Agile Testing Explained By Industry Expert
Businesses around the world are continuously moving away from the Waterfall model of software development to the Agile model – founded on the principles of the Agile Manifesto, written by a pivotal group of software developers many years ago.
The manifesto, written during a ski resort vacation in 2001, has taken on a life of its own and been adopted by IT departments worldwide who want to become more collaborative and efficient in their development. It even has a website where developers can go and become signatory contributors to help evangelize and translate the methodology, helping it to expand and evolve.
“Most companies don’t realize all the benefits and the expectations garnered by implementing Agile methodology,” said Dave Sufrinko, leader of Agile Services at Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DYSIS). “There are many flavors of agile and the benefits are enormous.”
DISYS, a global managed services and staffing firm based in McLean Virginia, has a proven and tested Agile framework with comprehensive training programs for clients who wish to switch to this methodology. DISYS also stands behind the objective of an Agile Maturity Model (AMM) to independently evaluate an organization’s Agile transformation, adoption and performance.
Sufrinko, who has more than 30 years of experience designing and implementing testing centers of excellence at Fortune 500 companies, says one of the primary differences between the commonly used Waterfall methodology and Agile is within the testing practices.
“Within Agile, most of the responsibilities are shared responsibilities,” he said. “People do not work within silos.”
Sufrinko hosted a DISYS webinar on “Agile Development – Roles and Responsibilities of an Agile Tester,” in which he outlined the differences between Waterfall testers and Agile testers.
“Roles and responsibilities of a QA/Test Engineer do not change whether using a Waterfall or Agile Development methodology,” he said. “Only the timing and method in performing and completing test taskings differ in Agile Methodology.”
For instance, within an Agile environment, the understanding requirements phase isn’t performed upfront before a project begins – it is a constant interaction within the team and with the product owners during each sprint cycle.
A sprint, Sufrinko explains, is a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review, usually lasting a few weeks – but never longer than 4 weeks. During each sprint, teams create a shippable product, no matter how basic it is and then review it with the business owner at the end of the sprint.
“At the end of each sprint, the goal is to have developed/created potentially shippable software,” he said. “Demonstration is a big part of Agile after each sprint. Business owners can then accept or reject the progress. This ensures the project is always on track and working the way expected at the end of each sprint. The product adjusts and adapts based on feedback at the end of every sprint.”
Test cases also, within Agile, are evolving based on each sprint, whereas in the waterfall methodology, they are created upfront, at the beginning of a project.
“The test cases for Agile are called stories,” he said. “And they evolve as the development evolves and sprints are completed – allowing for change and growth in the development.”
He also adds that quality responsibility within Agile is not only managed by the QA engineer but the entire team.
“Within Agile development and testing, responsibilities are shared,” he said. “QA is not a separate unit – the QA engineers are embedded within the team and working side-by-side with developers, project managers and business owners.”
Sufrinko explains more about Agile testing and development in his webinar on DISYS’ YouTube Channel. You can watch the full webinar, “Agile Development – Roles and Responsibilities of an Agile Tester.”
Note: Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DISYS) is a global managed staffing and services company with core capabilities in managed staffing services, agile services, application development, business intelligence, cloud enablement and enterprise resource management. More webinars can be found on the DISYS YouTube channel and DISYS case studies and whitepapers can be found on DISYS.com.