As development teams look for ways to better support today's changing user needs and emerging trends, adopting agile has become a major priority. Agile testing methodologies have encouraged built-in quality efforts across projects as well as more responsiveness to potential requirements. But many organizations still don't completely understand what agile is or how to achieve it in their own processes. For this reason, we will define the true meaning of agile and what it means for QA teams.
What Exactly is Agile?
To understand agile, you must first understand its values and how it manages IT development teams and projects. Agile places high value in individuals and interactions over processes and tools, responding to change, customer collaboration and working software. These priorities are a major shift from waterfall methods concentrating on directly following plans and creating comprehensive documentation.
Although agile practices have been around already for a decade, organizations still have work to do before they are fully agile. According to Zephyr's annual How The World Tests Report, less than 30 percent of respondents were completely agile, and less than 60 percent were halfway agile. Although these numbers are not up to expectations, it does show that teams are already underway on their agile journeys. It is expected that company agility will significantly increase in the near future as better tools are developed to support these environments and make the transition much easier to facilitate.
In today's fast-paced user environment, waterfall methods are simply no longer viable. Agile concentrates on sustainable development practices that ensure that deliverables are deployed consistently with reliable quality. As Atlassian pointed out, adopting these practices will give developers freedom and accountability while also enabling the business to send higher-quality products to the market, boosting their reputation. Fostering a team environment will help better facilitate agile values and ensure that quality is built in right from the beginning of the agile software development process.
"Developers build strong relationships with product management, design, QA and operations because writing sustainable code means staying connected to all facets of the project," Atlassian stated. "Better code, less 'thrash' (i.e. duplication of effort and/or conflicting streams of work), and more effective cross-functionalism are just a few of the benefits."
Under agile, QA management can change significantly to become a more collaborative part of the whole project. By supporting these teams with the right tools, they will be better able to encourage agile practices and truly achieve agile values.