No one can doubt that today, most companies and industries already firmly embrace agile for their planning, development, and operations processes. But one of the last questions that remains unanswered when moving to agile is, “What to do with testing?” To put it simply, organizations do not really know how, with whom, or when to do testing when they switch over to agile, and so the question lingers:
What is the agile testing workflow?
Before it becomes a decision put in motion, the transition to an agile testing workflow is first and foremost a shift in state of mind. Leaving behind the traditional and structured way things were done isn’t always easy. But take into account that agile testing has its structure as well.
Here are some of the guidelines to embrace:
We should start by regarding testing as a service that provides visibility into the status of the product under development and the process being used to develop it, rather than just a matter of finding issues and bugs in the product.
It is important to remember we have a dual responsibility to be of service to both the end users and the internal customers of our company: the development team, the product management team, the company’s executive team, etc. We must constantly ask ourselves if we are serving only one of these groups instead of both of them in parallel.
Just as with any part of this iterative and adapting mindset, with the agile development processes speeding up testing and forcing us to constantly concentrate on the important stuff, it is imperative to keep improving on the go, learning from experience, and changing your ways based on the outcomes of your latest actions. For example, in PractiTest, whenever reusing a test, the previous outcome of the same test is visible, enabling you to better locate your efforts and run the test more wisely.
One of the best ways to improve is by recognizing the importance of communicating and getting feedback from both your team and the customers.
Since it is not possible to predict the future, let go of the notion that you can provide coverage for everything that might happen—because you can’t. The better ability to cultivate for agile testing workflows is to respond and accommodate to the changing reality of your project.
This actually means that an agile testing approach will require you to be self-organized, dynamic, and focused on people, even more than you were used to working based on traditional testing models.
Embracing this agile state of mind will allow you adopt an agile testing approach, regardless of the methodology (or lack of methodology!) followed by your development team.
So what is the best way to get organized in order to be agile? You find the right tools for the job!
The integration between Pivotal Tracker with the agile test management capabilities of PractiTest provides a complete agile project management solution. PractiTest is a light SaaS QA management tool that is designed for agile—although you can still use it for waterfall or other methodologies if you want to. Things like data organization based on sprints or any other project criteria using their unique hierarchical filter trees structure, combined with customizable visibility for each stakeholder and seamless integration with external tools (e.g., bug trackers, automated testing tools, CI and more) are crucial for the agile workflow. PractiTest ensures your QA tasks and team are working smoothly and efficiently, and Pivotal Tracker allows other project stakeholders to collaborate, such as R&D and management.
User stories created in Pivotal Tracker can be imported and then tested in PractiTest, and any issues found and other test run results reported in PractiTest are updated simultaneously in Pivotal Tracker. The entire project status is previewed in PractiTest dashboards, and exported reports represent project progression from both platforms displayed together. All modifications are updated in real time; for example, whenever a test fails in PractiTest, you can automatically create a user story in Pivotal Tracker with all the test history prepopulated. This story will be linked to PractiTest and updated constantly as they’re modified in Pivotal Tracker.
“With PractiTest we finally connected Marketing, R&D, and QA in one system, streamlining our whole product-development process, from requirements to testing. The results: shorter development and testing cycles, and a product that is closer to market demands.”
—Uriel Perlman, Head of QA, Wavion
To conclude, there are two hurdles to overcome in order to make a successful transition to an agile workflow. The first is internal: adopting an agile state of mind, on which you should work by reading professional literature, blogs, and podcasts. (You can read more about this here.) The second hurdle is external: setting an agile workflow into motion. You can overcome this by using designated tools to create a seamless agile workflow throughout the development process.
Finding a solution that can adapt to your ever-changing project needs will make the transition as natural to your team and company as possible.
Joel Montvelisky is a Co-Founder and Chief Solution Architect at PractiTest. With over 20 years of experience in various roles in testing and QA, Joel is both a recurring speaker presenting in various conferences and forums worldwide, as well an active leading blogger with the QA Intelligence Blog, and is constantly imparting webinars on a number of testing- and quality-related topics. In addition, Joel is also Founder and Chair of the OnlineTestConf—the first 100% online testing conference, taking place twice a year and freely available to all testers worldwide—as well as the Co-Founder of the State of Testing survey and report, the longest lasting worldwide testing survey aimed at providing an understanding of the current status and trends of the global testing community.