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Peculiarities of Agile Methodology in Testing: Principles & 4 Methods

By Ivanna Nösel
Updated: January 21, 2021, first publication: December 2020

Agile methodology in testing is becoming increasingly important in today's software development. The Agile Manifesto (AgM) recommends a lightweight approach to achieve iterative and efficient development through frequent communication and self-organization in the team.

Testing in agile development projects differs from classic testing primarily in that testing is a preventive measure and that tests must be executed much more frequently. These requirements are first met through continuous integration and test automation.

Keep reading to know more about the principles of agile testing and discover 4 methods!

What is Agile Testing?

Agile testing is a software testing process as part of an agile software development project.

  • It requires a focus on supporting the development team.
  • Many characteristics of agile testers also help a traditional tester, but the associated problems are not as obvious and therefore not solved by every project team.
  • Agile testing follows the principles of the agile manifesto and applies the agile principles to testing.
agile-testing© Shutterstock/Kalakruthi

How does Agile Testing differ from traditional testing?

Features of Agile Testing Features of Classic Testing
  • self-organized,
  • ideally no external project manager,
  • certainly no external test manager
  • Test planning
  • Test estimation and test organization
  • Test creation and test execution
  • Test monitoring, test control, and documentation
  • Component test (also called unit test, module test, or class test): functionality of individual components is tested.
  • Integration test: Interaction of individual components is tested.
  • System test: Entire system is tested against requirements internally.
  • Acceptance test: Entire system is tested against requirements by customers.
Process It doesn't run the test stages sequentially (all tasks run in parallel in one iteration)
  • All test stages run consecutively.
  • Many documents are created, such as test concepts, test plans or test protocols.
agile-testing© agilecoachjournal

6 Key Agile Principles

  1. Early and continuous delivery of efficient software, thus satisfying the client.
  2. Direct and daily collaboration between subject matter experts and developers.
  3. Software is built incrementally and in short iterations.
  4. Direct communication face to face as the most efficient and effective way of information exchange.
  5. Functioning software means project progress.
  6. Concentration on the essentials, i.e. explicit and regular decision on what to leave out.

4 Agile Testing Methodologies

Behavior Driven Development (BDD)

Behavior Driven Development is a technique of agile software development cycle that strengthens the cooperation between quality management and business analysis in software development projects.

In BDD, the tasks, goals, and results of the software are recorded in a specific text form during the requirements analysis, which can later be executed as automated tests and thus the software can be tested for correct implementation.

Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD)

Acceptance Test-Driven Development is a communication tool between the customer/users, the developers, and the testers to ensure that the requirements are well described. ATDD does not require automation of test cases, although this would be helpful for regression testing.

The tests in ATDD must be readable by non-developers. The tests of test-driven development can in many cases be derived from the tests of acceptance test-driven development.

Exploratory Testing

Massive test automation has its advantages when it comes to early regression avoidance. However, despite massive test automation, there are still gaps in test coverage. These gaps can be closed in a targeted and also structured way with Exploratory Testing. In agile projects, however, test teams no longer have to search for the simplest errors due to the massive test coverage, but can restrict themselves specifically to the important and error-prone areas.

Session-Based Testing

Session-Based Testing is based on exploratory testing. One problem with exploratory testing is traceability - what was tested, how was it tested, what were the results. In classical test cases, you can see at a glance whether the test was successful or not.

SBT solves this problem by so-called session sheets. These describe:

  • who?
  • has tested when?
  • with which data?
  • on which environment/ browser/...?
  • etc.

Risks in Scrum Testing and How to Overcome them

  • All testing is the responsibility of the team and the product owner.
  • The product owner only tests acceptance cases.
  • The team only performs developer testing and implements unit tests.
  • Test quality is low because methodical system tests are missing!
  • Superior quality management lacks an adequate contact person for test-methodical aspects and process improvements.
  • The Inspect-and-Adapt mechanism in Scrum neglects test aspects!
  • Responsibility for product quality is primarily perceived from the developer's point of view.

💡 Any solutions in sight?

To minimize or resolve potential resistance to implementing agile practices, it is necessary for companies to understand agile testing as a holistic approach:

  • Close collaboration between developers and agile testers is an absolute prerequisite: individuals and interactions take precedence over processes and tools.
  • Developers need full technical and methodological support, testers must be involved in the respective processes as an essential part of sprint planning.
  • Documentation is subordinated to the functionality of the software and short-term reaction to changes is more important than following a plan.

Thus it is important to use efficient testing software to be sure to automate and track all your workflows.

✅ Tools such as BugBug will help you to create test automation by:

  1. recording what you do in the browser;
  2. letting you edit everything and run it on your computer or in the cloud;
  3. saving you a lot of time and effort to be able to finish projects faster.

Agile Testing: Faster, Better, Further

Agile testing is a contemporary way to achieve faster and better results in modern software development. Although the switch to agile methods requires a change in thinking, it holds a lot of potential and frees up resources for other areas.

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