Tips to Make Software Testing Easier and More Effective in Agile
Experienced agile developers and quality assurance (QA) professionals know that the scope of software testing expands throughout a project, typically building from unit testing to integration to system-wide evaluations.
At the same time, the number of testers grows and involvement from customers increases, resulting in a similar growth in the difficulty of writing test cases and managing test runs. This complexity is amplified when teams use both manual and automated software testing. This double-pronged approach takes more time to orchestrate, but it can result in more rigorous testing and works well in a geographically dispersed environment.
This is why having the right elements and best practices is crucial. To maximize the impact and efficiency of your agile testing process, you need to:
Engage the right people.
In addition to QA professionals, identify a group of potential end-user testers that represent each stakeholder group of your project to assist with product evaluation throughout the development lifecycle, especially with UAT. These end users can also evaluate and shape the stories that define the development sprints as the software nears completion.
Utilize the right agile development tools.
Modern test management platforms make writing tests, recording results, and communicating with testers easy and personalized. Industry-leading platforms make it simple to track defects and issues through to resolution and provide your organization with a consistent structure to organize, prioritize, and schedule tests into test runs.
Utilize a consistent agile testing process when developing test cases.
There is more to writing an impactful test case than presenting a tester with a yes-or-no question about whether a feature is present. Follow test case writing best practices by including:
- The data inputs needed to validate the system.
- The tester actions needed to evaluate the particular function(s) or workflow(s).
- Any software functions or data preconditions and expected postconditions.
- A logical naming convention that allows tests to be organized by module or testing focus.
Have dedicated test environments.
Test environments provide a contained place for testers to run their test cases, so you should replicate a production environment as accurately as possible. Try to include hardware and network configurations similar to what a potential end user will experience. Many organizations choose to create test environments as virtualized snapshots of the in-development environment to ease the administrative setup of the testing process.
Utilize agile-tailored testing methods.
Although the use of the agile methodology in testing is relatively new compared to the traditional waterfall approach, teams have created several testing methods to refocus how testing can be executed and viewed during development.
Depending on needs, one or more of these methods can be used:
- Test-Driven Development (TDD): This ensures software meets customer requirements by having test cases written before any development is conducted. Development is then done unit by unit to meet the test cases.
- Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD): This is a collaborative process in which users, product developers, and the product manager create business function-focused testing standards that align with end-user stories.
- Behavior-Driven Development (BDD): This method defines product functionality by creating specifications or examples for specific software behaviors, scenarios, or outcomes that need to be produced by the code.
- Exploratory Testing: This method gives testers the ability to navigate through software in development without test cases to discover, investigate, and evaluate product design and functionality.