In this article we're going to discuss about the impact of agile methodology on testing. In today’s world of technology, software development has evolved to an extent. Everyone is seeking fast track development. Every customer needs the ultra-speed implementation of their software. The same is applicable to both product development and services. The meaning of word agile itself says, “able to move quickly and easily”.
If you are developing a product for which you have hired a team. And your product development is blocked due to defects, then what you would want from your team is, to fix the defects faster and progress in development. If your team is lacking the inability to make quick progress, then you might lose in this competition. If you are not able to adapt to new technologies, processes then anyone can grab the opportunity. Saving clients time, resources, and delivering quality product in less time is the key. In this topic, it will be explained how it is necessary for shifting from traditional testing to Agile. How agile testing makes a difference and help in faster and quality development.
Impact Of Agile Methodology On Testing and how is it different from traditional testing
Agile testing is an integral part of the agile methodology. Agile runs continuously and simultaneously with development and is a collaborative effort between testers, developers, product owners and even customers. Unlike traditional testing, Agile testing is not an individual stage, where the testers run the test life cycle. In this evolution process, the testers are not part of the QA team, but they are part of the scrum team.
They not only test the product but closely work with Product Owners, BA, Automation Engineers, Developers throughout the development cycle. Agile testing is not only about testing the product but should be capable to do more than what traditional testers do, they should be dynamic and highly interactive. They should have highly adaptable and flexible during the process to quickly accept the changes and adjust accordingly. Agile testing is not only a process or guideline, but it is practice or mindset which need to adhere with dedication and ambitious mentality.
Few qualities of Agile Testers
The testing specialists in agile development should work closely with several parties and should shout whenever there is a need. They are the one who can help to understand the user stories, help Product Owners to create effective Stories. They should share ideas and feedbacks in an effective way. The tester should be attentive in scrum meetings. For achieving the quality of the product, the tester should share useful ideas to improve the product. And give feedback effectively to the scrum team or scrum master for agile process improvement.
Knowledge of Automation Tools
Impact of agile methodology on testing is highly dependent on the use of Automation throughout the cycle. A Testing specialist in scrum team should be capable to automate the regression. This will avoid in repetitive execution in each sprint. There are various tools for Integration testing using API test tool, Functional automation which included Selenium Webdriver, Appium for mobile. Cucumber or JBehave for BDD testing.
Adaptability to changes
Changes in the requirement, environment and technologies are obvious in the Agile process. The team should be dynamic to accept and adapt to the change quickly.
Collaborative with Scrum team
Collaborative testing is mandatory in agile method. Each tester should work closely with the Product Owner and BA while creating the stories. The stories should be automation-friendly, hence its testers responsibility to make sure the acceptance criteria are in gherkin format, they are testable and can be automated. Testers should participate in kickoff and help the developer understand the scenarios so that they can create proper Unit test cases. The developer and tester should work together to find the issue, debug the issue and fix as well. This in turn, amplifies the impact of agile methodology on testing.
Testers are the key resources in agile development, unlike the traditional way of testing, each test specialist should come out of defect raising mindset. In agile, rather than a number of defects raised, what matters is the number of defects fixed. They should help the team by finding more defect and make sure it gets fixed on time. They should have a mindset to help the development team to get the defect fixed in a quicker and easier way, either by debugging/finding the root cause (or) reproducing the defect in front of the developer, whenever they identify it.
Proper Understanding of User Stories
User Story is the source of truth for the entire project. Everything should be available in User stories and acceptance criteria. Hence it is very important for a tester to understand the stories, identify the gaps if there are in well advance and make it corrected. Modify the acceptance criteria, in order to make it automation ready. And generate test data well in advance.
Agile Test Methods
Behavior Driven Development (BDD)
There is so much noise about BDD and TDD in recent times. Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is an extension of Test-Driven Development (TDD). In this process, the team create a requirement in the form of Acceptance criteria. It describes the application behaviour in the end user’s perspective. While creating acceptance criteria of the story the scrum team (testers, Business analysts, Product Owners) work collaboratively to create the ACs in a simple understandable language called Gherkin. The gherkin statement enables end-user to understand the application easily, it also enables developer and testers to test and automate the tests using various tools.
Cucumber / JBehave are some tools which can be integrated into JIRA for creating acceptance criteria. Each story should be testable and automation-ready if feasible. The gherkin statement along with examples enables the team to create the test data before the testing starts. It also gives an understanding of the application to everyone in the project.
Acceptance Criteria Sample in gherkin language: -
Feature: search Wikipedia
Scenario: Scenario description
GIVEN is your setup;
WHEN is your action;
THEN is your assertion;
Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD)
It is one of the levels of Test-driven Development, in which the scrum team involved in creating a story, interact with each other which enables them to have detailed knowledge of the application and subsequently decides the acceptance criteria from the user's perspective based on which acceptance tests are created. Then it drives the team to start the development process as per the Agile method.
This technique of testing the product without any prior preparation following any specific document. This test is formal testing where a skilled testing specialist, performs a functional test to identify critical defects. In this method, each tester makes sure, whether the application works as expected or not. During the process, the tester explores the application and further identify more scenarios for future execution as well. This testing usually happens in collaboration with the developer just after unit testing is performed.
Automated Regression Testing
The testing is iterative and there are more chances that tester may need to re-test previous sprint stories in upcoming sprints. Hence it is a must to automate the regression scenarios of each sprint. So that during the closure of every sprint, the automation suite can be executed and share the feedback.
Agile Testing Process
Few Tools Used In Agile Testing
JIRA – User stories are written in Atlassian Jira,
Zephyr – This is a plugin to JIRA, where the tester can create the test cases. In general Test cases documenting are avoided in many organizations.
Jmeter, Appium, Selenium, JBehave, Cucumber – These are the automation tools, which helps in functional / non-functional test automation.
Challenges Faced During Agile Testing
- Less documentation.
- Frequent Changes in requirement / code.
- Selecting right Tools
- Limited Coverage
- Communication with co-located team members.