The Increased Complexity of Testing in Agile Environments

  January 27, 2014

Performing testing, specifically test automation, is not child’s play. Many testers face a torrent of challenges in their projects. These obstacles can be based on manpower, geographic locations of teams, complexity of project, development methodologies or technologies and so on. And the test automation process becomes even more complicated when it occurs in an Agile environment.

Agile methodologies have gained immense popularity throughout the past decade However, when it comes to testing in Agile environments, you are all essentially required to carefully consider your decision and decide what, how, and when to automate in order to gear up your overall efficiency and test coverage.

How would you design or form tests in an Agile environment? What are the best practices you can follow in order to help test more effectively in Agile environments?

In this post, I will highlight different ways in which tests can be created or designed in Agile environments. I will also touch on a few of the best practices to be followed when testing in Agile environment.

Let's take a look at a few different ways for creating tests in agile environment:

Test-Driven Development

If your testing team chooses the route of Test-Driven Development (TDD), your team will get a head start into the overall discussions, product features and will be able to get robust tests ready to enable the coding process.

Scenario/Story-based Test Creation

Unlike conventional development models, detailed specifications are not always available, and can often change throughout the development process. Therefore, tests are created to direct the team via specific scenarios and stories rather than being a strict set of cases that need to be executed. With the help scenario-based testing, testers can cover a wide range of tests that may not be necessarily documented.

Stick to your Regression Suite

Generally, a huge amount of time in the Agile model goes into investigative testing. Of course, exploratory testing brings amazing benefits, but one should keep the bugs found from such test in mind in for future tests. The results from exploratory testing today form a part of the regression test suite that is going to be executed in later versions of your software.

Test milestones between Individual Releases

Test maintenance is crucial, specifically when you're testing in Agile environments where changes are frequent. If you fail to ensure that the tests in place are optimized, it will affect the overall product quality.

However, to get effective test results and perform test automation in Agile environments successfully, it is important that you follow a few best practices discussed below:

  • Leverage from the test-driven development – It has become a very common practice among the testers to create tests before even the start of code development. However, it will require seamless collaboration of testers with the development team.
  • Don't forget to test from the customer perspective – Testing from the customer perspective would help you ensure the quality of the product that is going to be used by the users is standard.
  • Be aware of application architecture, business objectives and context – Being an Agile tester, it is important that you understand how the end user will interact with the application. Try to divide the application based on its architecture and customer context. It will help you test critical issues that would affect negatively on the end-users.
  • In Agile methodology, the user interface is the first thing that is going to be changed due to the dynamic nature of its design. In order to reduce the maintenance of the test automation at the user interface level while improving coverage, it is crucial to perform automation at the system-level.
  • Perform coverage-based test automation – Coverage-based testing measures your software thoroughly, ensuring better test coverage. It also allows testers to analyze, trace and identify the critical areas requiring foremost attention. Thus, this practice helps in attaining the desired level of accuracy and depth while testing an application in an Agile environment.
  • Agile has changed testing practices and how manual and automated testing is applied. Today, in a limited time period, the testing teams have to focus on the test automation only once, so be prepared for the changes in the future.

Today, more teams are getting into Agile and they're realizing that test automation approaches heavily affect the success of the project. If you're planning to test applications in an Agile environment, it would be wise for you at least consider whether the best practices discussed in this post will benefit you.

About the Author: 

Prashant Chambakara is a test automation enthusiast working with Cygnet Infotech. He loves to participate and contribute to the testing communities through blogs, articles, and conference speaking engagements. Follow his tech activities on Twitter and Google+.

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