Agile quality assurance is a term that is becoming increasingly popular among technology teams. It is a methodology that focuses on delivering high-quality software in a fast and flexible manner. In this article, we will explore what agile QA looks like, and how you can achieve greater flexibility and speed in your QA process.
What is the Agile Manifesto?
The Agile Manifesto is a set of guiding principles for agile software development. It emphasizes working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, responding to change over following a plan, and individuals and interactions over a tool and processes. Many teams adopt agile methodologies to improve their software development process, but they may mistakenly believe that they can eliminate QA in the process. In reality, QA is more important than ever in an agile team, as the goal is not just to find bugs and defects, but also to prevent them during the development cycle.
What steps can QA teams take to align with the principles of the Agile Manifesto?
Everyone on an agile team is accountable for quality. The QA team should work closely with developers, product managers, and other stakeholders to ensure that the software meets the needs of the customers and the quality level they expect. To meet the Agile Manifesto, QA teams can focus on four key aspects:
- Add QA documentation where it brings value.
- Always look for automation opportunities.
- Understand your customers and ensure that you know the quality level they expect.
- Automate smartly – the right things.
One of the key aspects of agile QA is automation. Automation is crucial because it allows you to react quickly to changing priorities and have a constant measure of quality. Automation also makes your testing more efficient, repeatable, and easier to track. When automating, it is important to understand your customers and ensure that you know the quality level they expect. This will help you automate smartly, by automating the right things.
Another important aspect of agile QA is involving QA members throughout the whole agile process. QA should be a part of the team and should be involved in standup, retros, demos, and planning sessions. Pairing up on a task and talking about how to test a story is the key to this. By involving QA earlier, you have a better chance of meeting delivery at high-quality considerations.
8 essential strategies for QA professionals on agile teams:
- Join the agile team and work together: By being part of the team, QA can assist in continuous testing, rather than just at the end of a sprint. This allows for a greater impact on the delivery of the product. Also, QA should be involved in daily stand-ups, retros, and demos to stay informed about dependencies between stories and what additional testing is necessary.
- Focus on the customer: Agile methodologies focus on the customer and require understanding their usage of the product. Combining this knowledge with an understanding of the working system helps define tests and scenarios. Additionally, understanding the design of the product can aid in identifying potential edge cases and uncovering assumptions that could negatively impact the final product.
- Automate your key tests: Automation is very important in agile testing to avoid retesting and falling behind. QA professionals should provide black-box testing while developers focus on white-box testing. Automated tests can be created and included in the development pipeline for engineers to use, and can be based on acceptance criteria in developer stories to ensure the product works correctly.
- Test manually for the right reasons: Exploratory testing is a method used to identify gaps in automated tests by asking “what if” questions and testing those scenarios. It should not involve repetitive manual processes. Investing time in exploratory testing can give the team more confidence that they haven’t missed any critical bugs or loss of functionality.
- Continually improve: Drive continuous improvement of testing practices, become an agile testing expert, and help build maintainable test suites.
- You must have excellent product knowledge: Work closely with your product team and become familiar with the product.
- Shift left: Run tests as soon as you can and in smaller batches.
- Shift right: Use real-world scenarios and events as a guide for monitoring, identifying, investigating, and correcting problems.
10 Steps to Implementing an Agile Quality Assurance Process
- Story kick-off.
- Test data preparation.
- Test scenario writing/documenting.
- Automate test scenarios.
- Business Analyst (BA)/QA Volleyball.
- Test the story.
- User Acceptance Testing(UAT)/ Release testing
- Defect reporting and verification.
In conclusion, it is crucial to keep in mind that a software product’s quality is not determined by the QA team alone. For quality, the entire team is accountable. It’s crucial to consider, clarify, enhance, and move forward with improving processes if you want to increase the flexibility and efficiency of your QA process. Your QA process can be significantly improved by using automation to add more value.