6 Strategies To Manage Your Agile Testing Life Cycle

Jun 7, 2023 | Best Practices, Best Practices, Product Insights, Test Automation Insights

agile testing cycle

Testing plays a critical role in helping developers improve the overall quality of software products. It helps you locate and fix defects before they make their way into production. Thorough software testing enhances code quality and encourages engineers to adhere to best development practices. The Agile testing life cycle transforms the process into an iterative cycle designed to promote more collaboration between developers, stakeholders, and end-users. 

What is the Agile Testing Life Cycle?

The Agile testing life cycle framework tests software built within an Agile development environment. The Agile lifecycle differs from the traditional waterfall testing method because of its iterative nature. Waterfall breaks development down into isolated phases that connect at different points. However, it doesn’t provide room for a lot of collaboration. Once one phase finishes, the project gets passed on to a different team.

Agile testing differs from waterfall in that all phases involve ongoing communication between developers, stakeholders, and testers. Below is an overview of the Agile testing life cycle. 

  • Impact assessment — The project team evaluates the potential impacts of upcoming changes, including the requirements or an individual component.  
  • Planning — Involves developing a strategy for conducting testing activities throughout the software development process. Stakeholders and developers collaborate to ensure a complete understanding of the requirements and the scope of testing. It’s also the point where the team sets up testing objectives and allocates resources.  
  • Release readiness — Used to determine whether the software product is in a state where it’s ready to be released to customers or end users. Testers review different aspects of the software, including quality, functionality, and stability. 
  • Daily scrums — Daily scrums, or daily standups, are short, time-boxed meetings where the development team and testers get their activities in sync, talk about progress, and plan out daily work. 
  • Test agility review — This practice involves reflecting on the Agile testing process to find areas where the team can improve. The group discusses their overall performance and the tools used to find actions they can take to make testing more effective in future iterations. 

How to Successfully Manage Your Agile Testing Life Cycle

Effective planning is critical to a well-managed Agile testing life cycle. An Agile team must commit to embracing the core principles of Agile. Below are some guidelines for successfully executing testing in an Agile environment. 

1. Prioritize Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

Continuous testing depends on establishing a robust CI/CD pipeline. You’ll need it to execute automated builds, testing, and deployments in your Agile environment. In addition, development teams can set up and integrate rapid code changes into a single repository. This allows for ongoing testing of new code and enables more frequent feedback to developers. 

CI/CD automation shortens the development cycle, allowing faster software delivery.  Support for continuous testing, including unit, integration, and acceptance tests, helps ensure the stability and functionality of software at each stage. 

2. Embrace Test Automation

Automation is critical to the Agile testing lifecycle. It allows for quicker and more efficient testing in Agile environments. Testers determine which scenarios are candidates for automation, then put them through the process for faster execution.  

Test Automation in Agile Methodology

Automated testing plays an essential role in supporting Agile methodology. It supports the need for Agile teams to adapt to and account for new changes by:

  • Speeding up the handling of regression testing
  • Expanding the capability of teams to execute tests in different environments
  • Promoting more communication between developers and testers

Selecting the Right Test Automation Tools

Choosing the right test automation tool for supporting Agile testing starts with a complete understanding of the requirements. If your company already has automation software, compare the performance of each to the needs of your project. Pick the one that aligns most closely with your needs. For example, if you’re building a web application, you need a testing tool capable of measuring its performance in different web browsers. 

You also need to consider critical criteria like:

  • How easy it is to develop and maintain automation scripts
  • Whether the tools is accessible to non-technical users
  • If it supports web, desktop, and mobile testing
  • Whether it provides reporting on test results

3. Implement Test-Driven Development (TDD)

Test-driven development (TDD) is a practice focused on setting up unit test cases before development starts. It combines programming, unit test construction, and refactoring. TDD offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Better code quality
  • Improved software design
  • Quicker feedback loop
  • More confidence in regression testing
  • The construction of a maintainable and expandable code base
  • Increased test coverage

4. Foster Cross-Functional Collaboration

Combining automation, CI/CD, and expanded coverage leads to improved communication between team members. It helps eliminate the silos that can occur in traditional testing. Testers and developers talk to each other at every phase, reducing miscommunications that can slow testing and put the project at risk. 

5. Adapt and Evolve Test Plans

Agile is designed to accommodate the need to make changes based on evolving conditions. It’s ideal for situations where the project scope might change or there are multiple product owners with evolving requirements. Because teams can collaborate at every stage, tests can adapt to fit the need to modify different software modules or expand the scope of the product’s functionality. 

Flexible Approach to Test Planning

While it’s good to plan, make sure your test plans leave room for potential changes. That way, you don’t get thrown off-track if there is a change in scope or a need to revamp certain portions of the software design. Be open to new ways of conducting testing, including adding new automated tests to ensure the delivery of a bug-free product. 

Techniques for Updating Test Plans in Agile Environments

Below are some techniques testers often employ when they need to change their test plans. 

  • Analyze user stories and acceptance criteria
  • Prioritize stories based on business value and user needs
  • Review the risk that comes with updates to features, defect repairs, or specific software changes
  • Perform ad hoc testing to locate defects and explore system behavior
  • Use just-in-time test planning and adapt test plans based on new information received

6. Measure and Monitor Testing Metrics

Test metrics provide you with insights into the quality of your software. You can gauge the effectiveness of your testing methods and find areas for improvement. Reviewing metrics also helps teams locate project risks. For example, you can look at defect trends and determine how to adjust your Agile testing efforts. Monitoring defects also lets you see how effectively the team has resolved issues. 

Achieve Success in Your Agile Testing Journey

Ranorex understands the importance of testing when it comes to delivering quality products to customers. Our suite of automated testing tools provides you with everything needed to establish a robust and effective testing process. Click here to request a demo of our platform.  

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