe in documentation. This in turn saves lot of time, effort and money in documentation. In Agile testing, the deliverables are Test designs, Test reports along with the Working Software even at the end of Sprint 1 whereas in Waterfall model, deliverables are just Test Artifacts.
Another Significant advantage of Agile testing is the defect leakage is very minimal and in most of the cases it is negligible. Since Agile process is transparent, Customer can have real time status of the testing and the product.
In Agile, Testing goes hand in hand with the development hence Agile testing is a process whereas in Waterfall model, Testing is a phase. Since the Team is cross functional, Quality is responsibility of not only the testers but the developers as well.
Continuous focus is on technical excellence in Test design so that it enhances agility. The benefit of Agile Testing is Bug Fix is prompt since Testing is carried out in each sprint ensuring every sprint is defect free.
QA challenges with agile software development
Everyone is speaking about benefits of Agile testing that doesn’t mean that there are no disadvantages of Agile testing. With every pro comes the consequence. The biggest challenge that the QA encounters in Agile Testing is Testing team must be on toes in turning around things quickly to match with the sprint’s pace. In agile, since last moment changes are entertained, Testing team faces tough time in accommodating last minute requirements.
Less documentation might be an advantage in Agile testing, At the same time, it can be a challenge too. Since less priority is given to documentation, Chances of error are more in agile. As a result, pressure is mounted on Testers. As Agile believes in cross functional team, a tester is expected to play a semi developer role quite often. Timelines in agile are very crisp leaving very less time for testers to concentrate on Test plan and test design.
If a project is not test-driven, For a 5:2 developer-tester ratio, it is most likely that sprint velocity or story points are calculated based on developers’ effort and this may lead testers to run out of capacity. For instance, in a Scrum team of 7 people, of which, 5 are developers and 2 are testers. Since it is not a test-driven approach, Testing efforts are not considered. Sprint velocity is measured or story points in a sprint are calculated based on developer’s capacity. The team may end up picking up more user stories which goes beyond tester’s capacity and testers are expected to put in extra efforts to knock down the extra User stories.
Another challenge for a tester is they have less time for Regression Testing. But if we compare challenges over benefits, we would discover that Agile testing has more benefits over challenges and hence Agile Testing is strongly recommended.