Software quality assurance is a process that ensures that developed software meets and complies with defined or standardized quality specifications. Adopting a methodology that incorporates testing into a series of short development cycles is another best quality assurance practice worth considering.
What is Agile testing?
Agile testing methodology is an inseparable part of Agile methodology. Agile testing operates under the philosophy that testing is a crucial part of development, on a par with coding. It introduces quality assurance into the project as early as possible, and runs continuously alongside the development effort.
Agile testing is a collaborative effort between testers, developers, product owners, and even customers in order to foresee issues, write and execute test cases, and uncover any gaps in requirements.
Key attributes of agile testing:
- Communication with product owners – testers interact with product owners to clearly establish project expectations, so they can help developers align with the product roadmap and satisfy customer needs.
- Close interaction with developers – testing is linked to the development process. Testers are part of the development team, they report on quality issues that can affect users, and suggest how to improve the solution.
- The entire team is involved in quality assurance – the whole team is passionate about quality, developers build unit test cases for a better testing process and to enhance the quality of audits. Developers also follow the recommendations of testers for test requirements and code improvements.
How Agile methodology impacts on testing
The Agile manifesto has several points that are especially relevant for testers.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Testers should work closely with developers, product owners, and customers to understand what is being developed, who it is for, and what will make it successful.
Working software over comprehensive documentation. Testers in the agile world do not have a book of requirements they can test against. They need to carefully define and refine acceptance criteria together with their teams and test against those criteria.
Collaborating with customers over contract negotiation. Whether they have direct contact with customers or not, testers in an agile environment should be focused on what matters for the customer – which can vary from product to product. Customers may focus on new features, stability, security, or other requirements, depending on their needs and the product’s maturity.
Responding to change over following a plan. Agile testers must prioritize and re-prioritize their tests, focusing on what will help the team reach its goal, minimize risk, and keep customers happy.
4 Agile testing methods
Acceptance test-driven development
Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) embraces the collaborative nature of Agile testing, bringing together customers, developers, and testers to create acceptance tests from the customer’s point of view. The customer focuses on the problem, the developer pays attention to how the problem will be solved, and the tester looks at what could go wrong.
The acceptance tests represent a user’s perspective, and specify how the system will function. They also ensure that the system functions as intended. Acceptance tests can often be automated. Acceptance tests are written first, they initially fail, and then software functionality is built around the tests until they pass.
Behavior-driven development (BDD) is based on and enhances test-driven development and acceptance test-driven development. The idea of BDD is that the team creates scenarios, builds tests around those scenarios which initially fail, and then builds the software functionality that makes the scenarios pass.
Scenarios are written in a specific format, the Gherkin Given/When/Then syntax. They contain information on how a feature behaves in different situations with varying input parameters. These are known as “executable specifications” as they are made up of both specifications and inputs to the automated tests.
Exploratory testing allows testers to get to interact with a product precisely how it will appear “in the wild” and to identify bugs that would not be found through other testing methodologies.
In exploratory testing, the test execution and the test design phase go together. This type of testing focuses on interacting with working software rather than separately planning, building and running tests. Exploratory testing is not scripted – testers mimic possible user behaviors and get creative, trying to find actions or edge cases that will break the software. Testers do not document the exact process in which they tested the software, but when they find a defect, they document it as usual.
This method is similar to exploratory testing, but is more orderly, aiming to ensure the software is tested comprehensively. It adds test charters, which helps testers know what to test, and test reports which allow testers to document what they discover during a test. Tests are conducted during time-boxed sessions.
The strength of exploratory testing – the creativity of the people who do it – can also be its greatest weakness. Session-based testing attempts to remedy this by adding structure. First, before a test session is begun, a charter is created. Second, uninterrupted testing sessions take place, focusing mainly on a single charter. The entire session is then reported on, and the manager is debriefed after the test. The additional structure ensures that all areas of the product are thoroughly tested.
And you can find out the best practices of how to improve the quality of your software products through testing with 7 tips to improve software quality through testing process.
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