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Best Practices for an Agile QA Process

Introduction

Most end users are not aware of how a software product or application passes through different stages before it comes into use in real-time. Among them, there is one stage i.e. testing stage where the product or application is tested for every sort of error or issue. Before launching them in the market it has become a common practice to perform testing or QA of every application and software to get rid of issues and errors.

There are many methodologies to test software and mobile applications. How we choose the testing technique entirely depends on the type of software to be tested and what are the expected end results. One of the most important testing techniques which are favorite among the testing services providers is Agile Testing.

What is Agile Testing?

To understand Agile Testing, first of all, we must be familiar with the idea of Agile Software Development. In the Agile development methodology, the primary concern is delivering a product with minimal functionalities to the client at the earliest. In this process of development with every delivery, more concerning features, dependable capabilities, and functionalities are added to the product. In the end, this method of development and delivering application leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction.

When a QA team performs tests using Agile methodology, testing is not done during one phase, but testing is done iteratively with every release. While adopting this testing approach, Agile testing involves a certain set of rules and principles, these are followed throughout the process. This approach should be adopted from the very starting stage of the development of the project and then it is taken forward with every development module. In this type of software testing, an incremental approach to testing is followed and the features are tested as they are developed. Hence this approach of testing often ensures minimal damage and risk in the end application.

Depending upon the benefits and very effective results every development and testing company prefers to use Agile Testing in their testing process. However, there are some best Agile testing practices that should be followed to get the desired results. Some of the best testing practices that are suggested are the following:

  1. Team Collaboration

    As we know that in an Agile Testing environment the testing begins from the very early stages of a project. So to achieve the best and effective results, every unit or block is required to be tested correctly so that at the end best can be delivered. This would be possible only if the developers and testers communicate well and stay in touch to find errors and fix them as soon as possible. So it must be ensured that a close relationship between testers, developers, and business analysts should be there for a smooth testing and delivery process. The test cases, related user stories, and user acceptance criteria must clear and be well prepared by team collaboration.

  2. Provide and get Continuous Feedback

    Feedback is one of the most important ingredients of Agile testing. As it’s commonly observed that changes or the addition of new features in a product often influence the test plan and hence affect the product quality also. So it is important that the QA Lead needs to be fully engaged in decisions with product owners and development teams, it helps in updating and preparing QA estimates and Test Plans.

    Moreover, the QA people can inquire from programmers if the present information is enough to understand the requirements and whether that information is sufficient for their coding structure. In the same way, QA can interact with customers if the quality of the product can be further improved.

  3. Focus on Automation Regression Testing

    Now the question arises, can an agile team succeed without following the test automation? There is no doubt that automated regression testing considerably reduces the risk of failure. In the Agile Framework, the main focus of the team is on the functionality part, which is planned for the sprint. So during a sprint, the team focuses on a particular development area, hence one cannot expect them to take into account the risk factors that will arise to the entire system. So a focused regression test will highlight the areas affected by the team’s current changes over the codebase while assuming that coverage is sufficient.

    QA should execute the regression testing shortly after changes are implemented, preferably Automation Regression testing as a part of the build process. It should be noted that if the feedback comes late, the team might face problems as they might have implemented changes in other areas of the system.

  4. Adopt Agile Testing mindset

    Remember that agile development is totally a people-centric approach. So make sure to follow the principles and values will guide you toward collaboration among stakeholders and the development team. One of the most important components of the agile testing mindset is the urge to continually lookout for better and more systematic methods.

    An agile mindset comprises of some aspects of attitudes that include respect, collaboration, pride in ownership, focus on delivering value, and the ability to adapt to the changes. This is the need of the Agile environment to have that mindset to cultivate high-performing teams, who are able to deliver amazing results and value-driven returns for their customers.

    This mindset is nothing but the aura of an environment within which agile teams thrive to excellence. If this mindset is cultivated and nourished, in the Agile Development framework, then the teams and the company will experience the amazing results; and this definitely will make customers elated with the results.

  5. Defining the Scope of Agile Testing

    Since there are only a few days (2 to 3) allocated for testing and bug fixing at the end of each sprint. In this scenario, the Test Plan should clearly define what the expectations are there in terms of code quality for performing the sprint demo. It is also necessary to define all types of tests that have to run during a sprint. As in the early sprints, a lot of new functionality is being developed so in early sprints more time should be given for the testing.

    In the later sprints, the code matures, then it’s obvious that more time should be allocated for automated testing and performance testing, as well as negative testing. If the complexity of the product demands, then 1-2 sprints should be exclusively devoted to testing and bug fixing.

  6. Identifying potential Risks and Easing Strategies

    It is very important that the Test Plan should identify the most vulnerable risks that can pose the threat to the functionality of the application. Suppose, a particular feature is very complex in nature and it demands its testing at the multiple execution paths or levels. But during sprint planning, there may be insufficient time allocated to test. So after discussing the risks(with the client) an easy strategy should be followed. That strategy allocates more resources to do the testing or pick the execution paths which the end customers are most likely to execute.

Summary

In an agile team, it is the responsibility of each team member to focus on quality. However, It’s the best time to show your extra efforts and skills by sharing your expertise with the team members to build quality products in the development process. The Goal is no longer in finding bugs and defects, but there need to be efforts to prevent them from recurring again.
In a nutshell, the team should collaborate with customers to implement the agile practices and values to make good quality products.

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