By Nadine Parmelee, Senior Quality Assurance Engineer
When it comes to software quality and reliability, there are many benefits to be gained from a switch to an agile development environment. Agile helps teams stay focused; it helps them deliver a quality product more quickly. It drives efficiency and leads to improved results throughout the software production process.
Automated Testing: A Must-Have in an Agile Environment
An agile environment requires automated testing. And with more and more development teams moving to agile processes, the need for automated testing has grown exponentially. Agile test cycles tend to limit the amount of testing that can be accomplished, so getting a good regression set of tests automated is more crucial than ever for you to reach your goals of increasing product quality and reducing costs associated with product defects.
Freeing Up Your Manual Testers
Letting an automated suite of scripts validate your standard functionality frees up your manual testers to focus on reducing the risks associated with product defects. Don’t forget those data driven automation scripts to help you get as many data points as possible in your testing coverage.
Planning for Test Automation
Automation’s usefulness in agile environments extends far beyond regression and data-driven testing. Your ability to use automation as part of agile development will depend on how modular your code is, whether you use web services or have some other middleware layer, and the overall degree of project complexity.
More and more, we even see clients that don’t want to wait for a stable GUI before taking steps to automate some of their functionality. With careful planning before the coding process begins, automation can be used to help make the testing process quicker and even more efficient than before. If your code is modular, and if you are using middleware or web services, you can automate tests specific to that middleware and bypass the GUI to help increase the testing coverage.
If your business logic is at the GUI level or your code is fairly complex and interwoven, this may not work out. In that case, as you look to new features, consider moving the business logic back from the GUI level and making the code more modular to help you test more accurately and efficiently earlier in the development process.
Using Agile Elements to Streamline Schedules
Many project teams, even though they don’t follow a pure agile approach, are incorporating some agile concepts to try and streamline their time-to-release and project schedules. Watching for opportunities to increase automation, even in small ways, will help your test team adjust to the change in tempo they will experience as they add agile elements.
It’s important to understand that automated testing is essential in an agile development environment. Adding automation in creative ways increases project quality. When done effectively, it will increase your testing team’s efficiency by reducing or eliminating redundant manual testing. So what’s the end result? A better, more reliable software product delivered in less time and with less effort!