Principles of Agile Testing through the Agile Manifesto

I am working on the Agile Testing article and had a hard time when it came to principles of Agile Testing. All the bloggers and websites have done a good job in listing various pointers as the principles. In this post, I have tried to understand the Principles behind the Agile Manifestothrough QA or Software Testing perspective:

1.    Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Each sprint in Agile must be a deliverable which satisfies the customer’s requirements. The value of the same is always appreciated much more when it’s bug free thus making through testing at each stage a mandatory. Regression testing is one area which generally takes a lot of time as the software starts evolving in later sprints. Automation of regression and unit test cases must be taken into consideration right from the beginning to curb this issue.
2.    Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
Changing requirements leading to issues in related functionalities is generally the top reason of defects and thus all deliverables must be tested thoroughly before UAT. At the same time, testers also need to make sure that their test suites are updated regularly. Getting the regular review of test cases from the users is also recommended to make sure the same is updated as expected.
3.    Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
Many times, delivering a working product in shorter timescale leads to skipping the testing activities. This is one area; the teams need to sit together and find the possible solutions. Automated unit tests and regression tests combined with exploratory testing may be a savior in such situations. Automation does come along with maintenance cost but the same can drastically reduced when right automation framework with maximum shared objects and repositories is used thus making the individual scripts easy to maintain.
4.    Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
Agile is all about evolving requirements. I think strong communication comes into picture in this principle. All the stakeholders: Development team, QA team, users/business analysts etc must be an integral part of core team and included in all communications in all cycles.
5.    Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
QA team in Agile are often ignored due to various factors – time being the most common. Just like all teams, the test team also need to be motivated and provided with required environments to perform their testing activities effectively.
6.    The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
This is one principle QA team also need to follow and understand properly. While there is a process for all the activities including raising bugs, but at the same time discussing the same with teams and providing their feedback on various details is equally important. Where-ever possible, all collaborating teams should be physically located together to save time and effort on emails and calls.
7.    Working software is the primary measure of progress.
All stakeholders must understand that a working software is primary goal of any project. The QA team should also focus more on getting the product deliverable instead of concentrating on breaking the system (which is the general mindset of testers). The data generated should be simple and easily understood by all stakeholders. Complicated reports with fancy metrics might look great on display but they do not guarantee client satisfaction. The only full proved method for client approval is a working software as per customer expectations.
8.    Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
The QA team should be included in all details and have the crucial responsibility of making sure that the test coverage is achieved to highest possible.
9.    Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
The QA team must ensure that all testing activities starting from understanding and test case writing to execution and bug verification are performed properly. The development team also need to make sure that all inputs of test team are taken seriously. It’s is the joint responsibility of QA and development team which ensures excellence and quick delivery of quality products
10.  Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
When I try to relate this with testing, ‘Unit Testing’ is the first term which comes to my mind instantly. Unit testing is the most basic of all and is often ignored the most. Making sure that the smallest unit of code is working fine is the first step to quality software.
11.  The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
When I think of this principle with respect to testing, All the basics of testing seems to apply here. The QA teams need to ensure that the requirements are covered in the test suites, regression tests are regularly updated, right tools for automation are chosen and the team members are skilled enough to cope up with frequent changes in the requirements.
12.  At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

               The more frequently product is tested for its effectiveness, the more robust it becomes. Regression testing can play an important role while executing this principle.

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I tried my best to explain the principles with respect to QA or software testing mind. Please feel free to provide your inputs. I would be more than happy to edit or update any of the points.

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