Increasing the Value of Testing in Agile
Why test-driven development is valuable for those following agile methodologies.
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Adopting Agile depends on the project context. In an agile environment, extensive documentation of requirements are not available as it focuses more on communication. This poses a substantial challenge for software testing which is difficult to be carried out without detailed resources.
The key element in software development is testing as it ensures software quality assurance of a product’s readiness for production, completeness, purpose and risks.
In sequential development life cycles, the team always prioritizes the definition, review and the validation of the initial requirements. This approach, when combined with a full testing strategy of the life cycle along with developer level testing, ensures higher levels of software quality. However, the traditional approach of development has, most of the time, failed to deliver working software in terms of specified business needs, cost and time. The failure generally occurs due to lack of management, testing and processes. There is often a communication gap between the developers and the testers. The requirements changes that may be specified during the development process may not have been communicated to the testing team. This results in the application failing in the corresponding test case or the test process being incorrectly aligned with the real product. To overcome this challenge a lot of time and effort is spent in managing mid-development changes.
The agile approach in software development is based on an iterative development with a continuous evolution in the requirements and solutions. This methodology offers a better solution to the problems faced in the traditional Independent software development and testing approaches. Using iterative, repetitive and incremental steps in the process theoretically ensures a better product delivery.
Agile ultimately is all about software quality assurance and the customer. Hence, testing has a very important role in Agile driven development.
The value of testing can be maximized in an Agile discipline in the following ways –
Adopting a test driven development approach to maximize quality and minimize duplication. A TDD emphasizes on writing the test, coding it and then refactoring.
The test strategy and its planning should be adaptable and flexible to the new modification received after each iteration. A Hybrid testing approach thus combines the elements of both agile and the traditional methodologies.
The tester’s role needs to be flexible. The testing team needs to become significant agile team members. Thus the nature of the tester in agile testing is no longer that of a fault finder or a high profile quality inspector. Rather, they are included in a collaborated team striving to achieve quality.
Implementation of automated testing can greatly reduce the unnecessary repetition of manual tasks. Building of integration processes, unit tests, static tools for analysis, environment management and functional testing can be automated in Agile.
The best practices for efficient and high quality assured software product delivery can be leveraged through the Agile methodology. Professional testers need to evolve with agile testing methodologies to address traditional development challenges by collaborating with the developers, analysts and the stakeholders more closely.
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