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Agile Software Testing

Last Updated : 24 May, 2023
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Agile Testing is a type of software testing that follows the principles of agile software development to test the software application. All members of the project team along with the special experts and testers are involved in agile testing. Agile testing is not a separate phase and it is carried out with all the development phases i.e. requirements, design and coding, and test case generation. Agile testing takes place simultaneously throughout the Development Life Cycle. Agile testers participate in the entire development life cycle along with development team members and the testers help in building the software according to the customer requirements and with better design and thus code becomes possible. The agile testing team works as a single team towards the single objective of achieving quality. Agile Testing has shorter time frames called iterations or loops. This methodology is also called the delivery-driven approach because it provides a better prediction on the workable products in less duration time. 

  • Agile testing is an informal process that is specified as a dynamic type of testing.
  • It is performed regularly throughout every iteration of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).
  • Customer satisfaction is the primary concern for agile test engineers at some stage in the agile testing process.

Features of Agile Testing

Some of the key features of agile software testing are:

  • Simplistic approach: In agile testing, testers perform only the necessary tests but at the same time do not leave behind any essential tests. This approach delivers a product that is simple and provides value.
  • Continuous improvement: In agile testing, agile testers depend mainly on feedback and self-learning for improvement and they perform their activities efficiently continuously.
  • Self-organized: Agile testers are highly efficient and tend to solve problems by bringing teams together to resolve them.
  • Testers enjoy work: In agile testing, testers enjoy their work and thus will be able to deliver a product with the greatest value to the consumer.
  • Encourage Constant communication: In agile testing, efficient communication channels are set up with all the stakeholders of the project to reduce errors and miscommunications. 
  • Constant feedback: Agile testers need to constantly provide feedback to the developers if necessary. 

Agile Testing Principles

  • Shortening feedback iteration: In Agile Testing, the testing team gets to know the product development and its quality for each and every iteration. Thus continuous feedback minimizes the feedback response time and the fixing cost is also reduced.
  • Testing is performed alongside Agile testing is not a different phase. It is performed alongside the development phase. It ensures that the features implemented during that iteration are actually done. Testing is not kept pending for a later phase.
  • Involvement of all members: Agile testing involves each and every member of the development team and the testing team. It includes various developers and experts.
  • Documentation is weightless: In place of global test documentation, agile testers use reusable checklists to suggest tests and focus on the essence of the test rather than the incidental details. Lightweight documentation tools are used.
  • Clean code: The defects that are detected are fixed within the same iteration. This ensures clean code at any stage of development.
  • Constant response: Agile testing helps to deliver responses or feedback on an ongoing basis. Thus, the product can meet the business needs.
  • Customer satisfaction: In agile testing, customers are exposed to the product throughout the development process. Throughout the development process, the customer can modify the requirements, and update the requirements and the tests can also be changed as per the changed requirements.
  • Test-driven: In agile testing, the testing needs to be conducted alongside the development process to shorten the development time. But testing is implemented after the implementation or when the software is developed in the traditional process.

Agile Testing Methodologies

Some of the agile testing methodologies are:

  1. Test-Driven Development (TDD): TDD is the software development process relying on creating unit test cases before developing the actual code of the software. It is an iterative approach that combines 3 operations, programming, creation of unit tests, and refactoring.
  2. Behavior Driven Development (BDD): BDD is agile software testing that aims to document and develop the application around the user behavior a user expects to experience when interacting with the application. It encourages collaboration among the developer, quality experts, and customer representatives.
  3. Exploratory Testing: In exploratory testing, the tester has the freedom to explore the code and create effective and efficient software. It helps to discover the unknown risks and explore each aspect of the software functionality. 
  4. Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD): ATDD is a collaborative process where customer representatives, developers, and testers come together to discuss the requirements, and potential pitfalls and thus reduce the chance of errors before coding begins. 
  5. Extreme Programming (XP): Extreme programming is a customer-oriented methodology that helps to deliver a good quality product that meets customer expectations and requirements.
  6. Session-Based Testing: It is a structured and time-based approach that involves the progress of exploratory testing in multiple sessions. This involves uninterrupted testing sessions that are time-boxed with a duration varying from 45 to 90 minutes. During the session, the tester creates a document called a charter document that includes various information about their testing.
  7. Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM): DSDM is an agile project delivery framework that provides a framework for building and maintaining systems. It can be used by users, developers, and testers.
  8. Crystal Methodologies: This methodology focuses on people and their interactions when working on the project instead of processes and tools. The suitability of the crystal method depends on three dimensions, team size, criticality, and priority of the project.

Agile Testing Strategies

1. Iteration 0

It is the first stage of the testing process and the initial setup is performed in this stage. The testing environment is set in this iteration.

  • This stage involves executing the preliminary setup tasks such as finding people for testing, preparing the usability testing lab, preparing resources, etc.
  • The business case for the project, boundary situations, and project scope are verified.
  • Important requirements and use cases are summarized.
  • Initial project and cost valuation are planned.
  • Risks are identified.
  • Outline one or more candidate designs for the project.

2. Construction Iteration

It is the second phase of the testing process. It is the major phase of the testing and most of the work is performed in this phase. It is a set of iterations to build an increment of the solution. This process is divided into two types of testing:

  • Confirmatory testing: This type of testing concentrates on verifying that the system meets the stakeholder’s requirements as described to the team to date and is performed by the team. It is further divided into 2 types of testing:
    • Agile acceptance testing: It is the combination of acceptance testing and functional testing. It can be executed by the development team and the stakeholders.
    • Developer testing: It is the combination of unit testing and integration testing and verifies both the application code and database schema.
  • Investigative testing: Investigative testing detects the problems that are skipped or ignored during confirmatory testing. In this type of testing, the tester determines the potential problems in the form of defect stories. It focuses on issues like integration testing, load testing, security testing, and stress testing.

3. Release End Game

This phase is also known as the transition phase. This phase includes the full system testing and the acceptance testing. To finish the testing stage, the product is tested more relentlessly while it is in construction iterations. In this phase, testers work on the defect stories. This phase involves activities like:

  • Training end-users.
  • Support people and operational people.
  • Marketing of the product release.
  • Back-up and restoration.
  • Finalization of the system and user documentation.

4. Production

It is the last phase of agile testing. The product is finalized in this stage after the removal of all defects and issues raised.

Agile testing strategies


Agile Testing Quadrants

The whole agile testing process is divided into four quadrants:

1. Quadrant 1 (Automated)

The first agile quadrat focuses on the internal quality of code which contains the test cases and test components that are executed by the test engineers. All test cases are technology-driven and used for automation testing. All through the agile first quadrant of testing, the following testing can be executed:

  • Unit testing.
  • Component testing.

2. Quadrant 2 (Manual and Automated)

The second agile quadrant focuses on the customer requirements that are provided to the testing team before and throughout the testing process. The test cases in this quadrant are business-driven and are used for manual and automated functional testing. The following testing will be executed in this quadrant:

  • Pair testing.
  • Testing scenarios and workflow.
  • Testing user stories and experiences like prototypes.

3. Quadrant 3 (Manual)

The third agile quadrant provides feedback to the first and the second quadrant. This quadrant involves executing many iterations of testing, these reviews and responses are then used to strengthen the code. The test cases in this quadrant are developed to implement automation testing. The testing that can be carried out in this quadrant are:

  • Usability testing.
  • Collaborative testing.
  • User acceptance testing.
  • Collaborative testing.
  • Pair testing with customers.

4. Quadrant 4 (Tools)

The fourth agile quadrant focuses on the non-functional requirements of the product like performance, security, stability, etc. Various types of testing are performed in this quadrant to deliver non-functional qualities and the expected value. The testing activities that can be performed in this quadrant are:

  • Non-functional testing such as stress testing, load testing, performance testing, etc.
  • Security testing.
  • Scalability testing.
  • Infrastructure testing.
  • Data migration testing.
Agile testing quadrants


Agile Testing Life Cycle

The agile testing life cycle has 5 different phases:

  1. Impact Assessment: This is the first phase of the agile testing life cycle also known as the feedback phase where the inputs and responses are collected from the users and stakeholders. This phase supports the test engineers to set the objective for the next phase in the cycle.
  2. Agile Testing Planning: In this phase, the developers, customers, test engineers, and stakeholders team up to plan the testing process schedules, regular meetings, and deliverables.
  3. Release Readiness: This is the third phase in the agile testing lifecycle where the test engineers review the features which have been created entirely and test if the features are ready to go live or not and the features that need to be sent again to the previous development phase.
  4. Daily Scrums: This phase involves the daily morning meetings to check on testing and determine the objectives for the day. The goals are set daily to enable test engineers to understand the status of testing.
  5. Test Agility Review: This is the last phase of the agile testing lifecycle that includes weekly meetings with the stakeholders to evaluate and assess the progress against the goals.
Agile testing lifecycle


Agile Test Plan

An agile test plan includes types of testing done in that iteration like test data requirements, test environments, and test results. In agile testing, a test plan is written and updated for every release. The test plan includes the following:

  • Test Scope.
  • Testing instruments.
  • Data and settings are to be used for the test.
  • Approaches and strategies used to test.
  • Skills required to test.
  • New functionalities are being tested.
  • Levels or Types of testing based on the complexity of the features.
  • Resourcing.
  • Deliverables and Milestones.
  • Infrastructure Consideration.
  • Load or Performance Testing.
  • Mitigation or Risks Plan.

Benefits of Agile Testing

Below are some of the benefits of agile testing:

  • Saves time: Implementing agile testing helps to make cost estimates more transparent and thus helps to save time and money.
  • Reduces documentation: It requires less documentation to execute agile testing.
  • Enhances software productivity: Agile testing helps to reduce errors, improve product quality, and enhance software productivity.
  • Higher efficiency: In agile software testing the work is divided into small parts thus developer can focus more easily and complete one part first and then move on to the next part. This approach helps to identify minor inconsistencies and higher efficiency.
  • Improve product quality: In agile testing, regular feedback is obtained from the user and other stakeholders, which helps to enhance the software product quality.

Limitations of Agile Testing

Below are some of the limitations of agile software testing:

  • Project failure: In agile testing, if one or more members leave the job then there are chances for the project failure.
  • Limited documentation: In agile testing, there is no or less documentation which makes it difficult to predict the expected results as there are explicit conditions and requirements.
  • Introduce new bugs: In agile software testing, bug fixes, modifications, and releases happen repeatedly which may sometimes result in the introduction of new bugs in the system.
  • Poor planning: In agile testing, the team is not exactly aware of the end result from day one, so it becomes challenging to predict factors like cost, time, and resources required at the beginning of the project.
  • No finite end: Agile testing requires minimal planning at the beginning so it becomes easy to get sidetracked while delivering the new product. There is no finite end and there is no clear vision of what the final product will look like.

Challenges During Agile Testing

Below are some of the challenges that are faced during agile testing:

  • Changing requirements: Sometimes during product development changes in the requirements or the specifications occur but when they occur near the end of the sprint, the changes are moved to the next sprint and thus become the overhead for developers and testers. 
  • Inadequate test coverage: In agile testing, testers sometimes miss critical test cases because of the continuously changing requirements and continuous integration. This problem can be solved by keeping track of test coverage by analyzing the agile test metrics. 
  • Tester’s availability: Sometimes the testers don’t have adequate skills to perform API and Integration testing, which results in missing important test cases. One solution to this problem is to provide training for the testers so that they can carry out essential tests effectively.
  • Less Documentation: In agile testing, there is less or no documentation which makes the task of the QA team more tedious. 
  • Performance Bottlenecks: Sometimes developer builds products without understanding the end-user requirements and following only the specification requirements, resulting in performance issues in the product. Using load testing tools performance bottlenecks can be identified and fixed.
  • Early detection of defects: In agile testing, defects are detected at the production stage or at the testing stage, which makes it very difficult to fix them. 
  • Skipping essential tests: In agile testing, sometimes agile testers due to time constraints and the complexity of the test cases put some of the non-functional tests on hold. This may cause some bugs later that may be difficult to fix. 

Risks During Agile Testing

  • Automated UI slow to execute: Automated UI gives confidence in the testing but they are slow to execute and expensive to build. 
  • Use a mix of testing types: To achieve the expected quality of the product, a mixture of testing types and levels must be used.
  • Poor Automation test plan: Sometimes automation tests plan is poorly organized and unplanned to save time which results in a test failure.
  • Lack of expertise: Automated testing sometimes is not the only solution that should be used, it can sometimes lack the expertise to deliver effective solutions.
  • Unreliable tests: Fixing failing tests and resolving issues of brittle tests should be the top priority to avoid false positives.

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