Agile Fundamentals for Testers

Agile refers to an umbrella of frameworks and methodologies that build software iteratively and continuously delivering quality products to customers. Unlike in waterfall development, where activities like design, development, and testing are done in separate phases, Agile entails merging those stages into increments where the stages are done in [parallel.

Undoubtedly, having to deliver software frequently entails that it should be built with quality – each every time. This This article will focus on some fundamentals that could help testers understand Agile better.

What is Agile?

Agile software development is a set of principles that revolve around iterative software development. As supported by the Agile Manifesto, it prioritises individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and responding to change over processes and tools, comprehensive documentation, contract negotiation, and following a plan, respectively.

There are many frameworks that implement Agile practices. Scrum is one of them, and it is an incremental way of building software through the usage of ceremonies and artefacts in consistent time-boxes called Sprints. Another popular Agile framework is Kanban, which means “visual card” in Japanese. Originally a lean manufacturing process for cars, Kanban is all about visualising the work through cards and swim-lanes as well as efficiently maintaining the flow of work through limiting works in progress. There are more frameworks that are worth to mention: Extreme Programming, Crystal, and Feature Driven Development.

Within each framework, going Agile means being continuous in many aspects: improvement, delivery, or deployment, to name a few. What the different Agile frameworks have in common is being able to empathise with the customers and their needs, addressing them through their cross-functionality and self-organisation, and delivering value incrementally. For testers, this means having to be highly collaborative and adaptive with the changes that happen within the project as well as rethinking the traditional ways of testing software.

QA and Testing Challenges in Agile

The immediate challenge of Agile testing is keeping up with the shorter time-boxes of iterations. Not only do testers need to ensure proper testing coverage, they also have to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible within the given time-frame. Moreover, collaborating closely with stakeholders and having shorter feedback loops can also contribute to changes in requirements, which will take effect as soon as the Product Owner deems them to be for development. This is all part of continuously improving the product, and Agile teams are challenged to keep up with the pace and manage the flow.

A common problem in Agile Testing is having less available time for QA, due to deadlines and rapid deliveries. While there was a lot of time for planning and designing tests in Waterfall projects, Agile testers have to do those tasks in a much shorter time frame as they also have to be able to execute tests for the application before the changes get deployed to the production stages. This also means that regression testing will not always have the desired coverage, unless the QA team is large enough.

Another challenge in Agile Testing is being able to keep up with the pace of requirement and feature changes. Sometimes, the customers want to adapt to their market, while other times, a better way to design and implement the feature could be thought of in the middle of development. It is the job of the Agile tester to be able to adapt accordingly as well as to help make everyone be on the same page as well.

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Our Book Recommendations

We found these books great for finding out more information on Agile Scrum:

Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Tester With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

Introductory Offer: Free Course

Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Tester With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

What is this course?

This ‘Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Tester With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)’ provides an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Tester roles and responsibilities

You will explore the Agile Scrum project life-cycle, including how an Agile User Story is created, to how we know when it is ‘done’

This course is aimed at those with or without prior knowledge and experience of the Agile values and principles

During this course you will learn the tools needed to succeed as an Agile Scrum Tester

What will you learn?

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Tester roles and responsibilities, and you will be able to

  • Fully understand the role of the Agile Scrum Tester
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team
  • Fully understand the role of the Agile Scrum Developer
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team

What topics are covered within this course

You will cover the following topics during this course:

  1. An Introduction to Agile Project Management (Tester)
  2. The 12 Agile Principles (Tester)
  3. Introduction to Scrum (Tester)
  4. Scrum Projects (Tester)
  5. Scrum Project Roles (Tester)
  6. Quality in Agile (Tester)
  7. Acceptance Criteria and the Prioritised Product Backlog (Tester)
  8. Quality Management in Scrum (Tester)
  9. Epics and Personas (Tester)
  10. Planning in Scrum (Tester)
  11. Scrum Boards (Tester)
  12. User Stories (Tester)
  13. The Daily Scrum (Tester)
  14. The Product Backlog (Tester)
  15. Review and Retrospective (Tester)
  16. Validating a Sprint (Tester)