Understanding the role and types of Agile methodologies in testing automation.
The Agile approach fulfills the need for shorter development cycles and incremental releases amid the competitive software development and testing landscape. Adopting the Agile methodology in testing improves the ability of product development companies to adapt to changes and drives them to become competitive and productive.
Agile methodology in the SDLC
Agile is a group of methodologies that demonstrate a commitment to accelerate feedback cycles and continuous improvement. Agile testing is a software testing approach that follows the best practices of Agile Development (iteration and collaboration) as a foundation. The testing process integrates with the software development process as against split into 2 different phases. Testing at every step throughout the development cycle makes testers work in tandem with developers to deliver outcomes at high speed, frequency, and quality.
Agile as indicated earlier is about flexible development cycles that respond quickly to customer demand. This further means that there is a continuous, two-way DevOps software pipeline built between the product and end-users: the idea of Continuous Delivery from the very start. DevOps continuous delivery is a software development strategy that optimizes the delivery process to obtain high-quality software for users at the earliest. (Scrum and Kanban are currently the two main types of agile process frameworks). Unlike the Waterfall model, Agile software development and testing are concurrent activities, and with the help of team collaboration ensures continuous coordination among all project stakeholders. The Agile software testing approach tests an application right from the initial phase of the SDLC. Agile testing typically spans the following SDLC stages:
- Initialization stage (or Iteration 0)
- Development and iteration stage
- Deployment and release stage
- Production stage
Why Is Agile Test Automation Important?
Test automation is critical to agile testing as it facilitates continuous integration in a more straightforward manner. On the contrary, manual testing is less efficient in handling aspects of extensive test coverage, regression testing, and puts more pressure on delivering software quality promptly. Agile testers must ensure a high degree of automation for continuous feedback and iteration in the event of a code-change.
Development companies also must accelerate their product releases and shorten the time to market. This means faster development and testing without any compromise on the product quality. Agile test automation enables QA teams to create automatic test cases to execute any time the "new" product code is posted to the code repository. Agile test automation can be implemented using frameworks like Selenium and CI/CD tools like Jenkins that help with:
- Developing test cases in sync with the application needs.
- Executing test cases automatically on every new code added to the application.
- Verifying automatically if the added code is bug-free and does not adversely impact any existing features.
Main types of Agile Methods in Testing
Easily the most popular Agile method, Scrum focuses on managing tasks within a small team of Agile developers and testers. In short, it breaks down the Agile development process into smaller units (or Sprints). As a result, the entire Agile team focuses on planning and managing one sprint at a time. Besides the development and testing team, Scrum has multiple user roles, including product owner and Scrum master. Further, the Scrum method supports continuous deliveries, where developers and testers prioritize any overdue (or incomplete) sprint.
Introduced as a concept in lean manufacturing, Kanban (or visual board) is now widely used in Agile development. Kanban uses visual tools or methods to manage the Agile project. For instance, Agile teams can "visually" see their progress (or what comes next).
The Kanban Board depicts any ongoing development project under three columns, namely:
- To Do
3.Dynamic Software Development Method (DSDM)
DSDM emerged as a standard framework for ensuring rapid software delivery in the industry. In essence, DSDM provides a defined structure to plan, execute, and scale Agile-based development. Like Scrum, DSDM also uses sprints. DSDM is the Rapid Application Development or RAD approach to software development. It is suitable for organisations that prioritize quick development, break-down bureaucracy and improving communication across teams.
Essentially, the following eight fundamental principles drive DSDM:
- On-time delivery
- Focus on business needs
- Zero compromises on product quality
- Incremental product building
- Iterative development
- Continuous and clear communication
4.Extreme Programming (XP)
XP focuses on continuous development and delivery using Sprints. This method is highly recommended when customers constantly change their requirements, or product functionality is not clearly defined. XP supports product releases at highly frequent intervals using short development cycles. Moreover, it uses a "checkpoint" to incorporate any modified customer requirements.
Further, XP-based projects are tested right from the initial stage and incorporate user feedback. It also supports the following development-related processes:
- Customer acceptance tests
- Test-driven development
- Continuous integration
- Smaller releases
- Project planning
5.Lean Software Development
Lean development bases itself on the principle of Just-in-time development and aims to remove anything that does not add value to the project. Some of this method's principles include eliminating waste, creating knowledge, delivering quickly, and deferring commitment. Lean allows team members in decision-making as it is fast and effective in comparison to the hierarchical flow of control. It focuses on the proficient implementation of resources and ensures maximum productivity.
Why choose ACCELQ for Agile test automation?
ACCELQ helps QA teams can reduce their test automation efforts by 70% and improve their productivity by three times. With its one-of-a-kind codeless test automation, ACCELQ provides embedded Agile frameworks for modularity and reusability. With this platform teams can realize faster and effective development and lower maintenance thus actively aiding continuous delivery. Want to know how? Get in touch today for a product demo!
VP Sales Engineering
Nishan is a tech strategist with expertise in Test Automation and roles at giants like TCS, Microfocus, and Parasoft. At ACCELQ, he champions Strategic Alliances, cultivating global tech partnerships. Educated at Leeds University and Symbiosis Pune, he also possesses an engineering background from Bangalore.