Agile Testing: An introduction

Reading Time: 5 minutes

When we talk about Agile the first thing that pops into our mind is Agile development. But here we are going to see and learn about an introduction to Agile Testing that how testers work in Agile, the contrast between Agile Testing and development, and traditional vs. Agile approach.

What is Agile Testing?

  • In the world of software development, there are two very common terminologies, Developers (programmers) and testers. When we hear programmer we think of a person whose main task is to write production code. And when you hear tester you think of a person whose main task in testing and quality assurance.
  • In Agile no one has only one task to perform, here everyone works on it with one aim in the mind that is to deliver the quality their customers need. In a traditional approach, this would have been the primary concern of the tester or the QA of the team. But in Agile even the development team tries to deliver quality end product to the customer.
  • Agile is an iterative development methodology, where requirements evolve through collaboration between the customer and self-organizing teams. Agile aligns development with customer needs. Several core practices used by agile teams relate to testing.
  • Test-driven development (TDD) is used for the development of the services. Where the programmer writes the tiny piece of test which fails. Then tries to write the code around it to make the test pass. It is an approach that many teams follows as it is a smart technique to avoid any bugs.

ROLES AND ACTIVITIES ON AN AGILE TEAM

The roles are divided into mainly two teams:

  • Customer team
  • Developer team

Customer team

  • The customer team comprises business experts, product owners, domain experts, product managers, business analysts, etc. The customer team writes the stories for the development to work on. They provide examples and logic behind the requirements. Their main task is to clear any doubts and give clarification with real world use cases or examples. They are available in each iteration for guiding the Dev and QA teams as well.
  • In a customer team, the testers have a crucial role to play. They help the customers express their requirements as tests.

Developer team

  • The developer team comprises of Developer team includes programmers,system administrators, architects, database administrators, technical writers,security specialists. Each person in the team can be responsible for multiple roles. A developer can also be helping out in testing related activities and a tester could be helping the developers in debugging a issue.
  • Testers are in the developer team as well because testing is one of the core tasks in Agile. Both the testers and the developers help each other in achieving the best quality end product for the customer.

Interaction between Customer and Developer Teams

  • The customer and developer teams work closely together with a common goal to deliver value to the organisation. Testers does not have the sole responsibility for the quality of the product under development. The developer also helps them achieve this by trying to maintain the quality from the first phase of the development.
  • The customer team with developer team prioritise stories which are crucial and are to delivered in each sprint. It’s totally up to the customer that what they want the developer team to work on. They can even request changes in between the sprint and the developer can work on it. If it does not affect the current scope of the story too much. Even if it does they can pick it up in the next upcoming sprint.
  • It is not totally in the hands of the customer team to dictate how much work they want the development team to work on. The developer picks up work according to there bandwidth, estimates it and then starts working on it.
  • Testers have a foot in each world, understanding the customer viewpoint as well as the complexities of the technical implementation. The testers or the QA team acts as a bridge between the customer and the developers. They don’t just understands the customer requirements but also looks at it from a technical viewpoint. and tries to see if it is feasible or not from the developers point of view as well.

HOW IS AGILE TESTING DIFFERENT? 

  • By now you must be wondering how is Agile testing different from the the other traditional approach? Let’s see how it is like to work on a traditional team vs. an Agile team.

Working on Traditional Teams

  • In traditional team or approach the testers are not involved with developers from the starting phases of the software. Testers are involved in the last phases of the development where they get very little time to test the services on which the developers works for months.
  • Each release cycle is for around 6 months where all the tasks are to be completed and released to the customer. Testers are involved in release planning and requirements definition.But after that they are involved in the end with rushed testing phase and sometimes a delayed release as well.
  • The quality is the sole responsibility of the QA team only. If any of the requirements were missing or any other issue was found the testers were responsible. They didn’t even have the control over if the developer has even tested there code or not.
  • The testers have the power to stop or postpone the release of they find any major issues in the release or if it is not according to the requirements.
  • 6 months seems like a very long time but is not as even after this time the end result is not according to the customers expectations. Things gets deviated from the path and the end result is not covering all the requirements.
  • The testers create there test plans according to the API specs but if the end product is not according to the defined requirements then the whole test plan simply fails.

Working on Agile Teams

  • The Agile teams works closely with the business and have a detailed understanding of the requirements. Developers, QA, DevOps etc are all part of the team which works with the customer from first day.
  • In Agile we follow sprints that can be as short as 1 week or can be long as 4 weeks. As Agile is an iterative development methodology. We aim to develop, test and deliver small features instead of delivering full functionality at once. This not only helps us keep our requirements on track but also helps us incorporate the feedback from the customer.
  • The testers are involved from the first day or the first phase of the development until the end of the sprint. They work on manual test cases, test plans, automation etc. They also takes part in requirements discussions, sprint planning sessions, backlog grooming sessions etc. and give there inputs on all the things.
  • The developers also takes the responsibility for delivering a quality product. They test there own code, writes unit tests and even helps in QA in there tasks as well as well. So, the quality is responsibility of the whole team and not only the QA team.

This was a short blog on Agile testing introduction. In the next blog we will see what are the Ten Principles for Agile Testers.

References


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Written by 

Ankur is a QA Consultant having experience of more than 1.5 years. He is familiar with the core concepts of manual and automation, postman and Newman are his expertise. He is always eager to learn new and advance concepts in order to expand his horizon and apply them in project development with his existing knowledge. His hobbies include watching web series and getting to know about all the latest gadgets that come in the market.

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