What is an Agile Testing Methodology?
Agile development is a software development process that takes a test-first approach, incrementally building each feature until it provides enough value to be released into production. This methodology saves time and money by relying on regular end-user feedback to develop the correct solution.
The Agile Testing Lifecycle
Unlike Waterfall's traditional sequential testing process, Agile Testing is a software testing methodology that involves continuous testing throughout the development process. This methodology allows for early issue identification and resolution, enabling uninterrupted software development. The Agile development process is complemented by several other continuous activities, such as Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment.
Continuous Integration (CI);
Continuous Delivery (CD); and
In the last stage of a CI/CD pipeline, once an application passes all the required tests, it's then released into production. This means releasing every good build to users for all intents and purposes.
Agile Testing Quadrants
Agile is a development methodology that allows for iterative testing and coding. This approach involves different types of testing, such as unit, functional, load, and performance tests. The Agile Testing Quadrants diagram is a helpful model for planning and executing testing activities. It provides a framework for cross-functional teams to deliver high-quality software that meets customer needs.
Agile expert Lisa Crispin created four Agile testing quadrants to guide test strategies for managers and development teams. The quadrants serve as models to plan testing, with no strict rules on which tests belong in which quadrant or the order in which to do them.
The four quadrants are described in more detail below
Quadrant Q1 includes technology-facing tests that improve product design.
Quadrant Q2 includes business-facing tests that ensure software products are aligned with business needs.
Quadrant Q3 contains business-facing tests that evaluate or critique the product.
Quadrant Q4 includes technology-facing tests that evaluate or critique the product.
The Agile Testing Quadrants help teams plan and execute the testing process effectively. Effective communication within the workgroup is essential to ensure the strategy's success, and a test management solution that allows the team to work collaboratively in real-time can facilitate this communication. Incorporating the Agile Testing Quadrants into our software development process will enable us to produce high-quality products that meet business and customer needs.
Agile Methodology in Testing
Traditional waterfall testing and development considers business, user, and functional requirements in a software requirements specification (SRS) document. Agile development, on the other hand, uses user stories, which are short descriptions of a feature from the user's perspective. Continuous delivery (CD) is the destination for organizations embracing agile development, with Scrum and Kanban being the primary agile process frameworks. Scrum takes an incremental approach to software development and project management, while Kanban prioritizes continuous delivery and workflow optimization.
Scrum is a popular project management methodology for software development teams. It employs fixed-length sprints and MVPs to get early feedback from customers. Scrum teams use story points instead of time-based estimates and planning poker to estimate the difficulty of different user stories. Kanban is an agile process management framework that uses a continuous queue of work to aid decision-making about what software to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce. Kanban teams write their user stories on index cards or sticky notes and visualize workflow on a Kanban Board, moving work from left to right as it progresses through different stages.
Agile Testing Methods
TDD is an agile programming technique that requires writing an automated test for code before writing any unit of code. BDD is an extension of TDD that encourages collaboration among developers, QA, and non-technical participants. It's best to use Specification by Example, a collaborative approach to define requirements and business-oriented functional tests for software products. User stories help shift the focus from writing about software requirements to discussing them. A "Three Amigos" meeting is another best practice to facilitate conversations about functionality.
Acceptance Test Driven Development
ATDD is a collaborative approach that emphasizes defining automated acceptance criteria before coding begins. It ensures that all project members clearly understand what is being implemented and that requirements are met. User stories should be well-defined, and the "Three Amigos" meeting should follow the "3 C's" formula. Running the ATDD tests automatically measures the project team's progress, and working software is the only objective measure of progress in an agile project.
Exploratory testing involves testers actively controlling test design while conducting tests, using the knowledge gained to create better tests. It is crucial in agile projects and helps counter the tendency of groupthink. Exploratory testing is useful in complex testing situations where little is known about the product. Testers can use testing tools and resources to document any bugs found. Collaborating with developers is essential for successful exploratory testing.
Session-based testing is a structured exploratory testing approach that involves identifying test objectives and focusing testing efforts on achieving them. A single session may encompass multiple tests, and test sessions also provide information on how, when, and why a test was executed. This approach is widely considered an effective way to ensure thorough testing and produce a comprehensive report of the testing process.
Exploratory testing is a powerful way to optimize test coverage without incurring the costs of writing and maintaining test cases. Formal Session-Based Testing is an effective approach that uses a charter, which is a goal or agenda for a test session created by the test team before starting testing. Best practices include setting aside uninterrupted time for each session and limiting each session to just one charter. After each session, conducting a debriefing meeting with test leads and testers is recommended to discuss what happened during the session, what was achieved, challenges faced, pending issues, and feedback to improve future sessions.
Agile Testing Tools
Outside-in versus Inside-out Testing
Agile teams use outside-in or inside-out approaches for testing applications. Verification and Validation (V&V) are critical for software quality control. In modern agile testing, V&V steps overlap continuously, with effective communication being key.
Limitations of Spreadsheets
Agile teams need specialized testing tools and a test management tool to manage testing efforts and generate useful reports. Using spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel for test management can cause inconsistencies in reporting and lead to file corruption or security risks. Switching to a test management tool that provides a centralized repository for all testing efforts is best as teams grow.
Test Management Tools
Test management tools have cloud and on-premise options. Zephyr (Standalone Edition) and HipTest have issues with requirement tracking; others can integrate with Jira and Bugzilla. Choose the right tool.
Agile Test Automation
Automation testing is crucial for agile projects to ensure that an application doesn't break with new changes. Tests are run repeatedly at different levels and integrated into a CI build process. Automation allows agile teams to execute more tests in less time, increasing coverage and freeing human testers for high-level testing. Choosing the right automation tool and running tests regularly is important to ensure system health.
Guide Your Agile Testing with Zephyr
Testing pyramid: agile teams plan test automation with unit tests at the base and manual exploratory tests at the top. Modern test software semi-automates exploratory tests. Capture for Jira allows exploratory testing with Jira integration. Session-based test management optimizes testing without test case costs.
The Best Agile Test Management Tool
An agile test management tool should support collaborative work across Continuous Build, Integration, Delivery, and Deployment. It must integrate with other project management, issue tracking, and automation tools. The tool should also include live reporting to maintain real-time visibility into the software delivery pipeline and detect issues as they arise. A scalable tool is ideal for small or medium-sized businesses.
Conclusion: Agile frameworks are more flexible and adaptable than traditional linear project management procedures. This makes them a valuable tool for organizations looking to respond more quickly to market changes and stay competitive.
Agile project management is highly dynamic and effective in shortening development timelines while enhancing productivity. It has revolutionized how teams approach product development by being more flexible and responsive to changing market demands.
I hope this Blog helped you understand the Agile Testing Methodology!!