What Is Agile Process in Testing: A Short Guide

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In today’s fast-paced software world, quick delivery of the product is often not an option but a necessity. Building software also requires a high level of flexibility in responding to the constantly changing market trends and customers’ demands. The problem is that with traditional project management, a quick change of plans inevitably leads to higher costs or longer project duration. Luckily there are agile methods that allow us to avoid such pitfalls. This refers not only to software development but also to testing processes.

What is Agile testing?

Agile in software development is an approach that focuses on the people performing their work and their cooperation aimed at delivering the right product to the customer. It is an iterative development process that creates requirements through constant collaboration between the client and cross-functional self-organizing teams. Agile testing is a practice that follows the rules of agile development and helps create solutions tailored to customer needs.

What do we understand by agile testing process?

The approach to software testing in an agile environment is not very different from the  traditional practices. Still, there are few clear distinctions in the process. First, testing in Agile is not a separate activity but an essential part of the development process which is considered to be a preventative measure. This means that the tests have to be performed much more frequently and in sprints. At the end of each sprint, which usually lasts from one to two weeks, the fully-tested software should be available, which is then delivered to the customer. All issues discovered during the tests are recorded and evaluated in retrospect, which further increases the quality and the test coverage achieved.

It is essential for all relevant tests, such as unit, functional or performance tests, to be planned in advance and implemented at all levels. This helps to detect and fix the problems in a timely manner. It should be mentioned that automating test procedures allows running the tests much more often – like several times a day – and minimizing the feedback cycle.

It is important to use automated regression tests in an agile environment. This type of testing ensures that the new functionality of the product (which is being continuously built) does not introduce new bugs and that the previous functionality works as intended.

One of the most important activities in an agile environment is conducting the exploratory tests. If there are no detailed specifications regarding the software functionality, the testers may have to decide what must be tested. The exploratory testing is all about testers’ skills, experience, and creativity – this allows checking system on the fly, thus find both superficial and profound flaws which can not be predicted.

One more salient characteristic of agile testing is the role of each member of the team which is fundamentally different from the role in the classic approaches to the software development process. In the agile world, all team members, in particular testers, are jointly responsible for the product. On one hand, this means the roles of the team’s members blur, on another – that an experienced tester provides invaluable support for the software creation process.

What are the main advantages of agile testing?

According to VersionOne’s State of Agile Report, 75% of the surveyed companies adopted agile practices in order to accelerate product delivery, 46% of the respondents chose Agile to enhance the quality of the software. There are many advantages of agile testing methodology, let’s look at some of them:

  • Better quality of the product 

Agile approaches allow delivering better products compared to the traditional approaches due to increased collaboration within the team plus earlier and more intensive testing during the life cycle. Agile methodology helps to take both preventive and corrective measures on time thus enhancing the quality of the software significantly.

  • Higher flexibility

Agile methodology sees requirements as a prioritized stack that can change during the life cycle. The agile approach is a highly flexible one that allows you to get feedback about user needs and incorporate changes if needed.

  • Fast user’s feedback 

An Agile approach in development and testing allows you to get feedback directly from the end-users, thus enhancing the quality and features of the product at the right time.

  • Enhanced collaboration

Agile developers and testers work closely together and communicate directly instead of relying on the documentation. This improves the collaboration within the team and allows achieving faster test results.

  • Shorter work cycle

The effective use of a test-driven development approach and coherent communication in the team allows to shorten the time needed between the detailed specification and validation of the requirements drastically.

  • Faster time-to-market

Because iterative models reduce the time between defining test requirements and approving results, you can deliver the right product to the market quicker.

  • Higher investment returns 

Agile teams, in particular agile testing team, provide a higher ROI compared to traditional teams. It can be a result of the shorter feedback cycle in agile approaches which reduces the average cost of defect resolution. Also, you can get a greater profit because of bringing the product to the market faster.

Agile QA evangelists work here!

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