The Essence of Agile Software Testing

To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all. Until you try, you do not know what you cannot do.

Each business must focus on the quality of software applications to get higher returns in the longer run. But testing professionals need adequate time to test a software application thoroughly and efficiently. That is why; many businesses nowadays opt for agile software testing to reduce testing time and cost. As the name indicates, the testing approach follows agile software development principles. Also, it does not consider software development and software testing as two distinct processes.

The approach focuses on integrating software testing seamlessly into the entire software development lifecycle. Also, agile development principles emphasises on continuous coordination between developers, testers, managers and customers throughout the production process. Hence, agile software testing helps QA professionals to identify issues in software early, and get regular feedback from the customer on quality, while reducing documentation. However, it is important for both enterprises and testing professionals to understand important principles of software testing.
Understanding Important Principles of Agile Software Testing

Coordination between All Stakeholders: As noted earlier, agile methodology aims to integrate software testing into the entire software development process. The approach further requires all stakeholders in the project to participate in the software testing activities. Both developers and testers can execute tests to reduce the defect turnaround time drastically. Likewise, the involvement of customers ensures that the application meets all business requirements.

Emphasis on Continuous Testing: Agile software testing requires QA professionals to test the software continuously throughout the development process. When the software is testing continuously, it becomes easier for developers and testers to ensure that the features and functionalities are implemented during each iteration or sprint.

Shorter Feedback Loops: The waterfall testing approach often makes the feedback looks longer and inefficient. But agile testing approach promotes agility by shortening the feedback loop. As the software is tested by both developers and testers throughout the development process, the bugs and performance issues can be repaired almost immediately. The agile team can further use various test automation tools to avail additional information about the software’s functionality, performance and behaviour.

Clear Understanding of Client’s Expectations: In addition to making the software application flawless, the agile team also need to ensure that it meets client’s expectation. Agile testing approach requires customers and managers to participate in testing activities. The testers can share the test results with the client and get his feedback immediately. They can further answer the questions asked by the client to avoid any conflict in future. At the same time, the coordination helps testers to know if the software meets all requirements and expectations of the client.
End-to-End Software Testing: Agile testing approach focuses on complete implementation of each feature or functionality of software. It requires the developers to implement the feature, testers to check if the feature has any flaws, and customers to share their feedback. The implementation process in an agile environment completes only when the customer accepts the feature after it is tested by both developers and testers.

Adopt Test-First Approach: Unlike waterfall testing, agile testing recommends businesses to adopt test-driven development (TDD) and test-first approach. So the businesses can assess the quality of the emerging software throughout the development process. At the same time, the test-first approach further helps businesses to check if the emerging software complements the business requirements fully.

Keep the Code Clean: Agile testing approach requires testers to test the software application continuously. Also, both developers and testers execute tests in an agile environment. Hence, it becomes easier for agile team to write a clean and bug-free code base. The clean code enables businesses to update and maintain the software without putting extra time and effort.

Avoid Comprehensive Documentation: When the developers and testers work independently, the need for comprehensive documentation increases. In an agile environment, both developers and testers work as a single team. So the testers are not required to prepare comprehensive test documentation to convey the defects indentified in the software. They can simply use reusable checklist to capture the test ideas and focus on essence of the test, without mentioning incidental details.

On the whole, agile software testing is completely different from conventional waterfall testing approach. It enables testers to test the software application thoroughly and continuously throughout the production process without increasing the time to market. But often businesses have to address a number of challenges to migrate from waterfall testing to agile testing efficiently.

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