Agile is a time-bound iterative approach to software development. The project/product is built incrementally and delivered in short releases, while the requirements are split as user stories and given in 1 to 4 weeks.
As the complexity of the software development process grows, software testing methodologies need some change to keep up with the development approaches. Agile software testing is a modern criterion that focuses on testing more efficiently rather than exerting a lot of effort while still producing high-quality products.
In the Agile Testing Approach, there has to be more collaboration between testers and developers. During the software development cycle, the testers must give the development team corrective feedback. The integration testing and agile software development methodology is now standard practice.
What is Agile Testing?
Agile testing is a practice that occurs at the start of the project and is done incrementally. It is not sequential like traditional testing, but a continuous process.
Agile Testing is a new approach to software testing practice that has emerged as a result of the Agile software development movement. Agile testing is a software testing practice that follows the agile software development life cycle and provides continuous testing throughout the development process. It involves a test team that works closely with the developers in order to ensure customer satisfaction and deliver high-quality software.
Testers place between product owners and developers in agile development, where testing is a continuous process rather than a distinct activity that follows the coding phase. It creates a feedback loop that supports developers in writing better code.
Aspects of agile testing to mention:
- Having a conversation with product owners: In order to help developers adhere to the product roadmap and meet the customer needs, testers work with product owners to clearly define project expectations.
- Communication with developers: The process of development is connected to software testing. As development team members, testers report product defects that could affect end users and give solutions to make the outcome better.
- The entire QA team is involved in quality assurance: The team is passionate about quality, and engineers build unit test cases to improve testing and audit quality. Developers follow the tester’s suggestions for enhancing the code and test requirements.
Why Waterfall to Agile Testing?
In the traditional Waterfall model, testing is a sizable effort and left towards the end of development. Whereas in Agile, testing is small but more frequent and happens throughout the development process.
Testing throughout the development also means that the software is in releasable condition throughout the development, so it can be deployed whenever it is applicable.
In the Waterfall model, we’re tutored to expect phases like the design, development, and testing phase. Agile development doesn’t have a separate test phase as similar. Developers are much more fully engaged in software testing, writing automated unit tests to validate their code in the application.
The Journey from Traditional to Agile Testing
The objective of the journey from traditional to agile testing is to deliver high-quality software consistently. We need to have the right mindset and adopt the workflow while transitioning from traditional to agile testing.
In traditional waterfall projects, the project milestones discussion, and change request discussions occur daily or weekly.
In Agile, the most important thing is daily standup meetings. It is very beneficial and time-sensitive and within a short period, we will know how our team is working and how the project/product is progressing.
In general, a Standup meeting takes place for 15 to 30 minutes every morning. It might vary depending on the team’s size. The team members will answer these three questions:
- What did you do on the previous day?
- What are you going to do today?
- Are there any obstacles to your deliverables?
In the meeting, everyone on the project team will be present with the business stakeholders.
The meeting aims to get a clear understanding of the complete team’s progress as well as to remove any impediments. To resolve any impediments, the scrum master must take responsibility. If it is outside his scope, he will facilitate the removal of the impediments with other team members who will take responsibility.
Agile Testing Methodology
As we have seen earlier, agile is an iterative process, and the entire project team participates in all the activities.
- Understand business requirements.
- Identify any gaps and provide feedback.
- Collaborate with the design & development team
- Define test strategy.
- Prepare test cases and get them reviewed with stakeholders of the project.
- Do test execution of new requirements for the release.
- Do regression testing to ensure the application does not break in any other place or workflow.
- Automate regression testing scenarios to save testing time.
- Sign off the release.
The below mind map shows the overview of the Agile Testing workflow:
Now, we are going to see Agile testing with an example:
In an Online Store, a new payment method Paypal is introduced along with the existing payment methods like Credit/Debit cards. The scenario preparation takes place to test this for release. First, the new feature Paypal option is checked with written scenarios. After finishing the testing of the new feature, we need to test the debit card and credit card payment methods as part of regression testing the release.
The below mind map shows the snapshot of testing of the new feature introduced as well as the existing features:
Agile Testing Methods
Behavior Driven Development (BDD)
Behavior Driven Development (BDD) enhances the interaction between project stakeholders so that each member fully comprehends each feature before starting the development process. The continuous exchange of example-based information occurs between business analysts, testers, and developers.
The examples are known as Scenarios and written in a unique style known as Gherkin Given/When/Then syntax. The scenarios describe how a specific feature could act in various circumstances with various input parameters. Because they include both a specification and inputs for automated tests, these are known as Executable Specifications.
Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD)
Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) involves the client, the developer, and the tester. To get input from these three roles and use it to develop acceptance tests, “Three Amigos” meetings are organized. The customer concentrates on the issue, the developer considers how to fix it, and the tester considers the possible issue.
The acceptance tests define how the system will operate from the end user’s viewpoint. Additionally, they guarantee that the system performs as planned. Many times, acceptance tests can be automated. Similar to the BDD approach, acceptance tests are written first, initially fail, and then software functionality is built around the necessary tests until they pass.
The exploratory testing is connected to the test execution and test design phases. Instead of separately planning, creating, and executing tests, this kind of testing concentrates on engaging with active software.
Exploratory testing enables testers to play with the software in chaotic ways. Exploratory testing does not follow a script; instead, the testers mimic possible user actions and get inventive in search of actions or edge situations that will cause the product to break. Although testers don’t record the precise steps they took to test the program, when they identify a bug, they document it as usual.
The session-based testing approach aims to ensure that the software is thoroughly tested and is comparable to exploratory testing but is more organized. It also includes test reports, which enable testers to document their results during a test, and test charters, which help testers determine what to test. Time-boxed sessions are used for testing.
The session-based testing concludes with a face-to-face briefing covering the five PROOF points between the tester(s) and either the developers in charge, the scrum master or the project managers:
- Methods used during the test (Past)
- What the tester learned or achieved (Results)
- Any issues that delayed the process (Obstacles)
- Areas yet to be tested (Outlook)
- From the viewpoint of a tester the parts of the product, they evaluated (Feelings).
Best Practices for Agile Testing
Agile testing best practices include the following:
- Automate as much as you can. As a result, agile testing proceeds more quickly and the engineers can identify more flaws.
- Utilize an automated technique to detect issues. This enables quick and effective bug sourcing and management for development teams.
- Make use of continuous integration and delivery. This will help to ensure that modifications are made regularly and that they are always tested before being implemented.
- Communicate early and frequently. In order to be successful, agile teams must always communicate. Both with the client and the rest of the testing team, testers must be able to communicate clearly.
- Agile testing is an essential step in the software development. By adhering to a few of these best practices, you can ensure that your QA team can test your software successfully and produce reliable results.
The Principles of Agile Testing
The foundational principles of agile testing are as follows:
- Working software is an essential metric of success in this Agile testing framework.
- Self-organizing teams can generate the finest results.
- Throughout the project, software developers must act to gather data on a daily basis.
- Increasing agility through thoughtful design and ongoing technological progress.
- Agile testing provides ongoing feedback to ensure the final product satisfies the business requirements.
- The testing process should be carried out during implementation in the Agile Test method, which shortens the development time.
- Agile testing should proceed at a consistent rate of development.
- Provide regular reflections on how you can become more effective.
- The best requirements, designs, and architectures come from self-organizing teams.
- The team reviews and modifies its behavior at each meeting to improve efficiency.
- Communication is the most effective and efficient way to share information within the development team.
Importance of Agile Testing
Agile testing helps to ensure that the software meets the customer’s requirements. Agile teams collaboratively work together with the team and get the customer’s feedback for each iteration of the project. So, the quality of the project will be enhanced. One of the notable flexibility is, based on customer feedback that the software is improving in the upcoming sprints.
Empower and Find Magic To Uncover Serious Bugs
You may wonder how pairing with the development team helps to identify serious bugs. The tester will know how the customer will go through the workflow and the developer knows how the code flow works internally. It will be beneficial for the tester to know and will get an understanding of how the code work behind the scenes and the developer will be able to understand the customer’s point of view and how the customer will go through the application.
So, when both of these people come together, new scenarios/ideas will come and it will help to identify the serious bugs. Once identified the bugs, those will get fixed by the developers, and testing together will make the product/project solid.
Minimal Documentation More Collaboration
Documentation in agile should be live and the maintenance of that will be the responsibility of the whole team and should be written by a single person.
In an agile project, there will be minimal documentation since the agile process emphasizes individual team member’s interaction with them instead of testing tools and processes.
As Ashish Sharma mentioned in the Agile manifesto, the goal of Agile should be to find the right balance between documentation and discussion. Documentation is an essential part of every system, Agile or otherwise, but comprehensive documentation does not ensure project success. It increases your chance of failure. Also, he has mentioned that we need to keep the below three types of documentation types:
Essential: Document with just barely good enough detail.
Valuable: Document only when we need it, not when we want it.
Timely: Documentation should be done in a just-in-time (JIT) manner when we need it.
Agile Testing Challenges
In Agile, the delivery cycle is short, and the tester needs to deliver quality software in a short period. Here are a few real challenges that might come across:
- Resistance to change.
- Changing requirements at the last hour.
- Poor Communication between teams.
- Short timeline for testing.
- Technical Skills/ Test Automation.
- Lack of management support.
- Lack of team ownership.
- Insufficient training on Agile methodology.
- Slow feedback loops.
- Frequent Regression Cycles.
Agile Testing Tips
Below are a few tips to handle Agile Testing efficiently from Janet Gregory and Lisa Crispin.
- Self Organize.
- Deliver value to the customer.
- Have face-to-face interaction.
- Respond to Change.
- Provide continuous feedback.
- Keep it simple.
- Update technical knowledge.
Agile testers are responsible for creating a test plan that is both comprehensive and flexible enough to accommodate the changing requirements of agile projects. Test-driven development is also used in Agile Testing to ensure that the code is tested at every production stage of the software development life cycle.
Agile Testing requires a testing team of test engineers who are capable of understanding the customer requirements and applying the right testing process. The test team also needs to be knowledgeable in Agile testing and software testing practices to ensure that the customer is provided with the best possible software product.
I hope this blog helps you to know more about Agile testing, the challenges faced, and tips to overcome those while testing.