Agile Testing: Definition, Principles and Methodology


Agile methodology helps a software development team rapidly develop and test the product to reach a satisfactory result. Agile testing is part of the agile software development process and is as important as any other phase.

Agile Testing: Definitions, Principles, And Complete Roadmap agile testing

It’s time to know all about agile testing and how different agile testing methods can ensure a better quality of the projects.

Definition Of Agile Testing

Agile testing follows the principles and rules of agile software development. It is an incremental method to increase the collaboration between customers, stakeholders, and self-organizing agile teams.

It can start from the very beginning of the project with continuous integration between development and improvement. Agile testing methods don’t follow any sequence order but continue until the final product is achieved.

How Agile Testing Is Better Than Traditional Testing Methods

Let’s take one of the more traditional workflow methods into consideration, which is the waterfall model. In the waterfall agile framework, the process goes something like this:

Requirements > Design > Implementation > Verification > Maintenance

This means that the testing team doesn’t have the product in their hands till very later stages of development. But if you don’t want your reputation ruined when the product breaks into a customer’s hands, your in-house development team has to break and fix it first.

That’s where agile testing proves more useful. Since the product is being constantly tested by developers each step of the way, the product has fewer issues with the features, and it functions a lot better. It also saves you a huge cost of bug fixes because later-stage fixes come at a great cost of time and resources.

Agile Testing Principles

Here are the principles of the agile testing process:

  • Continuous Testing: The development team must test every product iteration throughout the development cycle.
  • Whole Team Approach: The product testing must include all team members for every possible feedback and best quality assurance.
  • Frequent Delivery: The team must frequently deliver working software after the testing phase.
  • Complete Collaboration: Each team member must collaborate closely to ensure no communication gap before, during, or after product testing.
  • Customer Involvement: The customer must be involved with the testing phase through continuous feedback.
  • Less Documentation: The focus should be more on working software and less on documentation unless necessary.
  • Flexible Approach: The approach to each testing phase and post-testing development has to be completely flexible. The team should have complete creative freedom to maximize functionality.

Specifications of An Agile Tester

These are the specific skills every agile tester should join the team with:

  • Communication Skills
  • Technical Skillset Based on Requirements
  • Familiarity With Automation
  • Effortless Collaboration Skills
  • Mindset To Embrace Change
  • Experience With Exploratory Testing
  • Result-Oriented Personality
  • Passion For Delivering Business Value

Agile Testing Life Cycle

The agile testing life cycle has five stages. These are:

  1. Impact Assessment: This phase gathers feedback from users and other stakeholders. It assists the test engineers in setting the objectives for the next cycle.
  2. Agile Testing Planning: All the stakeholders and members of the agile development team collaborate to plan the testing schedules.
  3. Release Readiness: This phase decides on the features ready for deployment and the features that need to be further developed before release.
  4. Daily Scrums: This stage sets the goal for each day during development with a morning meeting.
  5. Test Agility Review: This phase holds weekly meetings with the stakeholders to review the current state while assessing future goals.

Agile Testing Quadrants

Agile testing is divided into four quadrants.

First Quadrant

This quadrant focuses on the quality of the internal code by testing the following items:

  • Unit Tests
  • Component Tests

Second Quadrant

This quadrant focuses on the requirements of the project and contains test cases that are business driven. The tests include:

  • Test of Possible Workflow Scenarios
  • Test of Possible Examples
  • Test of User Experience With Different Prototypes
  • Pair Testing

Third Quadrant

This quadrant provides feedback on the past two quadrants. The test cases of this quadrant can also be used as a platform for automation testing. The tests in the third quadrant are:

  • Usability Testing
  • Exploratory Testing
  • Pair Testing With Customers
  • Collaborative Testing
  • User Acceptance Testing

Fourth Quadrant

This quadrant tests performance, security, stability, and non-functional requirements. The tests in this quadrant are:

  • Stress Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Infrastructure Testing
  • Data Migration Testing
  • Scalability Testing
  • Load Testing

5 Agile Testing Methodologies To Implement

1. Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD)

This is a customer-driven testing method where all the customers and development team members come together to create an acceptance test that focuses on the customer’s point of view.

These testing activities improve the source code depending on the feedback received from the customer’s perspective. The feedback from customers is used to keep the code clean.

2. Behavior-Driven Development (BDD)

Beahvior-Driven Development enhances ATDD and TDD (Test Driven Development). The steps of BDD are:

  • Describe the behavior
  • Write the definition of the step
  • Run and fail
  • Write codes to make the step pass
  • Run and pass

3. Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing is a method that goes on in a constant loop. While using this method, all the test engineers are given maximum flexibility to explore and test the code.

If the requirements aren’t present, the testing team can perform exploratory tests to discover the unknown risks in the development cycle.

Exploratory testing has the following steps:

  • Exploring the application in every possible way
  • Understanding the flow of the application
  • Preparing test documents
  • Test the application

4. Session-Based Testing

The session-based testing method is based on the values from exploratory testing and a more refined version. The session-based testing is done with continuous testing based on one chart, and the finding is reported to the agile team leader after each phase finishes.

Session testing ensures that the product is tested thoroughly and helps prevent any backlogs from building up during any testing phase.

5. Extreme Programming (XP)

Extreme programming is another customer-centric method that takes the customer’s requirements and continues to test and program to the customer’s requirements.

This may sound like every other testing method out there, but extreme programming focuses more on rapid iteration based on customer feedback.

Risk of Automation In Agile Testing

Though automation can speed up agile testing, there are several risks associated with agile testing:

  • The automation testing procedure is expensive to build
  • Without prior knowledge on the tester’s end, the testing team may not be able to solve the issues
  • If the tests need to be initiated manually by the testers, it can increase the risk of irregular testing, and it might fail.
  • Automated testing isn’t a direct substitute for manual testing.
  • Some tools allow us to capture and run manual testing for future reference. But storing these captured scenarios outside the system increase complexity.
  • Automation testing can fail easily with poor planning.
  • Test setup and tear-down procedures might get missed during automation testing, which can cause the test to fail.
  • Productivity metrics generated to calculate the success of automation tools can be severely misleading.
  • Automation testing requires extensive maintenance, and the system’s failure can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Automation testing may lack the expertise to deliver efficient solutions.
  • While testing, the testing method can run out of important problems and start predicting unimportant problems, which can lead the team towards working to solve insignificant issues.

To Wrap It All Up

Agile testing is the best method to keep up with the rapid iterations and changes of the agile method, with continuous testing to ensure the product’s quality during different development phases.

Want to be more efficient with agile testing? Collaborate with our team at Impala Intech for the best test results throughout your software development life cycle!

What Separates Agile Testing From Traditional Testing Methodologies?

Agile testing deploys an improved product version while the development is in progress. Traditional methods like waterfall testing wait for the product to be developed before the testing phase begins.

What Is the Agile Testing Quadrant?

The agile testing method is divided into four quadrants, each focusing on certain elements of the entire product. After passing all the quadrants, a high-quality product is ready to fulfill the customer’s requirements.

What’s the Most Important Quality of an Agile Tester?

Communication is the most important skill for any agile tester to have. Agile projects require the entire team to stay on the same page during development and testing, and communication ensures each individual has an agile testing mindset.

Are All Metrics Produced in Agile Testing Always Accurate?

It depends on the approach to testing of the agile testing team. Automation testing might produce inaccurate metrics that can be highly misleading compared to manual testing.

Is Agile Testing the Future of Software Testing?

Since more and more software development organizations adapt to agile methodologies, agile software testing practices will become increasingly mainstream in product development.