Eight Tips to Be More Effective in Agile Software Testing

Agile software development happens fast and code releases happen more frequently. Testing in such an environment is very important for coming up with accurate code that works. How does a programmer ensure quality of the code? In agile environment, there are three major challenges:

  • Gathering the requirements and the number of hours committed
  • Creating short-term releases
  • Keeping scrum short for more time for code inspections

As an agile software tester, you should be very proficient with the tools you use. Here are eight tips to be more effective in agile software testing.

1. Character Traits of an Agile Tester

There are a few character traits and mindsets you should be in for being a successful agile tester. Being passionate, creative, and unafraid is important for an agile tester. The agile tester should have soft skills in management, communication, leadership, etc., as well. These skills will help you envision the client’s expectations before the delivery of the product.

2. Understanding the Data Flow

When you know how the data travels inside your application, you are better able to analyze the impact of component failures and security issues. Hence, recognize how the data is used within the application early on in order to report bugs and defects faster.

3. Analyzing the Logs

In agile development, understanding the defect that causes an issue in the application under test involves log analysis. Application logs contain a great deal of information about the system-level architecture of the application. Some of the errors that the tester needs to know about are called “silent errors,” which means the end user doesn’t perceive the effect of the error. Log analysis helps you better spot silent errors as well as work more efficiently with the development team.

4. Risk- and Change-Based Testing

In agile development, development happens on the fly as does testing. The go-to-market time is all that matters, and the teams work together to achieve the best go-to-market time. When the application gets modified, you, the tester, need to understand which parts of the application are being changed. Also, you need to know the overall effect of the change to the final application.

5. Understand the Business Objectives

Agile tester is essentially the end user of the product. Hence, you should know how end users use the product. In order to evaluate your testing strategies, focus on the key areas or parts of the application that an end user is more likely to use. Create separate strategies for product architecture and end users. Also, this end-user-specific categorization allows you to report bugs based on the application’s business objectives, i.e., prioritizing the defects. At the end of the day, meeting end-user requirements is what any business needs. Based on the user stories, QA teams prepare the acceptance criteria.

6. Browser Tools

Browser plugins and tools may be highly effective for agile testers sometimes. For instance, Google Chrome and Firefox come with developer tools in-built to allow testers immediately spot errors. Also, there are third-party browser plugins such as FireBug that testers can use.

7. Requirement Repositories

Understand what type of agile development strategy your organization uses—Adaptive Software Development (ADP), Agile Unified Process (AUP), Kanban, Scrum, etc. Documentation of test cases and scenarios that the development and testing team create together is very important. Over time, the requirements and test scenarios are gathered into a repository-style system, from which a tester can get a lot of information.

8. Test Early, Often, and Continuously

Exploratory Testing (ET) is a practice in which testing is instantaneous. This is very important in agile development. Many testing professionals believe that the testing should be as early, often, and continuous as possible for proper application delivery. All types of testing—functional, load, etc.,—should be put within the project plan.

Conclusion

In agile software development, rather than the end-product, the development stages are important. Hence, testing is an integral part of the development process. In the early days of software testing, the quality assurance personnel did not have high level access to what is being tested or the results. With agile movement, the software companies and professionals have a more real-time view of the testing environment and scenarios. In agile development, there are shorter iterations leading to smaller test cases. Using a good test automation solution can be helpful in coming up with faster builds.

In order to provide a quality product to customers in a short delivery time schedule, MSys opted for agile testing approach from the conservative waterfall or V-Model, which paved way for us to address the continuously changing requirements and quality feedbacks of the customers.