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Why choose Agile testing for your product development


Oleg Menteshashvili




Nov 11, 2020

Agile software development has proved its efficiency with its iterative nature, opportunity to quickly test your business hypothesis, and the ability to change business goals without overrunning budget and resources. 

An inevitable part of software development — bugs — is one of the factors that influence the final software cost. That's why, the sooner we find bugs, the less money, human resources, and time we'll spend fixing them. Agile testing helps developers achieve this exact goal: write quality code, detect bugs at the early stage, and prevent code debt. 

In this blog post, we'll uncover the concept of Agile software testing, how it differs from traditional testing, and why businesses should implement the Agile testing process.

Traditional vs Agile product development (Agile testing)

Common development models focus on a sequential software development process. As a result, they lack flexibility and oftentimes, can't be customized to the project's needs. 

With the linear approach, teams won't start another stage unless the previous one is finished. It results in downtime of other team members, quality issues, and overall waste of resources. Agile methodology addresses these shortcomings. Testing in Agile is done at every stage: from the beginning of the project and after every stable release. 

Agile is characterized by other important aspects:

  • Iterative nature that allows to break down the project's scope into small tasks and deliver them quickly.
  • Short time-to-market so a software product can be tested among real customers. Startups need user feedback to make pivots and tweak the functionality to meet the target audience's demand.
  • Continuous delivery practices that make it easy to optimize software amidst an active development phase without deteriorating its functioning. 
  • Facilitation of teamwork and fostering collaboration among quality assurance engineers, developers, UX designers, and other team members.

Scrum and Extreme programming are two of the most popular varieties of Agile methods.

Bottom line: Agile is a modern software development approach that focuses on delivering working software faster and with less resources, getting early feedback from real customers, simplifying the development process for all team members, and ensuring software quality at every stage. Waterfall-like models are less flexible and are suitable for established projects with a clearly stated scope of work. 

That is why Agile methodology is a perfect choice for startups and projects with quickly changing scopes.

Agile testing: when do tests begin and end?

The Agile QA process isn't an iteration or a project's milestone. A development that follows the Agile is constantly testing software. Some of the popular techniques include continuous integration, unit testing, test-driven development, and automated acceptance testing.

In traditional models like Waterfall, software testing focuses on finding bugs that degrade software quality. With Agile testing, the application is continuously provided with feedback and validated to ensure it meets the business requirements.

In the Agile testing methodology, everyone on the development teams takes part in testing, including developers that write automated tests. 

Such an approach helps development teams get continuous feedback from real users, write clean code, and shorten test documentation as Agile QA specialists create reusable test suites.

Testing approaches in Agile testing

Basically, there are two major testing approaches in Agile testing methodology: test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD). 

In both approaches, development teams follow a simple and iterative process:

  • Writing tests that cover the desired feature.
  • Writing code that performs the desired function and successfully passes the test.
  • Refactoring the code to pass all the tests.
  • Repeat. 

The TDD method works well with unit testing when separate modules are tested. The BDD, however, is better for integration testing (when we check how to separate modules work with each other) and end-to-end testing (checking the whole system's operation).

Developers strive to reach 100% of the code coverage: the more tests you pass, the more chances you're building quality software. 

By implementing TDD and BDD in your workflow, you get a chance to significantly improve the quality of your code. The same approach can be used with the requirements engineering process. It's called acceptance test-driven development (ATDD).

Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) is an extension of the TDD concept. Its idea is simple: write a set of criteria for any piece of functionality. Criteria help development team members understand what must be done, in what way, and what outcome can be considered as a satisfactory result.

To describe these criteria, developers write scenarios that are easy to interpret even to non-tech people like customers. Scenarios represent how the projected feature will be used in the future. If the scenario is implemented and the expected outcome can be obtained in practice, the task is completed. This set of scenarios is called acceptance tests. Acceptance tests focus on the behavior of the system from a point of view of the user.

Bottom line. Both TDD, BDD, and ATDD are united by one idea: writing tests before the implementation of the code. As a rule, TDD means writing unit tests first while ATDD means writing acceptance tests first. BDD is better applied with complex scenarios. 

Why implement TDD and BDD in your software development process?

First, writing tests before coding allows developers to find inconsistencies in a task before the work starts. 

Second, developers and QA engineers are able to catch bugs earlier that results in a significant saving of resources. In addition, TDD and BDD reduce the number of task transitions from QAs to developers, speeding up deployment.

Finally, testing automation allows lessening the load on manual QAs. When the codebase is covered with tests, manual testers can focus on simply describing test cases.

Wrapping up

As you can see, testing in Agile methodology is a never-ending process. With this approach, software development and testing are inseparable: they go hand-in-hand, ensuring that the system works as expected and meets the demands of end-users. 

Our Agile QA team has got vast experience in implementing Agile testing best practices and consulting our customers on the most viable testing strategies. To hire us, get in touch with a Mentalstack representative and we'll respond promptly. 

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