Defining the Mysterious Phenomenon Known as Agile Testing

Crop circles. Bigfoot. Agile Testing. At least one of these should not be a mystery. Agile Testing is, in fact, quite comprehendible and a highly essential and effective component of the Agile method. Agile Testing values the quality of the end product just like testing under any other methodology—but it’s a more collaborative and flexible approach to ensure testing keeps pace with rapid Agile development.

With the fast pace of Agile, there is rarely time to test everything so requirements must be prioritized and testing automation is deployed where possible. Adaptability is key, as features and requirements can change significantly from sprint to sprint. Exploratory testing is used to accelerate the time from cde delivery to testing completion—the goal is not documentation, but to create code that actually works.

This adaptability is why an agile team needs broader, cross-functional skill sets, compared to a traditional waterfall tester. Testing need to be collaborative, where communication is regular and fluid, and developers and testers work together to define how the approach to testing will move forward. There is no one prescription for performing successful agile testing. The team must work together to determine what is the most effective and efficient approach in every unique situation. Agile testing demands that a complete testing toolkit is available and that testers keep up with the current trends in the space. To guide the decision making process, it’s helpful to keep these three central tenets of the Agile Manifesto in clear focus:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

While Agile testing will not mean the same method is applied in every situation, it does have an underlying philosophy and approach that can be clearly understood and applied to keep testing at the same high standard as the rest of Agile.

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