Applications of Agile Testing Methodology

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23/09/19 Information Technology Reference this

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This research chapter depicts, how agile testing methodology validate and guarantee usability, accessibility and scalability of final product to satisfy the end user. Nowadays Information technology has gone through an advanced testing methodology technique to eliminate any buddy application and converting them to new process that has additional features and improved functionality of the business process. The Agile testing methodology is the best approach to satisfied end user’s needs and it completely redefines quality of product based on every development activities. According to the facts on PMI research paper, agile application development is collaboration of incremental effort that provides business users to grab the new product functionality process much faster based on current market (Kar, 2012). Furthermore, the paper has illustrated, there were few facts why agile is become famous in software development industry. The biggest reason is risk mitigation. Usually waterfall method takes years or so to implement some functions and it is difficult to accept requirement changing while system is being developed.  That leads to waste of time, money effort of the entire project team. Since the agile is incremental process the changes are most welcome and accept by developing environment, thus avoid any risk factor that may affect on project failure.  The other reason is, agile is providing core functioning system to conduct the business while the other functions are delivered throughout the project (Kar, 2012).

Agile Testing

According to the PM research paper, the following comment has made by one of the developer, “This is agile. Testing is integrated into our iterative development process. We create tested, releasable code, each iteration, and we only release bug-free code. So, why do we need separate testing team and bug-tracking process?” (Mckenrick, 2011). The agile developing team is able to trace any bug while they are working on development process and they don’t want dedicate system to find any function errors in the system. The test plan is very critical to the agile development and test plan is defined for specific timebox that can be completed in one timebox (sprint). As agile is very time consuming approach, it is most suitable to have risk based testing techniques to identify most vulnerable area that could fail very often (Kar, 2012).   Furthermore, the agile team is more concern about user stories (system changes or requirements) as they wanted to develop product incrementally. That’s why agile team is having conversation with customer that elaborate changes or requirements. These requirements will capture in the forms of acceptance test and subsequently develop desire code. The primary output of an agile team is “potentially shippable” software (Mckenrick, 2011). That means the team is responsible for system testing as well as coding. The team will perform various tasks during a timebox such as design. Coding and testing and they should maintain thorough testing disciplines while they design and code. 

Agile Usability, Accessibility and Scalability

Usability testing in agile is experimental technique that would evaluate end user respond to the designed system. It evaluates how business user interact with final product without being released to the market. Involvement of business user is very important in agile model as they performed active part in requirement definition also they take part in system requirements. The user will translate core functions of the business in to system. The concept of usability testing is to bring out detail practice on board while system is being developed. The agile team will exchange ideas of usability testing with end users and encouraged them to discuss their experience so then agile team can get best insights into their expectation (Meszaros & Aston, 2006). The following test cycle illustrates how usability test play out during sprint (Timebox).

 

Figure 1.0 – sprint testing iteration -Source (Kaur, Jajoo, & Manisha, 2015)

Usability testing will add design stories in to project backlog and that will help agile team to priorities tasks accordingly. The automatic evaluation method is most common test in agile environment. According to the survey, the usability factors of a web site can be described as speed, response time and error rate. Subsequently that will conduct compatibility check of browsers (Ismailova & Kimsanova, 2017).

Most of agile projects rely on testing just before a product launch to ensure high degree of quality. In fact, testing need to be done during almost every developing phase (Schwalbe, 2015).  Organizations are still adopted a waterfall approach to perform accessibility testing at the end of project lifecycle that could lead to an unnecessary waste of time and money. Business users are responsible for accessibility compliance requirements of the project.  As shown in figure 1.0 user should include user stories to defined exact outcome of the product. To understand this concept, Example: Agile will carry out web accessibility test to check whether web site allow access to all target audience. The primary object of accessibility testing is to match company compliance against final product (Ismailova & Kimsanova, 2017). The agile team should have a better understanding of how person with disabilities could use assistive technology to interact with system in given platform. That is where user stories (story represents a small increment of functionality) will play major role in the testing phase and agile user interaction will produce best product along with end user’s satisfaction.

As per on Gartner research paper, Agile team could be ignored functional requirement if they over focus user stories. As he explained, user stories should meet following check list such as, Coded and reviewed, automated testing, reviewed by users, verified for production and documented for auditing (Nathan, 2017).

Scalability testing is non-functional technique that make sure system and network process functioning well on regards to the final product. It also ensures that application can handle increase in user traffic, transaction, data volume and bandwidth etc. There are other non-functional requirements that agile team should care of such as market impact, security and performance of the system (Nathan, 2017). Consequently, many stakeholders closely examined the agile development process and that would mitigate any potential risk and provide timely information about project progress. Thus, the agile team setup metrics and work accordingly to gain maximum quality by maintaining project scalability (Talby, Keren, Hazzan, & Dubinsky, 2006). Apart from the scalability, user acceptance testing is playing vital role in agile as it aims to “replicate the anticipated real life use of the product to ensure that what the consumer or end user receives is fully functional and meets their needs and expectations” (Otaduy & Diaz, 2017). As it explained further, after each iteration of development process, a runnable prototype of the product released by agile team and tested with product owner or customers (secure environment) in order to avoid new product, become openly known before its released on actual market. For many cases, acceptance testing is represented functional specifications to deliver business requirements. This is the phase where customer verified that the system satisfied their needs in agile projects (Otaduy & Diaz, 2017).

How to mitigate risk in agile testing

Agile is always adopted on risk base testing techniques. In each sprint planning meetings, product stakeholders and team (testers) would encourage to identify risk associate with the user stories under development phase. Risk based testing strategy helped agile team to use their testing efforts efficiently. Thus, high risk, high priority test cases will execute first to reduce any potential risk. Based on progression higher bugs were identified and fixed early. Agile team will carry out pair testing to check the quality of the user stories. In this phase along with team product owner was involved to demonstrate their perspective experiences. With constant changes, maintaining test environment is a challenging task also risk involved. This is where agile needs individual who are extremely good with programing as well as testing (Kar, 2012).

Agile methods encourage to have continues build and test cycles, that reduce the intervals between test. As reperch reports, testing is the greatest of all the challenges faced in agile development process (Parsons, Susnjak, & Lange, 2014). The complexity of the environment considers as higher risk in agile, for example, if the systems involves large scale project across, different locations, different programming language flat from dependencies make it difficult to design testing framework for agile. To reduce this risk, product needs to be developed in testable way by ensuring product should have common communication interface to avoid developer resistance (Parsons et al., 2014). To conclude, agile might not be perfectly fit for testing in distributed large scaling project but it is indeed a well-designed methodology that enable agile teams to improve productivity and quality to achieve higher stakeholder’s satisfaction. 

  • Ismailova, R., & Kimsanova, G. (2017). Universities of the Kyrgyz Republic on the Web: accessibility and usability. Universal Access in the Information Society : International Journal, 16(4), 1017-1025. doi:10.1007/s10209-016-0481-0
  • Kar, N. (2012). Customizing system testing discipline for agile. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2012—North America, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
  • Kaur, K., Jajoo, A., & Manisha. (2015, 26-27 Feb. 2015). Applying Agile Methodologies in Industry Projects: Benefits and Challenges. Paper presented at the 2015 International Conference on Computing Communication Control and Automation.
  • Mckenrick, C. R. (2011). Agile project management with formal requirements and test case management. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2011—North America, Dallas, TX. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
  • Meszaros, G., & Aston, J. (2006, 23-28 July 2006). Adding usability testing to an agile project. Paper presented at the AGILE 2006 (AGILE’06).
  • Nathan, W. (2017). Avoid Chaos in Agile Development by Defining When a Story Is ‘Done’. Gartner.
  • Otaduy, I., & Diaz, O. (2017). User acceptance testing for Agile-developed web-based applications: Empowering customers through wikis and mind maps. Journal of Systems and Software, 133, 212-229. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2017.01.002
  • Parsons, D., Susnjak, T., & Lange, M. (2014). Influences on regression testing strategies in agile software development environments.(Report)(Survey). Software Quality Journal, 22(4), 717(723).
  • Schwalbe, K. (2015). Information technology project management (8th ed. ed.). Boston, Mass.: Thomson Course Technology.
  • Talby, D., Keren, A., Hazzan, O., & Dubinsky, Y. (2006). Agile software testing in a large-scale project. IEEE Software, 23(4), 30-37. doi:10.1109/MS.2006.93

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