Testing in Agile development projects can be present a number of challenges due to changing expectations as well as the emphasis on speed. To make the most of your test in Agile projects, check out our 8 tips for successful testing in Agile development projects.
In a study published in 2019, the Consortium for Information & Software Quality (CISQ) estimated it costs 100 dollars to correct a bug during the software development phase, compared to 10k dollars once the software is in production. Agile methods can make processes smoother and smarter, but you still need to avoid the pitfalls.
8 tips to make your tests (and your teams) more agile.
1) Integrate your testers into the development team to foster communication!
One of the key words is communication between teams. Until recently, testers arrived at the end of the process to check compliance with the specifications initially written by the client. This siloed approach has since proven its limits. It is therefore essential to promote communication and collaboration between the entire team (testers, developers, company stakeholders, etc.).
2) Prioritize your tests and start with the ones that present a critical risk
If you don't include the tester at the start of a project, he or she may lack visibility and have difficulty evaluating critical product features. Prioritizing testing based on the areas of greatest economic and security risk is essential. Agile development methods aim to bring high-quality software to market in a very short time. The tester must be able to prioritize testing based on the areas of greatest risk.
3) Rely on automation, but do it properly
Test automation is a method; it is not a goal. If a human needs to interact with the functionality or system, have it tested by a human. The advantage of automated testing is its ability to free up testers to validate new features instead of manually executing non-regression tests, but it would be a mistake to imagine that it can totally replace manual testers.
4) Communicate as much as possible on the "business" and "business KPIs"
Here again, communication between teams is key. To better support testers, it is necessary that they benefit from the business vision, i.e. the real issues behind the development of the software or application. Learn the domain and the business of the company to better understand the needs of its users. This will allow you to better respond to users' needs by eliminating irrelevant elements (the "fluff") that can increase the team's workload and extend the project's schedule. In short, testing teams must be able to prioritize their actions and make the right decisions.
5) You have everything you need to move forward!
There is a tendency to create new standards for testers...What if this was a mistake? You already have everything you need to set them up for success. Let testers access and work with the user stories designed by the product owners, as these are the most efficient and easiest elements to make available. Collaborating on the test writing process also ensures that the user stories will be testable, which helps guarantee the robustness and relevance of automated tests.
6) Keep an eye on unit tests
These are the ones that present a particular risk. For this specific case, testers can ask developers to assist them in identifying together the weakest points of a software source.
7) Organize retrospectives
Take this moment seriously, the "retrospectives", these moments are too often neglected in favor of the next sprint. Again: com-mu-ni-cate! Discuss how well the process went but also what mistakes were made. It is by conducting rigorous retrospectives that you will succeed in helping testers improve their knowledge and find solutions to future problems.
8) Always test from the customer's perspective
The testing process should always focus on the end user. While this may seem obvious, there can be a tendency to lose this focus during some complicated phases of the project. Suddenly, while trying to solve technical problems, one loses sight of the benefit expected by the user. Keep in mind that the quality of your software is defined by the comfort of use and the satisfaction of the customer.
As you have understood, the key words for successful agile testing are communication and the decompartmentalization of teams. The more the different professions manage to work together in all phases of the project, the sooner it will be functional and "right at first time" so that the user or the customer can get the maximum benefits. Don't leave your testers at the end of the cycle, give them access to the whole process!
To learn more about testing in Agile projects, do not hesitate to download our white paper, QA and The Agile Method: The making of a good pair.