As important as it is to build a great product or create a sophisticated software, testing is the only way to know, without a doubt, what the real quality of the product is and how it will function in real time, once released to the end-consumer. Ignoring the testing phase can expose the company to easily avoidable and costly risks – in terms of time, financial costs, and reputation. While testing should be intrinsic to the software development lifecycle, it is often overlooked in the race to release the software first and fastest in the market. Agile development mitigates many of these risks. In agile development, testing is integrated in the development process of the product instead of relegating it to a separate phase in the end of the lifecycle.

When it comes to agile testing, here are some of the best practices for businesses to adopt:

Collaborative team structure

The success of the agile development process is contingent upon active and continuous collaboration between developers, QA managers and testers to be able to deliver a bug-free, sophisticated and cutting-edge software that predicts users’ future needs and adds immense value to their experience with the business in the shortest possible turn-around time.

Early inclusion of testers
When testers are included as active contributors in the planning stage, particularly while analysing user requirements and drawing a roadmap to merge them with business objectives, it ensures that testing becomes an integral part of the development process, and doesn’t get the short shrift due to time and budget constraints at a later stage. It also gives testers a head start, equipping them to develop test scripts in tandem with product features. This helps both testers and developers, because any changes in requirements or software functionality can then be easily accommodated within every process without too much loss of time or financial resources.

Continuous feedback
Maintaining the integrity of the software cannot be the sole responsibility of the testing team. To ensure that quality becomes the combined team’s responsibility, it is important to emphasise the importance of testers to developers, so that they don’t consider testing a dispensable process, but as one that is central to ensure that the software is of the highest quality. When developers and testers work in silos, neither team takes complete ownership of the product or its quality, and there is a possibility of a disconnect between each team’s understanding of the software’s intended purpose, desired functionality, and what the target audience for it. It is therefore important to promote a process that involves continuous sharing of feedback from the customer to both programmers and testers, as well as between programmers and testers.

Leveraging specialised skills of test-driven development
In test-driven development, tests are written before, or simultaneously, as the software code is written. There are several advantages to this approach – particularly, that this ensures that testing timelines are not overlooked while creating a schedule for release, and that there are measurable, time-structured quality goals attached to each sprint within the project.  Test-driven testing also allows for a smoother incorporation of changes. Additions to the software can be made sequentially, and released in incremental sprints, while allowing developers and testers to analyse and identify critical areas that might require changes in the future. When test scripts are written in the developmental stage, it helps the team achieve greater accuracy, and test the product in a more in-depth manner, which ultimately benefits both the customer and the business.

Automating regression testing
We’ve discussed previously how test automation can drastically increase effectiveness of testing, its efficiency, and also the coverage of testing. As consumer needs become more demanding and exacting, businesses are constantly under the pressure to roll out new features, which means their testing needs grow exponentially as well. While on the one hand new features need to be independently tested and debugged for release on an aggressive timeline, on the other, businesses need to undertake regression testing of already implemented features to check for compatibility with new functionalities with each release. Automating this recursive testing process by predefining actions, comparing the results to expected behaviours, and reporting their success or failure to the test engineer can save the business a lot of time and money. Since these tests are automated, they can be repeated as often as required, shaving off valuable time prior to release.

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