The dynamically evolving testing industry has demanded the whole testing industry adopt agile methodology for more ease, agility and flexibility in the testing process. The scale of agile testing methodology paired with project management processes with continuous Integration methodology to decrease the Time-to-Delivery (TTD) and Time-to-Market (TTM) will optimize costs and time. Here we explore what agile methodology is, how it going to benefit the development process and attempts to minimize risk and maximize productivity.
Challenges With Traditional Product Development Approach
The generic method of the software development life cycle mode (SDLC) starts with project initiation. In this phase the initial project requirements are gathered and analyzed followed by chalking out the project plan. In the project plan various aspects of development are tested based on the requirements and determine time-to-delivery. Subsequently, these requirements are different for QA and Development teams to work. This entire process happens for every release recurrently.
How Agile Methodology Works For Product Development?
With the elemental agile principles, one needs to do things in small increments with minimal planning. The iteration should have short time-frames and time boxes that should last up to just two to four weeks following a full SDLC. Team sizes are usually small to help them communication/collaboration easier for larger development efforts.
With a common goal, each team has a customer representative for answering the project changes. Frequent meetings with the representative and internal teams are held to discuss progress and problems, without having to write many documents but still achieving the priority of client satisfaction and continuous product delivery.
The requirements are extracted from the backlog and worked out simultaneously considering the fixed time frame to complete all the committed requirements in that sprint. In the agile iteration, feature design building and testing is performed simultaneously. The overall project team is called a scrum team. The scrum process contains two entities:
- Product backlog contains all the known requirements of a product.
- Sprint backlog contains all requirements on which work needs to be done and a period of work is referred as Sprint daily meetings and the whole team is known as daily scrum.
In daily scrum, the progress of each user story that needs to be delivered at that end of Sprint is discussed. A burn-down chart is used to track the progress of that sprint and incremental delivery of the features is done at the end of the Sprint.
A visual display called the Scrum board is used to track the progress of user stories in any sprint. This gives a clear understanding of the sprint progress. It is visible to all members in the scrum team and each member is aware of everyone else's progress.
Figure: Scrum Workflow
- Product Owner
- Scrum Master
Benefits of Agile Methodology
Early Delivery of Working Software
The key benefit of the agile development methodology (whether it's Scrum or Kanban or extreme programming) is early delivery of the working software. If you're following Scrum, you're following sprints. The sprint is a time box of a two to four weeks cycle in which one can pick up the user stories to start development and working software is developed and tested. Then it is showcased to stakeholders or the client in the form of the working software, instead of showing documents. The key deliverable or the key progress indicator of the sprint is a working software.
Continuous Stakeholder Engagement
As every incremental build or update is demonstrated in the working software, it provides an opportunity to stakeholders to provide the feedback. This helps the development teams locate the blockers and fix them as early as possible. This process not only lets teams efficiently fix issues, but also ensures increased stakeholder satisfaction as stakeholders are involved at every stage of the development process.
Improved Transparency and visibility
With Scrum methodology, everyone in the team knows exactly what the whole development team is doing within a sprint. As the product stakeholders are fully aware of the sprint planning, they will be well informed about the process and end result. This way a high level of transparency is assured. Due to the daily stand-up meetings during sprint planning, the entire team will be more aware of the progress during agile software development. On a higher scale, the stakeholders have a clear picture of the goal each team is achieving as a part of every sprint.
No matter the type of agile methodology followed, as a whole, agile software development embraces change. Unlike the traditional methodology Waterfall, where change was considered as a high-cost thing, all the requirements need to be locked down to progress further with design and development.
With agile, the product manager can re-prioritize the backlog based on the ongoing sprints and could also add some new changes based on a market research and showcase the deliverables resulted in the earlier sprint. If there is a need for new features to be added to developed software, agile software development embraces that change by providing the option to add a story in the backlog-then that story can be prioritized and worked upon in further sprints.
Delivering Business value
The agile process ensures lot of transparency, where a client or business has some ideas and want to build the product. They have the flexibility to prioritize the backlog items. Businesses can re-prioritize and re-work on all stories and can be chosen in the sprint to work further upon. Every sprint prioritization keeps the business value of stakeholders in mind.
Other benefits of software agile software development process include:
- Quick decisions are made
- Customer/client can see the developed features at the end of each sprint
- Faster ROI and speed to market
- Improved predictability through better risk management
- Increased collaboration and ownership
Raj Kumar works as a Sr. Test Engineer with V-Soft Consulting India Pvt and has 8+ Years of Software Testing experience. He has good knowledge in Agile process methodology, ServiceNow, and AI domains. He has gained experience in various testing areas that include, Web services, Mobile Testing, GUI, Functional, Integration, System, Ad-hoc, Usability, Data Base, Smoke, Regression and Retesting.