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Agile Testing & Its Application for Dedicated Software Development Team
According to Capgemini's annual World Quality Report, 42 percent of survey respondents cite a "lack of professional test experience" as a barrier to implementing testing in a dedicated software development team. While Agile has enhanced the pace of iterations for software development, it has done so at the expense of quality in some circumstances.
Dedicated software development teams are under pressure from fierce competition to offer new product updates on a regular basis, but this can come at a cost, such as less attention paid to testing. Some, such as Rob Mason, even go so far as to claim that Agile is destroying software testing. In an attempt to overcome the temptation to sacrifice quality, Facebook recently altered its tagline from "move quickly and break stuff" to "move fast with reliable infrastructure."
So, how can testing be more effectively integrated into the Agile software development world?
Traditional testing is time-consuming and reliant on a large amount of paperwork. Agile testing is a method of testing that follows the principles of Agile software development: testing is done more frequently, testing relies less on documentation and more on team member collaboration, and some testing activities are performed not only by testers but also by developers.
This blog offers some of the most useful advice to become a better Agile tester. While there is always a trade-off between speed and quality in Agile methods, this post will go through a few approaches for improving testing quality without sacrificing agility. Most of the recommendations listed here will necessitate team participation, so including both developers and testers in the planning process would be advantageous.
Create a Formal Release Test Cycle Process
The lack of a release test cycle, a release timetable, or irregular testing requests are all issues with testing. The QA process is complicated by on-demand test requests, especially if testers are working on numerous projects.
After each sprint, many teams just complete a single build, which is not optimal for Agile projects. Moving to once-weekly releases and progressively shifting to numerous builds per week might be useful. Development builds and testing should ideally take place on a daily basis, with developers pushing work to the repository every day and builds scheduled to run at a certain time. Developers would be able to release new code on demand, taking this a step further. Dedicated software development teams can use a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) approach to accomplish this. A failing build on the day of a significant release is less likely with CI/CD.
Early identification of significant defects is achievable when CI/CD and test automation are integrated, allowing developers to repair critical flaws ahead of the scheduled client release. Working software is the fundamental indicator of progress, according to one of Agile's principles. A defined release cycle makes the testing process more nimble in this situation.
Deployment Tools to Empower Testers
Having the code pushed to a staging environment is a typical source of testing friction. This procedure is reliant on technological infrastructure, which your dedicated software development team may not have control over. If there is enough leeway, tools for non-technical personnel like testers or project managers can be designed that allow them to distribute the revised codebase for testing on their own.
One of my teams, for instance, used Git for version control and Slack for communication. The developers built a Slackbot with Git, deployment scripts, and a single virtual machine. Testers were able to provide a branch name from GitHub or Jira to the bot, which was then deployed in a staging environment.
This solution saved developers a lot of time by avoiding communication waste and interruptions caused by testers having to ask developers to deploy a branch for testing.
Practice TDD and ATDD
TDD stands for test-driven development, which is a form of software development approach that prioritizes quality. Traditionally, a developer produces code, which is subsequently tested and reported on if any flaws are discovered. TDD requires developers to perform unit tests before developing any code to finish a user narrative. The tests fail at first until the developer writes the bare minimum of code required to pass the tests. After that, the code is refactored to match the dedicated software development team's quality standards.
Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) is similar to test-driven development (TDD), except it focuses on acceptance testing. In this situation, acceptance tests are established in conjunction with developers, testers, and the requester prior to development (client, product owner, business analyst, etc.). Before any code is produced, these tests help everyone in the dedicated software development team understand the client's needs.
Testing becomes more agile because of techniques like TDD and ATDD, which move testing processes to the early phases of the development lifecycle. When developing early test cases, developers must have a thorough understanding of the requirements. This avoids the generation of unneeded code and eliminates any product uncertainty at the start of the development cycle. When product questions arise only later in the development process, development time and expenses increase.
Tracking Task Card Movement Can Help You Find Inefficiencies
We had a developer on one of my teams who was lightning quick, especially with simple things. During code review, he would receive a lot of feedback, but our Scrum master and I chalked it up to his lack of expertise. As he began to code more complicated features, though, the flaws became more evident. He'd acquired a habit of sending code to testing before it was completely finished. When there is a lack of transparency inagile the development process, such as when it is unclear how much time various employees spend on a certain work, this pattern emerges.
Sometimes, in order to get things out as fast as possible, developers hurry their work and "outsource" quality to the testers. As a result of this configuration, the bottleneck is pushed further down the sprint. Quality assurance (QA) is the team's most critical safety net, but it may also imply that the presence of QA allows developers to ignore quality considerations.
Test Automation should be included in the QA Team's skill set
Test analysis, test design, and test execution are all part of testing in non-Agile projects. These operations are carried out in a certain order and need thorough documentation. When a corporation changes to Agile, the focus is usually on the developers rather than the testers. They stop developing detailed documentation (a foundation of conventional testing) yet keep manual testing going. Manual testing, on the other hand, is sluggish and can't keep up with Agile's quick feedback loops.
A typical solution to this problem is test automation. Because the testing code may run in the background while developers and testers focus on other duties, automated tests make it considerably easier to test new and tiny additions. Furthermore, because the tests are executed automatically, the coverage of the tests can be significantly greater than manual testing efforts.
Automated tests are snippets of software code that are comparable to the codebase under test. To be effective, persons who write automated tests will need technological abilities. Across various dedicated software development teams, there are many different ways to deploy automated testing. Developers have been known to take on the role of testers themselves, expanding the testing codebase with each new feature. Manual testers are taught to utilize test automation technologies in other teams, or a skilled technological tester is recruited to automate the testing process. Automation leads to far more agile testing, regardless of whatever approach the team selects.
Prioritize your testing
Testers are often assigned on a project-by-project basis in non-Agile software development. With the introduction of Agile and Scrum, however, it is now typical for the same QA personnel to work on many projects. When a tester prioritizes one team's release testing over another's sprint planning session, these overlapping responsibilities can cause scheduling problems and result in testers missing important ceremonies.
The reason why testers work on many projects is obvious: there is rarely enough testing work to fill a full-time position. As a result, persuading stakeholders to give a dedicated testing resource to a dedicated software development teammay be difficult. When a tester is not engaged in testing activities, there are several legitimate chores that they may perform to pass the time.
SUPPORT FOR CLIENTS
One scenario is for the tester to spend his or her sprint downtime assisting the client support staff. Because the tester is continuously confronted with client issues, he or she has a deeper grasp of the user experience and how to enhance it. They are able to participate in planning meetings and contribute to the discussions. Furthermore, because they are more familiar with how clients really use their product, they become more attentive during testing activities.
MANAGEMENT OF PRODUCTS
Another way to manage tester priorities is to turn them into junior product managers who conduct manual testing. Because junior product managers spend a lot of time establishing requirements for user stories and so have extensive knowledge of most jobs, this is also a potential method for filling a tester's off-duty time.
Software testing, as we've already stated, is frequently inferior to automation. In this case, the drive for automation may be accompanied by a tester devoting their whole focus to the team and spending their spare time learning to use test automation technologies like Selenium.
Many software development teams are now faced with the necessity of making testing more agile. Quality, on the other hand, should not be sacrificed by a "test as fast as you can" mentality. An Agile transition must include a change to Agile testing, and there are a few techniques to do this:
- Create a release test cycle procedure that is formalized.
- Deployment tools should be made available to testers.
- Experiment with acceptance test-driven development and test-driven development.
- Tracking task card movement might help you find inefficiencies.
- Test automation should be included in the QA team's skill set.
- Organize the testers' priorities.