Testing is essential to produce quality software. Agile approaches aim to integrate quality assurance into product development from the ground level up by having techies heavily involved with testing right from the initial stages. The idea behind this process is that if problems can be identified and corrected earlier in the design process, then the companies will be able to create defect-free products at quicker rates. Most of the agile teams are flying blind without having any proper strategies or measurements to follow. But as one of the best software testing service providers, we have been able to put the agile approach to good effect. So in this Agile Testing Best Practices blog, we will be sharing some important aspects that will help improve your performance in agile testing.
In addition to that, we will also be focusing on the inherent challenges and the many advantages that the agile method brings to the table.
How Agile testing is different from traditional testing:
Agile testing is a core part of the agile software development process. It is also very different from the conventional testing methods. Traditional testing is done in a phased manner so that the end-product doesn’t get released until all the defects have been fixed. But on the contrary, agile testing follows an iterative approach. So defects are fixed in each sprint and released right away. Testers define the success or failure of the team’s attempts to be agile as they are a part of the delivery team, making them an integral part of any agile team. So the adaptability of testers in SDLC is very important in the agile approach.
Five things make agile testing different from traditional testing, and they are
- Continuous Involvement
- Essential Tools
- Multidimensional Skills
- Effective Communication
- Quick Feedback from Testing
Agile Testing life cycle:
1. User Story Analysis,
It is important to understand the release plan and plan the user stories across the sprints in a release.
2. Test plan / Estimate,
It gives the ability to have all the high-level scenarios, requirements, and estimates in one plan. It is created for each release, and it should also be updated for every release.
3. Sprint Planning,
The purpose of sprint planning is to define what should be delivered in a sprint and how that can that be made possible. The team assembles together to achieve the required velocity of the sprint.
4. Environment Setup,
Agile is a process that requires consistent teamwork and the work environment plays a huge factor in encouraging the team to work towards a common goal. So nurturing such an environment is one of the vital agile testing best practices that can make a difference. This can be accomplished by valuing each individual & their ideas and by healthy collaboration as the process demands frequent changes.
5. Implementation and Execution,
The creation of test cases across the assigned user stories and peer review is performed in this stage. For better quality deliverables, developers can take a look at these test cases and ensure that the overall scenarios have been enlisted. The distribution of various tests based on risk analysis is vital. So test cases must comprise of all test types like Functional, UI, Usability, cross-browser, etc. So once the test cases have been created, we have to ensure if the stories are ready for testing and execute the created test cases.
6. Defect Reporting,
The ultimate point of any form of software testing is to identify the bugs and report them so that they can be fixed. So it is important to devise an efficient method to report all the encountered bugs in an effective bug management tool. Healthy real-time collaboration with the developers can be achieved only when the defect log contains information like summary, description, priority, date of identification, steps to reproduce, name of the tester, unique identifier, etc. Such an in-depth report will enable us to conduct a triage meeting to plan and fix the bugs that have been logged.
7. Release Activity,
Once we are past all the above stages, the build can be deployed for UAT where testing can be performed with a few users. If the build clears the smoke tests that will be performed by the alpha testers, then the release can be given to the beta testers who will test the build before signing it off from their end and ship it to production.
8. Getting ready for the next release,
After the release, the team should prepare for their next release. Any and all business clarifications or issues should be raised and cleared during this phase.
The Quadrants for Agile Testing Best Practices
Agile testing can be simplified by using a system of quadrants that provides necessary classifications that determine which type of test should be run, how often it should be run when it should be run, and who it should be run by. Since there are so many types of testing like acceptance testing, regression testing, unit testing, and so on. Quadrants help reduce the difficulty in deciding which test has to be used where. It will also answer the question of whether manual or automated testing is better suited for the current iteration of the product.
So, now let’s find out how quadrants work their magic. Quadrants divide the whole testing methodology into four grids. These 4 grids help the whole team to communicate and deliver the quality product on time.
Quadrant Q1 – The tests in the first quadrant are unit level, technology facing, and also supportive to the developers. Unit tests and other component level tests that test the code belong to this quadrant. In general, the tests in this quadrant are automated.
Quadrant Q2 – The second quadrant consists of tests that are system level, business-facing, and help conform product behavior. Functional tests belong to this quadrant. These tests can either be manual or automated.
Quadrant Q3 – The tests in this quadrant are system or user acceptance level, business-facing, and focused on real-time scenarios. User Acceptance Tests belong to this quadrant. These tests are manual.
Quadrant Q4 – The tests in the final quadrant are system or operational acceptance level, technology facing, and focus on performance, load, stress, maintainability, and scalability. Special tools can be used for these tests, along with automation testing.
Agile Testing Best Practices to Overcome Challenges:
Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges that agile teams will face during testing and see how we will be able to overcome them as well.
Changing requirements is an inherited challenge of the agile methodology. This means that even if a work is already completed or half done, it might have to go through some modifications or worst-case scenario, get scrapped as well. So this will most definitely will have an unexpected change in the scope of testing.
How to master?
Testers must be ready to react to the changes or modify the processes in agile methodology as the process is itself prone to changes. Whenever there is a change in the requirements, testers should share the information of what tests they have actioned and which part of the application they have not yet tested. This can help the team understand how to make the required changes.
Not Enough Information (one-line stories):
Sometimes product owners will just have an idea of what features are required. So business owners may not even be aware of the specific requirements. In such situations, testers will not have a good set of details about the user stories at their disposal. All they might have could be just single-line information which is insufficient to build comprehensive test cases. This causes a significant amount of hindrance to the testers.
How to master?
In this situation, the testers can collect all the minutes of each requirement before they start testing and they can even come up with high-level scenarios for the stories and confirm them with the author or product owner and then approach the test cases.
Lack of Communication:
Without effective communication between developers, testers, and the product owner no process can work. So effective communication is also one of the most important agile testing best practices. Lack of communication can result in different teams flying blind with no proper goal as to what should be accomplished.
How to master?
Daily standup meetings with the team are strongly encouraged. It is also important to make sure that the meetings are not too long. Daily standups help identify roadblocks and solve them on a day-to-day basis. It also helps to keep the developers and product owners on the same page as the rest of the team.
Frequent regression testing:
As features get pushed by developers continuously, testers would have to run regression tests very frequently as the chances of the new features breaking the previous code are much higher. The other major challenge is that testers would have to test the application’s functionality correctly for all the users. Testers would also have to check the application’s behavior on different devices.
How to master?
Automation skills can be a great help for this situation in agile projects. Automating the regression test can save you a lot of time, and Selenium is the most popular browser automation tool that might solve all your needs. Apart from that, testers can use tools like Docker or VisGrid to run their automated test scripts in parallel across various browsers and devices.
As software becomes more mature, the complexity increases along with it as well. Testers should be in a position to help developers with API testing, integration testing, and more. So having strong technical skills is one of the basic requisites of a tester who is working in agile.
How to master?
Being in the process of continuous learning always helps people excel in their respective fields. Likewise, testers can learn programming languages like Java, Python, C#, etc., and learn automated testing tools like Selenium, JMeter, and so on. It is also crucial for the team to comprise dedicated testers with professional experience. If you are looking for the best agile testing tools, then you could read our blog and explore your options.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and that it has been informative as well. These agile testing best practices have helped us deliver the best software testing services to our clients, and hope it will enhance your testing methods as well. Obviously, these tips alone will not equip you to face any challenge that comes your way. But these general tips will definitely help you overcome the regular challenges and also help you find the right solutions for every new challenge you would face.