Software Testing Challenges in Agile

With Agile Methodology now widely adopted, software testing projects are benefiting from tremendous agility and a reduction in the delivery cycle from months to weeks.

Although the nature of the work remains mostly the same, ways of working have changed considerably, and have brought testing challenges in Agile.

Switching to Agile in the software development life cycle has clear benefits. It has been a boon for product owners too because their idea can be converted into a product within weeks, and with no compromise on quality. There are clear advantages to using a new system that can deliver a fast and flawless launch, but extra training and effort are needed before the whole team can accept the paradigm shift.

5 Challenges Faced by Testers in Agile

The primary role of every tester is to test, then feedback. Because the job descriptions are the same, does it matter if the project follows a traditional Waterfall vs. Agile approach? The answer is yes.

Waterfall and Agile are two Extreme Development methodologies used in the Software Development Lifecycle. The former involves a lengthy documented process, whereas the latter functions as fast-paced continuous development. To maintain the principles of Agile and cater to rapid delivery, the testing team faces several challenges. Agile testers can overcome these challenges by introducing slight changes to their mindset to bring more flexibility to their testing approach.

1. Disciplined Work Culture

An important quality expected of the role of the tester in Agile is reliability, such as ensuring their participation at the daily standup meeting. Agile is an activity that requires testers to step out of their comfort working style. The standup meeting in Agile is not just to show faces but to discuss status, progress, and issues. Thus Agile requires every tester to be proactive, accountable, aware, responsive, and an excellent communicator.

2. Friendly Terms with the Development Team

In Agile, the concept of a separate QA team does not exist. The Agile team comprises the Scrum Master, and product owner, who are joined by the developers and testers who all work together. Agile’s main objective is to deliver quality and make the customers happy. The usual way testers work is to identify defects to prove that developers are wrong. Agile brings a tremendous change to the tester’s objective. Agile expects testers to identify bugs, but not so they can show the developers’ fault, but to identify the flaw in the built product. In Agile, every member takes equal responsibility, so QA and Devs need to work together as a team. Thus, testers are needed to work with developers in a friendly way to achieve the common objective of creating a quality product. Agile requires an attitude change from considering an item as not the job of a certain person to instead thinking about how to help the overall project.

3. Adapt to working with fewer documents

When every single detail needs to be documented, it usually results in a longer development cycle. This goes against the principles of Agile, which keeps test cases lean. Agile is based on User Stories, which define the acceptance criteria. Developers use the User Stories to design and develop the product, whereas testers reference these same User Stories to plan their tests. Occasionally, user stories have been written as one-liners that contain insufficient information for the team to understand the requirement or feature development. Agile is so much more than documentation and a form of communication. It needs to involve ongoing interaction and discussion, too, with the full attention of every team member, so data can be gathered and retained during these discussions.

testing challenges in agile

4. Ready for Continuous Testing

Providing continuous feedback is vital for Agile’s success. Any change or update made to code calls not only for functional testing but rigorous regression testing also. Changing requirements towards the end of a sprint is common in Agile projects. Any alteration in scope or the introduction of an additional feature can cause strains when added to the active Sprint. It can cause problems for testers who will be required to test the new piece of code within the same timeframe, thus causing a squeezed QA window. Agile also expects the tester to be up to date with developments, and collaborative. The ideal Agile cycle is test, feedback, test, as well as learn and improve.

5. Acquire Technology Knowledge

Manual Testing does not require high technical skills, but Agile expects testers to have rich technical knowledge. Manual testing has many applications, but automation comes into the picture for delivering quick feedback and recommendations. Agile testers identify areas that are easy to automate, such as with regression test packs. They also assist in continuous testing and take part in code reviews. Therefore, testers need to maintain their expertise in the various testing and Agile tools, Agile terminologies, and add programming skills to their profiles.

Conclusion

Irrespective of the challenges and pain points faced by the testers and developers, Agile remains the preferred model for any development due to the high product success it offers. Agile improves the overall satisfaction level of customers, which explains why it has been widely adopted across the development and testing community.

Author

Priya Rani

An Enthusiastic QA Expert who loves to share knowledge and experience through blogging.