In today's post I thought it would be useful to consider Agile Test Strategy and the quality challenges associated with implementing Agile and Scrum. If you have time, we would also recommend taking a read of the white paper - The quality challenges associated with implementing Agile and Scrum.
As a consultancy, we observe challenges in the adoption of the Agile principles 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.
The objectives of testing are to ensure as far as possible, that the stakeholders’ customers (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 achieve this by:
- reducing the risk of failure of the software to an agreed and acceptable level by debugging as appropriate
- increase the confidence of stakeholders that the quality of the product is at the agreed level (given the constraints of costs) by verifying correct operation
- deliver information on the quality level of the developed product and the process by which it has been developed to enable informed decisions and continuous improvement
We've also observed challenges with culture and organisation, Agile test strategy and planning (within Scrum), skills of the team, measurements and tools. We've discussed each of the useful white paper below! If you have chance, take a read.