Debunking Myths about Agile Testing
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - December 4, 2019
With agile development becoming a cultural touchpoint for software development, nothing becomes more important to understand every aspect of its functioning. For software testers, understanding Agile testing means being future-ready and compatible with the constant innovations in the tech market.
As with anything too popular or frequently used, agile testing has run into a few myths which need to be debunked. This article aims to do just that so that one knows exactly what not to do or believe in when using this testing method to gain better results.
Myth 1: Agile Testing is done only when necessary
Every sprint in agile development begins with planning budget, resources, and testing. While the planning is not as rigid as that in the waterfall model, it always takes testing into account. In fact, test cycles are planned for every sprint in accordance with the user stories that developers intend to address in that sprint. Testing is central to the success of an agile development lifecycle and is executed religiously until the resulting product meets all requirements.
Myth 2: Agile Testing is all about the tools
The right testing tools certainly enable efficiency. For example, if a tester has to conduct cross browser compatibility testing to ensure that a website works with multiple browsers and browser versions (including older ones), it is best to use a platform designed for exactly that purpose. BrowserStack, for example, offers access to 2000+ real browsers and devices for live manual interactive cross browser testing and automated selenium testing. Instead of setting up and maintaining an in-house device lab, simply sign up, select device-browser-OS combinations and start testing.
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However, it is important to note that what makes agile testing (and development) successful is its emphasis on collaboration among individuals and teams. Streamlining development and testing cycles for maximum efficiency is achieved primarily by a change in the mindset of the people involved. For example, test teams must be included in sprint meetings, so that they are involved from the very beginning i.e. user story identification. This enables better detection of issues right from the start so that development and testing can be planned accordingly.
Myth 3: Agile Testing is undocumented and haphazard
Agile processes consider documentation as important as any other aspect. But its point is not to have documentation for the sake of it. In agile, documentation exists on an ad-hoc basis.
Since swift communication facilitates collaboration, it would be counter-productive to abandon all documentation. Instead, agile encourages face-to-face communication as much as possible, so that the process moves faster. However, teams usually receive guidelines and requirements in the form of documentation. Additionally, a good agile team documents changes to code so that they can be aware of what works and what does not.
Myth 4: Developers can handle all the testing in agile teams. Dedicated testers are not needed.
In agile teams, developers and testers do not operate in watertight workspaces. Testing is built into every sprint and is often done by both developers and testers. But testers remain a very important part of the agile workflow. Consistent and iterative testing is the foundation of bug-free software.
The role of testers is more proactive in agile circles. Testers constantly collaborate with developers to ensure that every feature of a product is fully functional and aligned with all business and technical requirements. By identifying bugs early on in development, the code expands with minimal anomalies. This means testers have to find bugs, report and sometimes replicate them so that they can be eliminated before the end of each sprint.
A steady understanding of how testing works in agile development is the best way to implement it. Since testing goes hand-in-hand with every step of development in this method, testers must know exactly how to schedule and conduct tests in ways that yield the best results. Since organizations are increasingly going agile to get improved software quality and faster time to market at reduced costs, knowing how agile testing works makes a tester a much greater asset to their clients, employers, and teams.