Can Your Test Management Tool Support an Agile Transition?

  April 13, 2023

Many organizations are experiencing a digital transformation to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology landscape and the increasing demand for faster time-to-market. By embracing Agile principles, like collaboration, iterative development, and continuous feedback, you can respond more quickly to changing requirements and market conditions.

But these transitions don’t happen overnight. The move from sequential, linear development to Agile can be challenging without the right mentality and tools – including test management tools.

In this article, we’ll look at testing challenges with a digital transformation and how to select the right tools to help you cross the chasm.

Testing Challenges & Solutions

The Agile transition involves more than just a shift in mindset. Teams may require training on new processes and tools, and there may be resistance to change among members accustomed to traditional waterfall development. 

Some of the most significant challenges include:

  • Mindset – Everyone must understand the importance of testing early to secure buy-in across the team. At the same time, leaders should make it clear that quality should become the entire team’s responsibility – not just quality assurance teams.
  • Flexibility – Agile requires everyone to be flexible and fill multiple roles – including testers willing to help out developers. Inflexible team members may struggle to undergo a digital transformation without specific roles.
  • Documentation – Many Agile teams rely heavily on test automation, making skipping documentation tempting. However, documentation is essential to keep everyone on the same page and should remain a core part of Agile workflows.
  • Communication – Waterfall development often encourages testers to work in their own silos. As a result, encouraging testers to communicate with the entire team in an Agile transformation initially can be challenging.

Fortunately, the Agile methodology introduces several concepts and tools to help ease the transition and encourage everyone to work together. With the right planning and a healthy dose of communication, embracing these new workflows is much easier.

Some of the most impactful concepts include:

  • Shift Left – Agile development shifts testing activities toward the beginning of the development cycle to quickly identify defects, improve product quality, and speed up the entire process. That means testers are more involved early on.
  • Automation – Test automation eliminates manual checklists and enables testers to run more tests and increase coverage. As a result, the key becomes writing maintainable test scripts rather than executing manual tests on a checklist.
  • Virtualization – Virtualization enables testers to quickly test specific parts of a more extensive application without using the entire application and its resources. As a result, it’s easier to increase test coverage and improve automation speeds.
  • Shorter cycles – Testers and developers should work in parallel to shorten the development cycle and ensure the final product meets all requirements. Shortening the cycle makes it easier for the organization to launch more frequent releases.

Do You Have the Right Tools?

Many organizations using waterfall development use ALM/Quality Center or similar solutions to manage their tests. But unfortunately, these solutions are antiquated and not well-suited for Agile workflows. But, at the same time, Agile-heavy tools may not support waterfall development methodologies, forcing an organization into a rapid transformation.

Zephyr bridges waterfall and Agile development methodologies, supporting a digital transformation.

Zephyr Enterprise supports legacy ALM tools, making migrations simple and efficient. For example, the platform provides an HP ALM/QC adapter that imports your projects and preferences to transition seamlessly. Then, you can start incorporating Agile workflows into the development cycle over time rather than switching everything over at once.

BitBar’s device cloud offers hundreds of different devices and thousands of different configurations. Source: BitBar

Zephyr makes it easy to import your existing HP ALM/QC tests, simplifying the transition from waterfall to Agile. Source: Zephyr

Zephyr also supports bi-directional and multi-instance Jira integrations, enabling you to get ready-to-use reports and share test results from Jira within customizable dashboards. With a global test repository and universal automation support, your team also can eliminate redundancy, improve communication, and automate your entire test suite.

When defects occur, Zephyr’s traceability features make it easy to drill down to the root cause of the problem quickly and efficiently. And when you’re ready to embrace Agile workflows fully, from the top down, the platform features out-of-the-box support for behavior-driven development, empowering your team to read and refine specifications without writing any code.

Finally, Zephyr offers easy integrations with the test automation tools and frameworks you already use, making migrating simple. For example, there are native integrations for Jenkins for test automation, Selenium for headless browsers, and SmartBear products like TestComplete and ReadyAPI to expand your test suites.

The Bottom Line

Digital transformations can be challenging for any organization, especially without the right tools and planning. Concerning testing, Zephyr was built from the ground up to provide a seamless transition from waterfall to Agile development. As a result, your team can transition to Agile without being forced into a sudden change.

Start a free trial today.