Agile Testing – Techniques & Challenges

Agile software development comprises of a collaborative effort of self-managing and cross-functional teams, and customers/end-users to develop requirements and solutions. The Agile software development uses the Agile testing methodology. This is a continuous process that starts with a project and continues to evolve with incremental deployments. This system is developed and tested in small increments, and the tests are written prior to the code. This is done to develop the domain, save time, and bring all stakeholders together.  

 With the agile testing methodology, quality is ensured right from the start, and every team member is equally responsible for the system they deliver. The just-in-time approach of expounding the system specifications helps the team save time and complexities related to detailed requirement specifications and signoffs. The tests which are developed, if not automated, give a complete overview of what the system does.   

Agile Testing Techniques:  

There are a few common testing techniques that are followed in Agile Testing:   

  • Test-Driven Development  
  • Acceptance Test-Driven Development  
  • Behavior Driven Development.  
  • Exploratory Testing  
  • Session-Based Testing 

Test-Driven Development (TDD):

Test-Driven Development (TDD) is the approach in which the tests are written before development. The designated piece of code for the module is designed to pass the pre-written tests. In the initial phase, the code will keep evolving until it passes the pre-written tests. Then developers can refactor the code to meet the coding standards.   

Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD):

Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD)also known as Story Test Driven Development, utilizes team members from diverse perspectives (Developer, Tester & Customers) in a collaborative effort to write tests. Virtual or physical meetups are done to centralize ideas from all perspectives before executing the corresponding functionality. These tests are developed and maintained, keeping in mind all factors that could go wrong. The product owner ensures that the tests are covering all deliverables while the testers check for issues. Like TDD, the tests are written first, and the functionality is developed after the tests have been run 

Behavior Driven Development (BDD):

Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is an amalgamation of both TDD and ATDD. It focuses on the application's specifications, which derive the expected behavior. The tests are written in generic English around the Given/ When & Then keywords. To use this technique, the dev team would provide the functional documentation containing the application scenarios. This deliverable is known as “Executable Specifications” as they can also be used as an input to automated tests.    

Exploratory Testing:

Exploratory Testing is conducted when things are not well defined. Test design and execution phases go in-parallel when the team has some working application with them. Analysis and learning are also done until the application is fully explored for bugs and issues. Such testing is done by highly skilled professionals. 

Session-based Testing:

Session-based Testing differs from exploratory testing because it requires a charter to be created before starting the testing session.  This allows the team's creativity to be monitored while constant testing sessions are conducted around the charter. Charters are built module-wise, ensuring the full coverage of application areas. Recommendations for result-oriented sessions include: 

  • Definition of current testing sprint objectives  
  • Module-wise charter development, defining the time and team of the testing sessions alongside team leader, major focusing points, etc.   
  • Non-Interfering sessions with timelines.   
  • Documentation, notes, records, and takeaways from the sessions 

Every session is ended with a live update of the session, sent to the assigned authority containing the specific information as listed below:  

  • Completed tasks 
  • Findings and achievements   
  • Problems encountered  
  • Covered and remaining scope  
  • Testing teams’ individual feelings about the area of the product under consideration   

Find out more about AlphaBOLD’s QA process

QA Challenges: 

Agile development brings forth a few challenges for the QA team: 

  1. Continuous testing is required as the product is constantly progressing, and work is handed off multiple times 
  2. Testers must interact closely with all the stakeholders as all stakeholders are also testing the application in their own capacity.  
  3. Since modern-day consumer needs are continuously evolving, documentation of processes has become challengeThis has made designing, developing, and testing the application based on on-the-go requirements more challenging.  
  4. Agile process mandates involving tester in the early stages even if the environment is not stable for review. This gives QA engineers better context but makes it challenging to test ian unstable environment. As the customer is also given access to the application during the development phase, this can result in customer satisfaction concerns unless things are effectively communicated and proper expectations are set 
  5. The testers’ role changes from Quality Goalkeeper to Partner in Qualitymaking them an integral part of the development team and project stakeholder. However, this means higher expectations and ownership of product quality and specification.  
  6. The time for the test Plan, the functional test, and the regression test is squeezed to a great extent.  
  7. The enhancement of existing features and the introduction of new features reduce testing time. Hence, its challenging to focus on the main requirements 

Advantages: 

  1. Agile testing is better than Traditional Testing because it helps us identify he defects quite early in the project lifecycle.  
  2. During tight deadlines as development and testing go in parallel, Agile testing helps us achieve the quality product in lesser time.  
  3. Usually, teams are smaller in size, so they are easily manageable. They collaborate through common medium, and things are documented, which increases the collaboration within the teams.  
  4. With the dynamic nature of products/ projects, requirement changes are easily captured, and incremental development helps release beta versions resulting in lower risks.  

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End Note 

Agile Testing is well suited for small projects where the delivery cycle is fast, and requirements change during the development cycle. For bigger projects, where each phase is quite distinguished from each other or deliverables are expected at the end or during each phase, the hybrid approach of different Software Development models is followed to extract the maximum results. 

Agile testing involves the utilization of software testing at an early stage of the development lifecycle. It involves high involvement on the part of all stakeholders – which includes close communication and regular collaboration. The application needs to develop in a short time; hence aggressive regression testing is done to ascertain the quality of the product.  Effective communication is the key for agile testing to be successful  

There you go! I hope that all these techniques come in handy in your next Agile testing project. In the next blog in this series, we will discuss why Agile testing is better as compared to traditional testing methodologies, the time needed, and the costs incurred when opting for this methodology. We will also investigate the role of team communication and agile Testing's effectiveness for projects out of its traditional scope. 

 Let me know if you have any questions in the comment box below or reach out to us via the contact us page! 

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