Scrum Testing: A Detailed Guide to Testing on an Agile Team
Software Quality Assurance 05-Oct-2023
In today’s advancing and fast-paced world, high-speed implementation is a must. This applies to all products and services. Let’s suppose you were using an application and got stuck because of a bug. After reporting the bug, you, of course, expect the team to fix it as soon as possible. If not, your next move is going to be switching to another service.
Customers want quick fixes and faster updates. For that, most software companies are adopting focused and flexible software testing. If you keep the customers waiting, remember, the competitors are just a few clicks away!
Saving time and resources and streamlining the entire software development lifecycle is important. That’s why most companies are opting for testing on an agile team. Let’s dig a little deeper to understand what this means.
In this post, I’m going to explain how shifting from a traditional testing environment to an agile one makes a difference in your project’s budget, resource utilization, and time duration. You will learn about scrum testing, what challenges testers face in an agile environment, and how it’s worthwhile in the end. Consequently, you will gain insights into boosting your enterprise production and customer satisfaction.
What Is Scrum?
Scrum is a framework in which teams resolve complex situations while simultaneously delivering products. The quality of the product delivered has to be high even when the issue is complex. When a problem is complicated, it requires an efficient team collaboration. Scrum is lightweight and easy to understand. But it might be a little tough to master. Unlike popular opinion, scrum isn’t a method. It’s a framework.
A scrum team comprises of the following:
- The owner of the product
- Scrum Master
- A team of developers and testers
The entire concept of scrum rests on ensuring greater flexibility and creativity and optimizing productivity. The teams are cross-functional. This means that they don’t need to be dependent on other teams to accomplish tasks. Since the teams are self-organized, they don’t need direction from those outside the team.
The Difference Between Agile and Scrum
Agile comprises of principles that guide through the iterative approach for software processes. But there are certain rules that testers have to follow in an agile environment. This set of rules is called scrum. Scrum is a part of an agile framework. Now, let’s take a look at both agile and scrum in detail for better understanding.
Agile management is a set of methodologies for software development. These methodologies are incremental and iterative. Agile management includes the rational unified process (RUP), extreme programming (XP), and scrum. Also, agile processes result in need and outcome evolution. This evolution in project development methodology is possible because of the collaboration between teams.
Agile teams are cross-functional and self-organizing. The analysis, documentation, and development of a new project go hand in hand. Advancement occurs with every iteration. This approach offers ease of accommodation of changes. It also results in better scalability. The flexibility of operations and processes increases.
Scrum is a subset of the agile environment. It’s a technique used to address complex issues and deliver high-quality products simultaneously. If an urgent change is required, the team has the flexibility to adjust. Effective collaboration and frequent communication ensure the success of scrum. Moreover, every sprint introduces better practices to increase efficiency.
How Is Testing in Agile Different From Traditional Testing?
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) needs a robust approach for quick implementations of ideas. Traditional testing was the mainstream, but efficiency increaseFs when an enterprise makes a shift from traditional to agile testing. Let’s look at how agile testing differs from traditional testing to benefit your organization.
Traditional testing aims to understand user needs and develop a product. After development, testers test the product and report bugs before deployment. The development team then works on them and fixes any errors using the best possible solution. Traditional testing works on the assumption that the processes are repetitive and predictable.
The concept is that the team can get the processes in control during the SDLC. A hierarchy ensures stability at different levels. It standardizes procedures by allotting different tasks to people according to their skills. But while the traditional model seems clear, it lacks flexibility. The procedure is time-consuming as the team completes tasks in a fixed sequence.
Agile testing seeks to correct the rigidity rampant in traditional testing. It’s a team-based approach but, unlike traditional testing, it’s interactive and dynamic. As a result, a product’s delivery time shortens. The project is divided into time-boxed tasks called sprints. Every single sprint has a fixed duration. Here, we consider processes unpredictable. Also, the processes might seem a little difficult to comprehend at first. The reason is that the tasks don’t have a clear definition.
But the high level of adaptability and flexibility during the process makes it worthwhile. As soon as users request modifications, the agile testing process is quick to adjust to changes. The iterative cycles make changes according to consistent customer communication and feedback.
What Changes for a Tester With Scrum?
During scrum testing, the team has to test a product and see how it turned out from the customer’s point of view. Some of the main events a tester has to attend in an agile environment include:
- Sprint-planning sessions
- Daily standup meetings
- Sprint retrospectives
Instead of leaving testing for the last stage, as they would in a traditional test environment, a tester has to carry it out throughout the process. Testers get to learn a lot of new things in addition to testing like development or business analysis. The work culture becomes different. Now, let’s take a look at some things a tester gains exposure to while working in scrum testing.
Clearer Grasp of Business Logic
Testers are exposed to in-depth knowledge of how domain applications work. They have to work closely with the development team. It enables them to create innovative and effective business case scenarios. The familiarity with architectural diagrams and development terminologies increases. Testers need to have crisp business logic so they can hold discussions with business analytics and developers about the application specifications.
Adopt Automation for a Speedy Testing
Selenium, Appium, UFT, GitLab, Codeship, Jenkins, etc. are some of the tools testers need to get familiar with. To stay ahead in the industry, they have to welcome changes. Speedy testing requires automation. Even though there are some massive changes a tester has to face during automation, it’s a chance to sharpen their skills. Apart from that, automation reduces risks during regression testing.
Adopting services like Testim is a wise move. It offers automated functional testing using artificial intelligence. Additionally, it speeds up execution, authoring, and maintenance during automated tests.
Adhering to SDLC From the Start
In the waterfall model, testers used to stay behind before the testing begins. But in scrum testing, a tester must adhere to SDLC from the beginning of the process. The test windows broaden and collaboration improves with this approach. This way, testers also gain a deep insight into the procedure. So, no test phases are left out.
Regular Standup Meetings
It’s mandatory for testers to attend regular standup meetings in an agile environment. These meetings last for 15-30 minutes—usually at the beginning of the day. This is when the manager or the scrum master asks every team member about what they did the day before. In addition to that, they also gather insights on the current day’s tasks and possible roadblocks. Having testers at daily standup meetings eliminates hurdles in the initial stages of a project. The entire team, including testers, remains aware of what is going on. It ensures progress in various tasks.
What a Tester Needs to Know Before Moving to Agile Testing
For someone used to the waterfall model, adapting to the agile environment is a big change. Here are some things a tester needs to know before moving to agile testing.
Knowledge in Automation Tools
Repetitive tests for each sprint are a waste of time. Testers need to pace up the regression testing. They also need to have knowledge of automation tools to speed up testing. These tools include Selenium WebDriver, HP UFT, and Appium. JUnit, Cucumber, Pytest, JBehave, etc. are some BDD testing and unit testing tools which is good to learn before moving into Agile testing.
Knowledge of Project Management Tools
There was a time when testers used HP Quality Center to track bugs and report them. Slack, JIRA, and Mantis are some of the versatile tools that serve more than one purpose. Besides identifying bugs, they aid in efficient collaboration and project management.
What Does Testing Look Like in Scrum?
When I was learning about scrum, I was most surprised that the entire testing procedure is divided into four quadrants. Let’s take a look.
The first step is to check the quality of the code. The testers give immediate feedback. Then, based on the feedback, the developers carry on with their tasks. These tasks include unit testing and component architecture testing. The former refers to checking a coding unit to see if it fulfills the requirement, which is often done by the developers. The latter is to ensure that the pieces of code work when integrated.
Both the testers and developers get the requirement. Both carry out their respective tasks keeping business objectives in mind. That includes testing possible scenarios. Testers have to perform prototype and wireframe testing while keeping user experience in mind.
Automation testing evaluates the product usage. Despite the product development being incomplete, tests are run. The scheduled demos ensure that development is going on according to business goals. These are the five stages the third quadrant covers:
- Collaborative testing
- User acceptance testing
- Exploratory testing
- Usability testing
- Pairwise testing
Testers test performance, data migration, infrastructure, stress, and load. Other aspects include security to ensure authentication. The product should have preventive measures for hacking and attacks. Scalability is another factor testers keep in mind.
Strategizing Is the Key to Agile Testing
An impeccable strategy is a must to move from traditional testing to agile. There are four stages to this that keep things organized.
This stage involves the completion of the initial setup work. Establishing a business case, analyzing requirements, and creating use cases are crucial steps. After estimating costs, the team prepares a preliminary project.
Each sprint in this phase comprises agile practices. Developers verify unit testing and service integration testing. Also, the testers perform agile acceptance testing. The stakeholder testing team and project testing team together execute test cases.
The deployment of product into production comprises four steps. The first step is to train the end-users. Following that, creating data backups comes through. After marketing the release, the documentation of system documents and finalized user takes place.
Production support includes regular testing and reporting bugs. If there are any, the production support team fixes them.
Challenges a Tester Might Face in Agile Testing
Since the methodologies are different in traditional and agile testing, there are many challenges testers have to face. These include:
- Sharp deadlines
- Learning the development procedure and programming languages
- Sudden changes requested from the stakeholder
- Impeccable coordination between teams
However, these challenges are nothing when compared to the huge learning opportunity that agile testing offers. And trust me, once you start working in an agile environment, very soon you will be ready to take on all the challenges that come your way. The agile environment will help a lot in propelling your career as a tester.
Making a move from traditional to agile testing can be overwhelming for a tester at first. But once it settles down, a tester’s learning scope broadens. Consider the change as an opportunity for enhancing your skills and professional growth. Once you get the gist of it, nothing can stop you from progressing in the industry.
Author bio: This post was written by Arnab Roy Chowdhury. Arnab is a UI developer by profession and a blogging enthusiast. He has strong expertise in the latest UI/UX trends, project methodologies, testing, and scripting.