IT companies across the globe are choosing Agile software development for its enhanced flexibility. Its pillars are rapidity and an iterative approach. By breaking up the development process into sprints, a team achieves greater efficiency and can create a high-end digital product in a timely manner. Another essential feature is attention to customers and their needs. Therefore, this model is characterized by an increased culture of communication and openness. It also allows developers to introduce changes whenever they are necessary. So, specialists don’t have to wait until the end of development activities to check if everything functions properly.
When selecting a flexible methodology, IT providers opt for a pragmatic yet sound approach to building software solutions. Their priority is creating separate parts of an app properly, without much thinking about the entire product in the first place.
However, one important question arises. How can one act rapidly without compromising quality? It’s a universal truth: the faster people accomplish certain tasks, the more errors they can commit. IT professionals are perfectly aware of such risks; therefore, they regard top-level quality assurance in Agile processes as an indispensable element of the entire development cycle.
Specialists bearing QA responsibilities in Agile software teams perform testing throughout the entire development cycle. This allows for timely improvements and changes.
Let’s see what quality assurance in Agile means.
The role of software quality assurance in SDLC
As demand for digital products is immense, the role of software quality assurance increases. IT firms handle numerous projects simultaneously. Customers want their software to operate impeccably, so one needs not only to employ the best programmers but also experienced QA professionals to make sure everything works seamlessly and error-free.
Specialists bearing QA responsibilities in Agile make sure that the quality of an app is decent and that the product fully complies with the current standards in the industry. It’s not just another development stage, it’s a continuous process that is as important as creating solutions itself. After all, who would use a poor digital platform even if the idea behind is staggering?
Quality assurance specialists deal with each element of a software solution. It should have a lag-free interface, clear navigation, top performance, etc. Professionals meticulously check everything without skipping minute details. Thus, they make sure the end product is of decent quality and fully meets customer requirements.
Software Quality Defect Management or Software Quality Attributes are two meaningful approaches, and professionals choose one of them depending on the specific situation. The first approach implies counting and managing defects. The second one helps to evaluate the performance of a program. In either case, specialists should pay attention to the following issues:
— Reliability. Engineers consider the product’s ability to work under overload and in different scenarios.
— Usability. They test the navigation which should be clear and understandable.
— Efficiency. Specialists test how well the system uses the available resources, how much time it takes to execute tasks, etc.
— Maintainability. Team members determine if it is easy to maintain different versions of the product and if it is cost-effective.
— Portability. Quality assurance engineers test how well the system works on different platforms.
So, if specialists bearing QA responsibilities in Agile carry out their tasks with top precision and attention, the customer will receive a top-notch product.
The role of QA in Agile methodology
The role of QA in Agile is significant. Well-oiled testing processes are important for several reasons:
— They save significant time and money. If QA professionals find errors early during the SDLC, they can introduce the necessary corrections right away. Troubleshooting in the finished product is much more costly.
— A company gets a stable product with top performance. Such an app will definitely find its audience and win a place in the market. Professionals check each software unit for compliance with industry standards, thus achieving the highest possible quality.
— Quality assurance helps a business maintain its reputation. After all, if a firm releases a poor product, it will cause great damage to the brand image.
— With quality assurance in Agile, a business gets a considerable increase in product safety. It is necessary both for the customer and the end users.
— If a digital platform has passed meticulous testing, it will meet the needs of customers. A well-functioning product with an intuitive interface and high performance is the key to success.
Now, let’s see how these processes run.
QA roles and responsibilities in Agile
QA roles and responsibilities in Agile, with its collaborative approach, have significantly changed our notion of the engineer’s activities. They go beyond writing test cases and checking the quality of a digital solution. Now, these professionals play a critical role in the entire SDLC. Their knowledge and expertise are indispensable.
— Testers cooperate with developers from the very start. Therefore, excellent communication skills are essential for these specialists.
— Presence at daily scrum meetings, sprint planning sessions, and sprint retrospectives is essential. The role of software quality assurance professionals is big, as they are now active participants in the dialogue. They share their experiences, give valuable pieces of advice, and analyze previous failures and successful cases.
— Testers don’t wait for a project to end but work hard in tandem with developers. This approach makes it possible to detect errors as soon as they emerge.
— Regular meetings with developers are a must for QA engineers. They can be held in person or online if a team works remotely. All this allows them to quickly introduce new features, assess them, and make the necessary adjustments. This ensures constant improvement of the digital platform in progress and the high performance of the end product.
— Another important peculiarity that makes the big QA role in Agile visible is direct contact with the product owner. If necessary, an engineer asks them questions or can even overtake their role.
— Detailed documentation of test cases is another meaningful feature. Since each team member must clearly understand the development processes, it helps professionals to assess its current status and progress.
Quality assurance in Agile: key peculiarities
QA follows the same iterative approach, with a breakdown into stages. Engineers carry out tasks sequentially, just like other specialists involved in the process.
Professionals divide the testing process into sprint iterations. They set test priorities, just like in the case of user stories. For each cycle, specialists determine the number of tests that can be carried out seamlessly. Automation comes into play as well: it helps human testers accomplish more tasks.
Testing is an ongoing process that starts early. As soon as new features are introduced, testers immediately check their quality. Giving timely feedback to developers is essential and protects the software product from critical errors ruining the entire system.
Specialists create a test plan. It is clearly structured, meets project requirements, and must be continually updated. It stores high-level scenarios, business requirements, and estimates.
The important role of QA in Agile methodology is obvious when it comes to tests. Here, they have a top priority. Engineers must agree on approval criteria when drafting a user narrative. Testing practices typically encompass the following elements:
- Test-driven development
This process starts with testing. First, experts talk over the features to test and then create a user story. Then, unit test development begins. The code must pass this test seamlessly. Mostly, TDD is used for unit and component testing, involving automation tools.
- Acceptance test-driven development
Users provide feedback. Specialists collect it and evaluate potential scenarios of product usage. Then, they create UATs and make adjustments in the code until it successfully passes the test. ATDD helps to create a solution that will find user acclaim.
- Behavior-driven development
Here, a business outcome is of vital importance. One needs to define the desired behavior of a program in a way that is understandable to all stakeholders. First, user stories are defined, then, they are used to guide the development process. Programmers and testers create automated tests.
- Exploratory testing
Testers follow their intuition rather than a predetermined path. They document their actions as a test and figure out what exactly they are checking as they progress. This is very useful for identifying hidden risks. If someone oversaw bugs during TDD, they can be discovered and fixed at this stage.
- Session-based testing
It is similar to the previous one, as intuition and curiosity are vital here as well. A particular element or feature of the application is tested during a special session. At the end of the session, specialists write a summary, and their observations can be used in further product testing, development, or QA activities. It also serves as feedback for developers and other stakeholders.
Quality assurance in Agile: best practices
Now, that you know what the QA role in Agile is, let’s look into the best practices in this area:
- Parallel testing
White-box testing (synchronous checks during each sprint) helps companies to save money and enhance product quality. Early troubleshooting is 30 times cheaper than fixing bugs as part of post-release activities.
As soon as a new feature is introduced, testers check it immediately. This helps not only to ensure quality but also to minimize overload at the end of each sprint.
If you don’t automate processes, the flow of tests will increase and with it, the workload will grow. Automation allows you to fine-tune your work, save time, and reduce the likelihood of retesting. However, over-automation is not a way out, and specialists need to determine their priorities. Some test cases can be automated, others should be checked manually.
- Fruitful cooperation
All team members share QA responsibilities in Agile. Transparency in processes, goals, and attention to each other make it possible to achieve remarkable results. In the planning phase, you need to make sure that everyone involved in the sprint understands the goals. You don’t need to implement many user stories in one sprint; everything can be done in stages.
- Considering the needs of the audience
Modern methodology implies a customer-centric approach. Specialists must adjust testing so that it addresses the needs of end users perfectly.
- Results-oriented processes
Specialists quickly test small areas one by one and strive to achieve the best possible results. They set less grandiose but more achievable goals than those who work according to traditional methodology.
- Risk analysis
Risk analysis is of utmost importance. During the sprints, specialists determine risk areas and decide what exactly needs to be tested right now.
The role of quality assurance in Agile development is immense. Meticulous, step-by-step testing, with close attention to every feature and element, enables teams to identify bugs rapidly and perform efficient troubleshooting. As a result, IT professionals create a highly accurate, reliable, and feature-rich digital product that fully resonates with a wide user audience. It is profitable for a business as it helps not only to generate revenue but also to find more loyal clients.
Automation, code reviews, and continuous integration are crucial for success. They ensure compliance with the highest quality standards. By implementing them in Agile, companies providing software quality assurance services achieve greater flexibility and respond to changing IT trends and user needs quickly. All this helps them stand up to the competition.