The growing need for quicker and adaptive solutions to technology related problems is pushing software firms to adopt the agile methodology. More and more companies today are addressing different technology issues by adopting this iterative approach which is faster than the traditional approach. Agile methodology helps the software development firms to release high-quality software, faster and more proficiently. Agile adoption works for many companies but not all.
Organizations consider agile software development process to be a faster way to produce products, thereby reducing the market time. The benefits of adopting this iterative approach include improved quality, flexibility, and improved business satisfaction through collaboration between the teams.
However, adopting agile methodology means the traditional testing approach needs to be upgraded or changing the way it is done to some extent especially in the functioning of the quality assurance teams.
The need of Agile QA?
The main objective of any testing is to uncover the bugs which are the deviations from the defined requirements in the software to make sure that the software is ready to be released into the market. This objective is the same in both traditional and agile approaches. If we compare traditional and agile techniques, the testing approaches, the iterations, execution and escalation methods may vary.
Although this process has been followed by many years across different organizations, it has its own limitations like:
- Developers test the code less and rely more on testers to perform Testing. Instead of solving the defects, sometimes there are chances that the defects may not be fixed due to many reasons and the defects may occur very late in the development cycle. This will create a major problem and can impact the time to market.
- These significant delays in receiving the defects late in the development cycle which are particularly related to code have to get fixed on time and in every iteration.
- The frequent changes in the test plan and updating the test cases as per the need or requirement will also affect the product delivery.
- If the change or the update is not communicated properly to all the stakeholders, then it will also create a mismatch in the expectations of the final product for all the stakeholders.
Testing is usually the last activity before the proposed release date, and any delay either in the requirement gathering or development will lead to lesser time for testing. The management should not set any time frame to the testers to release the product. The pressure to complete the task may lead to compromising on the quality aspect. On the contrary, the agile methodology and QA are normally entrenched in the agile project team working alongside with developers and the business users at every stage of the process. If the organizations follow this involvement and transparency is ensured, then QA teams are engaged in the earlier phases of SDLC.
Some of the important characteristics of Agile Testing include:
- Agile testers are the part of cross- functional teams who interact with the developers directly and will be the direct contact to answer about the phases of the SDLC.
- The testing teams will collaborate with development teams and participate in daily sprints to make sure that the information from all the stakeholders is uninterrupted.
- There will be a continuous loop with the development team.
- Frequent iterative releases mean more and more regression. Hence, this will help the agile test teams to make use of Test Automation to fasten the testing activities.
- The testers should continuously expand, modify and execute the test cases.
The agile Transformation in Organisations
When an organization moves from traditional development to agile, many testers from traditional QA will move to agile QA with a traditional mind set. The testers should learn what agile is. However unlearning the past behaviors and practices is a difficult part. For example, in traditional testing, an organization may be comfortable with Manual Testing approach and not be that interested to perform Automation Testing. Transitioning the traditional QA to agile is a challenging task for the management but not difficult if planned properly. This transformation requires changing the way the testing team works and also the entire organization needs to understand the changes.
In traditional approach, the testers start testing after the coding is done. Testers and developers communicate through the Defect Tracking System as they belong to two different groups in an organization.
An agile tester is closely integrated with the development process and actively participates in planning, scheduling and estimating the story definition. Instead of checking the quality of the software and adapting to the new process, the testers think of how to move the system or break the system. There should be change in their mind-set and they should think of delivering quality software successfully. The agile and traditional QA teams should work, collaborate and communicate well as per the requirements and focus on the delivery prospects. The teams should step forward to develop new skills and adapt themselves to new tools. This will help them in shifting from normal testing to agile testing and succeed in Agile Adoption.