In general English, the word ‘agile’ means ‘being able to move quickly’ and in software engineering, ‘agile’ refers to a continuous, incremental and iterative approach for any software development where requirements and solutions evolve, intended to deliver high-quality software.
Now talking about agile in software testing particularly, this methodology is based on the principles of Agile Software Development. Under this, the main focus of the software teams is to cater to the needs of customers through multiple iterations.
What is Agile Software Development?
Agile methodology allows us to organize and manage the software development process. It breaks the whole process into shorter tasks so that frequent assessment and adaptation of plans can result in high-quality deliverables. Agile helps in mitigating the chances of failure by shifting the focus of development from less important factors to more important factors.
Agile Manifesto focuses on having collaboration within the teams to ensure the smooth execution of the product. This approach was introduced to pace up software development with ever-changing technological trends and regular updates.
Thus, Agile testing, based on the above-mentioned principles of Agile Software Development, is the new age approach suitable for the modern technological environment having the following versatile features.
Features of Agile Testing
- Agile Testing suggests smart work rather than hard work, hence facilitating the continuous delivery of products in a most efficient manner as each team works in a collaborative manner to accomplish the task.
- Testing is done during the development cycle to ensure that the deliverable should be in a stable state so that the tester can test major functionality with different perspectives.
- The whole development process is divided into smaller sprints, or they are called iterations that are delivered to the customers within the given timeframe.
- It promotes an efficient relationship between the testers and developers to gain the desired fruits. This also enhances the capability of individuals to adopt the change required to embrace work processes.
- Instead of being sequential like traditional techniques, agile testing is a continuous mechanism.
- All the bugs or issues which are recognized in one iteration are corrected by the agile team within that iteration itself. This simplifies the task of testing and fixing defects.
- Feedback is provided on an ongoing basis by the testing team to ensure continuous progress.
Methods of Agile Testing
- Exploratory Testing – In exploratory testing, test design and test execution are done simultaneously. In this, a tester does every hit and trial to break the system by using different user behaviors. No detailed documentation is given to the tester. They focus on the high-risk scenarios based on their experience.
- Risk-based Testing – Under this method, testing tasks are prioritized based on the risks. The more critical areas which are prone to greater risks are tested and rectified first. Any glitches or failures in such areas may lead to heavy losses or complicated problems like server crashes. The comparatively less critical or smaller areas are kept for the last, even if there is any error or glitch in such areas, the losses are nominal and problems can be corrected with ease.
- FIT Tests – FIT stands for Framework Integrated Test. As the name suggests, this method is an integration of the tasks of analysts, testers, developers, and even customers. When this method is used, the result of the testing comes in three colors, red, yellow or green which depicts the levels of quality of the software.
- Behavior Driven Development (BDD) – In this method, testing is conducted on the basis of how the system is supposed to work. The business analysts and testers communicate to know and understand each other’s stake prior to the development process and design the software accordingly. Test scenarios are written in a format the Gherkin Given/When/Then syntax. The documentation of the scenarios helps to build tests that can be failed on the initial stage so that further they can build the software functionality that makes those scenarios pass.
- Acceptance Test-Driven Development(ATDD) – These tests work on the basis of customers’ point of view on how shall a software work. So these acceptance tests exhibit the notions of the users so it ensures that the software works according to the demand for which it was created.
Advantages of Agile Testing
- As the tasks are divided into smaller iterations, it takes less time in delivering a final product.
- Agile testing is capable of accommodating changes that occur in every sprint makes it more flexible and adaptive in incorporating change requirements. So this method is known as the new-age method which is compatible with the ever-changing technological scenario.
- This method is more efficient as the errors and defects are more closely figured out due to the expertise of a specialized team of testers and analysts.
- There is a large room for welcoming feedback from the end-users and stakeholders so the chances of acceptance of the software by users are fairly high because it is designed according to their point of view in the first place itself.
- Documentation work is fairly less due to the usage of reusable resources in the release of every iteration.
Disadvantages of Agile Testing
- It is certainly true that agile testing is flexible to accommodate changes and advancements in technology but this advantage has a loophole too. The changes are not always foreseeable, so they may not be adopted while releasing the next iteration. In this way, sometimes it becomes unpredictable for the users with regards to what new will come up in the next iteration.
- Due to continuous change in requirements sometimes it becomes difficult to assess the actual effort required to perform the specific task.
- Automation can never completely substitute manual expertise so it is essential to maintain the balance.
- Repetitive release of parts of the software incurs higher expenses.
- Each iteration goes through its own development phases so the levels of development may unnecessarily overlap each other.
- Emphasize less on documentation due to shorter sprints.
The limitations aren’t large enough to neglect the advantages of agile testing so if you are thinking of adopting this methodology in the launch of your next software, just be prudent to the disadvantages and you are good to go to enjoy the simplification and flexibility that this approach offers.
Kuldeep is the founder and lead author of ArtOfTesting. He is skilled in test automation, performance testing, big data, and CI-CD. He brings his decade of experience to his current role where he is dedicated to educating the QA professionals. You can find him on LinkedIn.