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Agile Methodology in Testing: Models, Benefits & Examples

What is Agile Methodology?

The ability to create or respond to changes to deal with the conditions and succeeding out from an uncertain environment is termed Agile. 

The development of any software requires the testing of products repetitively. Agile methodology in testing refers to this process whereby software undergoes the process of testing and development throughout the lifecycle of developing software. The process is iterative that involves the participation of the entire project team in all the activities of the process.

With each step of the iterative process, the requirements keep on evolving. The methodology ensures an end-product of high quality as per customer requirements because of the interactive incremental coding process of the development. 

The product testing and the development go on concurrently in the agile method. The product of iteration is tested for acceptance by the user. Once they receive the feedback from the customers it is fed as an input for the next round of iterations.

Key towards the success of agile the Agile Manifesto that labeled this process as Agile as it represents the ability to adapt and respond to the changes that were marked as important in their approach.

Agile Software Development

A set of frameworks based on the values and principles expressed in the Manifesto for Software Development in Agile is collectively termed as Agile Software Development. It’s always useful to abide by these principles while approaching the field of software development. Applications of the principles will help in guiding towards the right thing. 

Agile software development differs from the other approaches in software development in a way that in Agile a focus is on working with people together. As effective solutions result only through collaborative efforts, the main focus is on how the people work together in a group. 

Approaches in the software development in agile involve learning, continual planning, improvement, development, team collaboration, delivery at the earliest. Four core values are mainly emphasized by the software development in agile:

  • Instead of processes and the tools used, individuals are emphasized and their interactions with other members.
  • Emphasis on working software rather than having documentation of the software.
  • Emphasis on customer collaboration.
  • Emphasis on the response to changes of the software while following with a plan.

Once a team starts approaching the agile development of software, focus shifts towards the practice that leads to collaborations and organization of the work. Another practice that needs to be focused is the software development in a way that might help the team members to deal with uncertainty.

Agile Testing

For the development of any product, the agile project defines its testing practices, whether agile or not. This is mainly to develop and deliver quality products.

The product testing is required to be conducted early and often, and hence the testing in agile happens continuously through feature addition. This happens before the completion of product development. Carrying out as many tests in iteration is the main aim of an agile tester.

Testing in an agile methodology is itself a methodology where test cases are written before coding. 

Lists of agile models in testing are:

1. Scrum

Management of tasks within an environment which is based on team efforts is the main concern for this methodology. Three roles of the methodology are:

  • Scrum Master: The Scrum Master holds the responsibility for setting the team, and setting up the sprint meeting. It is also involved in the removal of any obstacles that comes in between the progress
  • Product owner: It is the Product Owner who creates the product backlog. The backlog is then prioritized by him and during each iteration, delivers the functionality.
  • Scrum Team: The work is managed and organized by this team to complete the sprint or cycle.

2. Crystal Methodologies

Three concepts are mainly focused on:

  • Chartering: It involves the creation of a team of development, performing analysis, development of plan initially, and refining the process of development.
  • Cyclic delivery: Two cycles of delivery or more than two are present during the main development phase.
  • The plan focused on releasing the software is updated and refined by the team. 
  • Iterations to implement the requirements.
  • The product is then delivered to the real users
  •  A review of plan of project and methodology adopted
  • Wrap Up: Performed activities during this phase are deployed into the environment of the user, reviews on the post-deployment and performing reflections.

3. Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM)

The framework of testing requires the active involvement of the users and the decision-making process is empowered over the team. The main emphasis of the method is the frequent product delivery. Techniques involved in the framework are; Time Boxing, Prototyping, and MoSCoW Rules. This agile model in software testing consists of seven phases.

4. Feature Driven Development (FDD)

The main focus of the agile model in software testing is towards the designing of the features and building them. Compared to the other methods, the phases involved in FDD are short which is required to be separately accomplished for every feature. 

5. Lean Software Development 

The aim of the method is to decrease the cost of development and increase the speed of the software. Seven steps are involved in this method i.e. Waste elimination, Learning amplification, Defer commitment, Delivering early, Team empowerment, Integrity building, and Optimize the whole.

6. eXtreme Programming (XP)

The method comes to be very helpful in cases where there are continuously changing demands from the customers. Also, when the functionality of the system is not known, the method seems to be used. The process involves development cycles which are short so that the product is released frequently. Also with the addition of checkpoints in the process, implementation of the customer requirements is easy.

Examples of Agile testing

Irrespective of which methodology is used for the product testing, the following are generally used:

1. Test-Driven Development (TDD): In this type of testing method, the process starts with tests and discussions as to what should be tested. A user story is then created. Therefore, the process starts with writing a test, the creation of a user story, and finally the writing of the code until the test passes. It is basically applied to the component test and can be done through automated testing tools.

2. Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD): ATDD is almost similar to TDD, but differs in the fact that ATDD uses customer input in functionality. Here the process starts with the discussion on how the product will be used. Therefore ATDD employs writing of a user acceptance test (UAT) followed by the writing of code until it passes the test. The test is basically employed for acceptance tests to verify if the function of the end-product is as expected by the users.

3. Behavior-Driven Development (BDD): This is derived from both the ATDD and TDD methods of testing. Here, the purpose of the testing should be related to a business outcome. The user story will be present, but the question should be focused on why the feature needs to be developed.  The test aims to verify that the function of the developed product aligns with the desired business outcome.

4. Exploratory Testing: This type of testing allows the developers to follow their intuition instead of following a predefined path. The process is manual as every step is recorded and saved as a test. And while the process goes on, the developers figure out what is being tested. For identification of hidden risk, the method seems to be the most important as it could identify the bugs which could be missed through the tests done in TDD. 

5. Session-Based Testing: The process is quite similar to that of exploratory testing, but here the developers start with a mission in mind rather than figuring out along with the process.

Benefits of Agile Testing Methodology

  • Application of the agile methodology in testing allows the release of the software at a shorter duration and also with an improved product quality.
  • The errors could be identified and fixed at a faster rate. Therefore, it’s rare that any bugs could be present at the end of testing. Further, there is a lesser chance of missing a deadline.
  • Customer satisfaction will increase as the regular release of products will make them happy. This will increase the rate of customer retention.
  • The scope of each release will be managed. The features could be prioritized every iteration allowing the developer to deliver only the important features.
  • As the future of software development has shifted towards the agile model in software testing, therefore it’s high time the testers should embrace it.

Life Cycle of Agile testing

The agile methodology in testing life cycle for a general agile testing methodology is:

  • The behavior of the system is considered as the test cases which contribute towards the user stories.
  • Based on the test effort and defects, the planning is released.
  • Based on user stories and defects, sprint planning is made.
  • Through continuous testing, sprint planning is executed.
  • Once the sprint planning is executed, regression testing is carried out.
  • The reporting of the test results.
  • Automation testing.

Conclusion

Agile testing has become a popular approach for the testing of software products. This is mainly due to the high quality of the end-product that is delivered to the customers. Also with the agile model in software testing, the customer requirements could be fed leading to the products desired by the customers.

The article has briefly discussed the concept of agile methodology, the models applied in testing, and its benefits. For a developer understanding the concepts of agile methodology is highly advisable for continuing towards the development of error-free products.  

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