There have been challenges in the adoption of the Agile principles (an Agile Test Strategy) and Scrum Framework particularly with poor quality of the delivered software. This has resulted in delays and a mismatch of the expectations of stakeholders and delivery teams. There is no specific mention of testing or quality assurance in Agile or Scrum; it is implied as an integral part of the principles and framework. This has caused some confusion resulting in inconsistent approaches to quality management and testing. Often formal testing has been reduced to ad hoc ‘try it and see’ during a sprint. This loses the testing rigour that delivers quality by use of industry accepted full lifecycle testing.
We see Agile principles being misinterpreted and sometimes abused. One of the main issues is that the word ‘over’ has been taken to mean ‘instead of’ leading to a fundamental misuse of the approach resulting in expected outcomes not being met. There is also considerable debate on the way testing should be implemented to support the concept of ‘working software’. This has meant that formal testing and quality assurance has been side-lined rather than being embraced by Agile teams. We often see clients who struggle with this dilemma.
An informal poll of 200+ test professionals at Test Expo showed that over 85% of those present were engaged in Agile projects so it is important that these quality issues are addressed.
The objectives of testing are to ensure as far as possible, that the stakeholders (which may be internal end users, or external customers) can carry out their transactions in a timely, consistent, secure and reliable manner. The development team including testers achieve this by:
- reducing the risk of failure of the software to an agreed and acceptable level by debugging as appropriate
- increasing the confidence of stakeholders that the quality of the product is at the agreed level (given the constraints of costs) by verifying correct operation
- delivering information about the quality level of the developed product and the process by which it has been developed to enable informed decisions and continuous improvement
The transformation to Agile and Scrum from previous development methodologies (e.g. Waterfall) poses some challenges across a number of areas. We've explored these areas in the white paper below.