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Things you need to know about Agile Methodology in 2021

March 15, 2021
Agile Methodology

A lot has changed in Agile and agile methodology, and things keep evolving pretty rapidly as the consumer’s expectations skyrocketing like crazy. Simultaneously, the developers and testers are under pressure to adapt to these always changing situations, so we have Agile methodologies for everyone’s rescue. Regardless of what is changing here, the base or the foundation of Agile methodologies will always be the same.

We can emphasize how important the Agile methodologies are, but the only problem is that not all organizations do it or religiously follow. Or even if they do, the entire organization somehow lacks proper adoption of these methodologies throughout the organization. So, it’s so safe to say that things are changing; we aren’t. Yet guys, Agile is super famous, and we wanted to dig deep to know why that is so. Things you can learn from this blog.

  • How does testing gel well with Agile methodologies?
  • Different ways to test with Agile alongside a team?
  • What’s next in Agile?

What is Agile Methodology?

The Agile methodology is a process that addresses continuous iteration in development and testing. It assists the continuous iteration throughout the software development life cycle. Unlike the Waterfall Model, in this Agile model, the development and testing go side by side.

What is Agile Software Development?

It is that ‘gold standard’ method for developers, testers, and literally all organizations. If you want to turn your business vision into an excellent software solution, this is the most simple yet effective way to do it. The term Agile represents the software development practices that employ continual planning, improvements, evolutionary development, fast delivery, learning, and team collaboration. It also helps the team accept the approaching or already arrived change with the most suitable response.

Agile Software Development techniques underscore the four core values, and here they are:

  1. Individual and team interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

Test on an Agile team?

These Agile principles are all about being agile, cooperative, adaptive, and flexible. These methodologies are built on the substantial facts that the world loves to change, and changes happen more often. Meaning that the need for fast delivery is reaching peaks, and software teams really have no time in their hands. And why that happens has two pretty interesting answers. They are; growing competition and customer expectations.
QA Touch
Here are some imperatives citing the tester’s role when it comes to testing on the Agile team. As it’s so difficult and almost impossible to test everything but prioritizing requirements based on watching the risk factors can help.

  1. Optimally use test automation for better test efficiency.
  2. Increase the use of exploratory testing to boost the code delivery and make the code that actually works.
  3. Adaptation to the new changes. (the key one, of course)

Does one size Agile fit all, fact or myth? Let’s find that out

Not all businesses and organizations are the same. Some differ by their size, stakeholders, internal and external factors, rules, regulations, end-users, etc. Likewise, there are so many Agile methodologies that suit and match different organizations for satisfying various needs.

Meaning we need to learn and practice accordingly. What will suit your needs depends more on the internal and external factors and, in particular, your goals. Today, let’s learn the famous methodology and its impact on testing here in the blog.

Famous Agile Methodology Types

1. Scrum

Yes, it is one of the prominent ones out there in the market today. It is highly an iterative approach (with much collaboration) that describes the key features and objectives before each sprint. Scrum begins with requirements or user stories that define how the team should test and how exactly they should perform. Next, the team would go through a series of sprints to give small rounds of quick value to help the team avoid shifting priorities and becoming more flexible. Scrum demands continuous collaboration among the testers, developers, and BAs on discussions like daily standups and sprint retrospectives.

This enhances the team communication and boots great alignment between them. Typically there will be a Scrum Master, and this could be anyone from the team, be a tester or developer. He/she would break the silos or the blockers to promote more collaboration and effective work.

Best suited for?

Due to its fast iterations, it is best suited for those whose customers are actively willing to get involved in the products at the showcase meetings.

And a few key team members when working on a Scrum approach are:

  • Product Owner
  • Scrum Master
  • Developers
  • Automation Engineers
  • Testers
  • Stakeholders

Any best practices?

Yes, indeed…

  • The prompting of acceptance criteria via a user-story that too through communication. This approach of direct communication will and should fix the so-called miscommunication.
  • Using those acceptance criteria, one can develop code and make sure that the whole team approves it.
  • Then testing should take place for that developed code in production-like and sandbox-like environments before deploying it to the production.

2. Kanban

Kanban is a simple, straightforward, and substantially very famous Agile-based methodology developed by Toyota. It is a prioritized to-do list. One can track the requirements seeing the apparent stage in the process, yet it is not time-oriented like Scrum. While proceeding to the text task, the developer would just pull out the to-do list. This approach needs the teams to work together and as close as possible.

That said, they all need to work at the same pace as the other. For instance, if the developer is going well ahead of the tester, then problems will arise. In such a case, some need to jump into the scene and help out one another.

Let’s figure out some significant differences between the Kanban and the Waterfall. They both work with the requirements is no. 1. However, they are very different. In Kanban, as the teams don’t plan to test every requirement, they keep on changing often. In comparison, the waterfall is time-oriented and needs a lot of planning. This sort of approach is best suitable for expensive things not right for every project.

Best suited for?

Kanban is ideal for small teams and for every team that is looking for maintenance work. In maintenance or general, bugs are not straightforward; they oftentimes require rigorous research to resolve them.

The team would involve role like

  • Product Owner
  • Project Manager
  • Developers
  • Automation Engineers
  • Testers

Best practices are:

  • To derive and define the expectations, the teams have to timely and closely interact with the customers.
  • Rely on the customer-facing team like the sales representative, account manager, customer service agents, and more to understand customer’s expectations.
  • To design acceptance criteria basing those customer expectations.

As discussed earlier, Kanban provides a simple shift to the teams, and this transition would be smooth but requires the teams to communicate very closely. It is one quickest way to push the developed code to production (would certainly have technical debt).

3. Exploratory Testing

Next comes the exploratory testing, where the testers randomly try to break the system to find the loopholes. Yeah, it’s both clever and chaotic at the same time. If the testers find any bugs, they immediately document them. (note that detailed documentation of how and what are not always provided in the exploratory testing) If you think like a regular user or consumer, this is how we test with some software even in our day-to-day lives as well. This means the tester is just mimicking the user’s behavior.

Exploratory testing can be carried in both Waterfall and Agile environments, and a solid integration between and testers is cardinal here. It doesn’t take much time for the team to launch the exploratory test and provides sublime benefits.

Who is it best suited for?

Teams with small or big sizes at times have time constraints, and exploratory testing is known to improve testing with maximum test coverage by reducing the time spent on it.

Who is in the spotlight while doing exploratory testing?

The answer is the tester, for the most part.

Best Practices in Exploratory Testing:

  • Having tools like the spreadsheet or a Mindmap to keep things organized is what we suppose is a good practice.
  • Documentation of the results is suggested to keeps accountability of testing.
  • Session-based testing.

Also read, our blog on Functional testing and types

4. Session-Based Testing

This particular testing frames on the exploratory testing to provide it a proper structure. As exploratory testing is so random and unscripted, accountability is just not possible. This means the team has to rely on the experience and skills of the tester performing the test. So, we have exploratory testing to mitigate these difficulties without hampering the process and the test’s benefits. For instance, it mimics the user experience, and that gives a creative touch to the testing. It can enhance the defect discovery process, provide good code coverage, and significantly reduce testing time.

Testers feel it a lot easier to launch session-based testing. It delivers a structure while conducting the testing during the time-boxed, testing against a charter, and also asking the tester to repot every session. And it should end with proof points interrogative session between the tester and the Manager. Like, what happened in the past, what we managed to achieve as results, are there any obstacles, what still needs the fixing, and what’s the tester’s take on it.

Who is best suited for it?

It is best suited for teams looking for more accountability in exploratory testing yet don’t want to compromise its benefits.

The key team members would be?

Testers and Managers

What are its best practices?

  • To design a mission to give the tester better clarity on what is going to be tested.
  • Stating a clear charter that shows the mission is, what areas of the software need to be tested, who will execute the test, when the session takes place, and the duration.
  • Documentation of the test execution and the outcome.
  • To discuss the outcomes with the manager and what should be done next.

Alignment Of Testing with An Agile Delivery Process

Once you conclude which methodology is best suited for you, note that you are just halfway down. You must manage to align the whole testing with the delivery properly. For which you need this three-propaganda approach.

1. Involvement in the development is key, do start it earlier

The sooner, the better. We are talking about your involvement in the development process. The tester needs to pay attention and take a keen interest in the development from the word go. Conducting frequent testing is a good practice for which a good collaboration between the tester and development team is a must. All the way discussing the goals and requirements is also paramount.

2. Testing frequently yet mindfully

Adopting Agile and going more Aigle is all about efficiency. For which the teams need to accept things like the DevOps and Continuous Integration. But, to keep the thing moving at a good pace, you need to do more and more testing. In this race, the tester needs to be still mindful of the test and not go overboard performing unnecessary testing.

3. We need to talk type of attitude 🙂

All this is really possible, yes the efficiency the speed and the perfect delivery. However, it would be incomplete without communication. You need to take the seats, sit down and talk. From the start till the end needs to be discussed but not at the end but throughout the process.

So, what’s next?

There already came a significant change in Agile and Agile testing steps over the past few years, and that still isn’t enough. These methodologies would need testers to go beyond testing and touch more on the code delivery and integration. To become the warriors of quality, these would be more than a must.

  1. Communication
  2. Skills
  3. Business mindset

Software testing in Agile development is such an interesting topic, and this blog wouldn’t be enough to discuss what’s going to pop out next. However, it deserves some addressing for your reference. So, the world of Agile and testing needs more exploration and would uncover many interesting things in our Masterclass season 2 episode 1. If you want to learn more about Agile and what’s new or old or good or bad, do join us live, and we’ll together learn more on that. If you like the type of content we publish, do subscribe to our blog and keep enjoying the learning every single week and also give a thumbs up on our social media.

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