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Going Agile? Effective QA Presence is Imperative to Succeed

  • 04/10/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

With the changing market dynamics, emergence of advanced technologies, ever-changing customer preferences, and evolving global standards and compliance requirements, agile development practices are moving into the mainstream. Today, most application development teams are in the process of shifting to agile methods to do more iterative development. Shifting to agile practices is a challenging task, and it requires extreme focus towards quality and improved collaboration. Most enterprises often fail to implement agile appropriately, and this forms the main reason for agile projects failing to deliver high quality software.

Though many organizations aim to implement Agile, most of them still tend to schedule all their testing activities towards the end of SDLC and undertake testing as a distinct activity rather than as an overall agile process. Typically, most agile development projects just run as traditional waterfall model where the developer works on the requirements and hands over the developed software to the QA team for testing. In few instances where testing moves along with development, most QA activities are performed by members of the team who are also involved in designing or development of the project. These kinds of approaches contradict the fundamental concepts of agile development.

Pure agile practices focus on ensuring the quality from a user’s perspective and this requires testing to be involved right from establishing the scope of the project. Though daily meetings have become a part of the agile process, testing is yet to become a natural part of the entire agile project and not any phase after coding has been done. Greater emphasis must be laid on building up quality right from the ground up to protect many problems that might arise down the line. Developers and testers should work along to bring down the requirements and design problems as early as possible in the software life cycle.

While continuous integration is the core of the agile project, continuous testing will help enterprises to reduce the risk involved in the project and ultimately deliver high-quality software. It is also critical for organizations to ensure strong collaboration among all involved in the agile project. Requirements change as we get deeper into the software life cycle and quality goals become a moving target. Strong collaboration will help address the changes in requirements and design. Overall, continuous testing with quick feedback loop, use of latest automation tools, expertise agile testers, strong collaboration and quality responsibility among all involved will determine the success of an agile project.

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