Agile Testing Methods and Best Practices


Agile Testing Methods and Best Practices

You must have heard of the time agile testing, given the rush by companies to incorporate agile methodologies in their operations. If not, this article gives you a chance to learn more about it and also a few tips that will help you revolutionize your business.

We will exhaust agile testing by furnishing your with the approaches and some of the best practices to ensure its success. You will also notice that agile testing is quite different from the waterfall method, commonly used in product development industries.

Let us dive right into our subject of discussion!

What Is Agile Testing?

Agile testing is the process or practice that adheres to all the rules and principles laid down by agile software development. It can begin from as early as the start of the project, which presents its main difference with the waterfall method.

Owing to its prowess, it has, over time, managed to be an essential part of the lifecycles of different application developments and significantly impacted software, quality assurance, and testing. Different people and companies have widely accepted agile testing as a driving factor in delivering high-quality products.

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Instead of operating sequentially or being executed after a given phase (usually after the coding phase), this methodology is continuous. While still on this, we should briefly look at the agile test plan, which is made up of all the testing executed in an iteration. These can be test data requirements, test results, and infrastructure.

The test plan in an agile model is also different from that in waterfall since it is written and updated after every release. Therefore, test plans in agile are made up of testing scope, resourcing, mitigation or risk plan, load and performance training, new functionalities under test, and testing types based on the complexity of features.

Agile testing operates under the belief that one can only achieve effective development through continuous testing, which forms a part of it. Here, the testing is directly integrated into the development process, which facilitates the early detection of bugs. It, therefore, empowers testers to locate problems at every point of the development process, which propagates the product faster towards its release.

There are different approaches to agile testing that we will look at. Remember, we promised to exhaust this topic and will be doing this in steps. However, before we delve into these approaches, let us highlight some of the key attributes of agile testing.

1.    Communication

Agile methodology believes in communication and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard. It also expects that everyone should be at par regarding project activities and progress. In agile testing, the testers regularly interact with the project owners to understand their expectations. This comes in handy as it helps the developers align with the product roadmap and, in return, satisfy the different customer needs.



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2.      Increased Interaction

Agile testing believes in close interaction with developers. Testers are generally regarded as part of the development team. They are required to report on some of the quality issues they may have encountered or discovered and take part in offering suggestions on how these can be improved. Since testing is linked to the development process, agile testing ensures a close interaction with developers.

3.      Inclusion of the entire team in quality assurance

Unlike previous methodologies, agile ensures that quality assurance is left to the whole project team and not a few select individuals. This is usually achieved through quality engineering, where everybody at each stage of production is expected to ensure that the product meets or exceeds the expected quality at that stage.

Agile requires that the whole team gets passionate about quality, and the testers must come up with unit test cases that ensure better testing processes. The testers must also enhance the quality of audits and follow the set recommendations for code improvements and test requirements.

Approaches to Agile Testing

To help you understand this part of the article, we need to define what an approach is. This can be explained as a way of dealing with a situation or an issue. How then do organizations deal with agile testing?

1.    Continuous Testing

Agile testing is not a one-time or last-minute thing. It thrives on continuous testing right from the onset of the project. Agile teams are generally expected to perform regular tests aimed at ensuring that the product achieved continuous progress.

In short, testing is usually done in conjunction with development, which explains why testers use DevOps. This integration merges development, testing, and operation roles, ensuring that development, testing, and code integration happens simultaneously and in real-time.

This approach to agile testing makes it different from other conventional models, where testing is usually done at the end of production by a select quality assurance team and a group of testers. Continuous testing ensures that problems are identified early and dealt with during the project lifecycle, thus saving the project team lots of time and resources, which they would have used had they decided to do a last-minute test on the finished product.

2.       Team Involvement

We must have covered this when mentioning the key attributes of agile testing. This methodology is facilitated by team involvement. It assumes that everyone involved in the lifecycle of production forms part of the team.

Therefore, for its success, all the team members are expected to contribute. Remember, the product must meet or exceed the set standards at every production stage, which depends entirely on the team members at these stages.

Testers must further develop unit test cases to determine if the product is of suitable standards before it moves to the next stage of production. This approach also ensures that everyone’s voice is considered, which helps in the faster identification of problems and arrival at solutions.

3.      Less Documentation

This is perhaps the best approach when it comes to software testing. It does not call for lots of documentation, which takes up more time and resources, but rather, the team is expected to use a reusable checklist, which must also be updated regularly.

Remember, this methodology’s primary focus is to ensure that the current customer needs are met and does not, therefore, pride itself in detailed documented requirements and instructions. This approach ensures that time is not wasted in documentation but channeled in finding solutions and inventions that meet customer needs.

4.      Production Is Geared Towards Customer Satisfaction

Everything that is done in agile is to make the customer happy and keep him/ her satisfied. This explains why the product must meet or exceed the required standards in every stage of production. For agile testing to be successful, customers are also exposed to the product during development.

They are also allowed to adapt and update requirements as the development process progresses, after which the tests are generally modified to updated requirements. Therefore, every stage of production is directed towards satisfying the end-user, who has a say on whether the business will realize a profit or loss.

5.        Emphasis on Feedback

For successful agile testing, emphasis is put on feedback. The testers are expected to offer continuous feedback to the team members, which not only ensures that they are at par but also brief them on quality. This is quite different from other models, where team members are mainly informed on requirements instead of quality and related information.

The business team also participates in each iteration, which ensures ongoing feedback during the product’s development cycle. This continuous feedback further cuts down the total time needed to obtain input on the development work.

This model ensures that everyone is experiencing the product development and getting hands-on feedback instead of relying on someone to update them.

6.      Face-to-face Communication

Agile testing cannot be successful in the absence of in-person communication. This model requires increased and frequent interaction between team members, and therefore, emails alone cannot suffice. The agile testers can only deal with errors and confusion effectively if they communicate directly with the developers.

Customers must also be given a chance to communicate directly with developers, which calls for face-to-face meetings. This way, it is possible to get their detailed view by also focusing on their non-verbal cues. Agile testing is huge on communication, which an organization can best achieve via face-to-face interactions.

7.      Simplicity

Agile testers believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, and therefore, they ensure that their actions are not comprehensive and difficult to understand. We need to expound more on this to help you understand the point we are putting across.

Agile testers only perform tests that are deemed necessary. However, they ensure that ALL the required tests are performed. This helps them deliver the simplest product possible without compromising on value. The product also offers the highest possible value to consumers despite being simple.

8.      Self-Organization

Agile testers do not wait to be assigned roles at given stages of production but take it upon themselves to perform their functions at every point in the development process. These individuals, therefore, take the initiative to look for problems and bring together other team members to drive solutions.

This approach ensures that less time is wasted in focusing on non-issues and waiting for others to complete their part. Self-organization saves time by ensuring that the development team channels more of this time towards finding solutions for the identified problems and tailoring the product to meet the consumer needs.

This also goes line in line with courage, given that developers are generally defensive about their work. Agile testers must, therefore, be courageous enough to stand up for the changes and fixes that should be made on a product based on the results obtained.

Agile Testing Best Practices

1.    The Testers Should Focus on Only One Functionality at a Time

Once you try agile testing, you will discover that it is rarely about executing the given process in groups. Your focus should be on one feature at a time, which should be tested to ensure that it meets or exceeds the required quality standards.

It is advisable to ask your team to develop a test case that matches the chosen feature or functionality testing. The test case should also be checked and reviewed to ensure that it is correct as it is the central aspect of the execution regarding software features and functionalities.

2.      There Should Be a Goal-Oriented Work Approach

The agile testers must have a goal and even decide the focus area before the testing process begins. The tester must have a perfect understanding of the code calling requirements and test suite framing, which play essential roles in agile testing.

Therefore, expectations should be derived from the expected end results of the agile testing process before it comes into action. This is because the functionality traits increase with the increase in iterations. It is advisable to have a planned approach which comes in handy when figuring out the functionality of a given application.

3.      Maintenance of Code Austerity

Testers must ensure that the code present in the application can execute the Agile test case by having the correct number of attributes. This helps to not only suppress the defect count but also ensures that the tester will simplify both the review and testing process.

The code should also remain understandable to give room for long-term enhancements and upgrades, a key recipe for ensuring healthy updates. This is also necessary since agile testing is a continuous process and not a one-time event.

Testers should also use the version control tools to avoid code merge issues and therefore maintain code sanctity. Code merge issues mostly come up when more than one agile tester work on the same code. Testers can avoid this by using the right tools, which the testers must choose.

Other best practices are conducting repetitive tests to improve proficiency and maintain in-person communication with developers to pass on more information and enhance collaboration.

Conclusion

Agile testing is essential for any organization aiming to change its product developments. We have covered some of the approaches and best practices, which should give you an upper hand as you continue embracing Agile.

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