According to Capgemini’s annual World Quality Report, a little more than two-fifths of survey respondents identify the lack of professional software testers with QA testing expertise as a challenge when it comes to applying testing to Agile development.
Agile development has inherent advantages as it refers to a set of software development methodologies relying on iterative development wherein requirements and solutions evolve via collaboration. This significantly reduces the go-to-market time but in some cases the speed has had an adverse effect on quality owing to lesser attention towards QA testing.
3dotDigital, one of the leading cross-sector technology companies in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania region which also specialises in technical staff augmentation services has some suggestions on how testing can be better integrated with the new paradigm of Agile software development. These suggestions are centered around increasing testing quality sans any compromise on agility.
Here’s how testing can be better integrated with Agile development:
- Adding test automation: Test automation can be achieved through automated tests which are pieces of code similar to the codebase being tested. The testing code runs in the background automatically, allowing software developers and QA testers to focus on other tasks besides expanding the testing coverage.
- Fixing a release schedule: Not having a release test cycle or release schedule is a major issue. Irregular or on-demand testing makes the QA process cumbersome, more so when the same set of QA testers are working on multiple projects. Ideally, development builds and testing should happen daily and to make this happen the teams can use continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) processes. Combining CI/CD with test automation makes early detection of bugs possible, allowing more time for software engineers to fix them before the release schedule.
- Empowering QA testers with tools: For example, Git can be used for version control and Slack can be used for communication. Software developers can create a Slackbot that has access to Git, deployment scripts, and virtual machines. All that QA testers need to do is ping the bot with a branch name taken from GitHub and have it deployed in a staging environment. This arrangement can free up the developers, reduce the communication load and interruptions owing to QA testers asking software developers to deploy a branch for testing.
- Writing tests before the code: In Test-driven Development (TDD) and Acceptance Test-driven Development (ATDD), the software developers write the unit tests and acceptance tests before writing any code. Developers keep failing these self-written tests until the minimum required code to pass the tests is reached. The developer has to collaborate with the QA tester and the requesting party – be it the client, product manager or analyst, to create the acceptance tests. This helps in getting everyone in the team on the same page in terms of understanding the client’s requirements. Moving the testing to the early stage of the development lifecycle through TDD and ATDD reduces unnecessary code creation and uncertainties at the beginning of the project. This not just saves development time but associated costs too.
- Tracking inefficiencies: Presence of QA testers should not give the software developers a license to ‘swim over’ the quality aspects. Modern project management tools like Scrum board can be used to track how many comments a developer is getting during code review, compare him/her with other developers in the team, etc. The Scrum board allows project managers to filter out software developers who seem to be fast from those who actually are. The tasks completed by developers who seem to be fast are often returned by the QA tester for a second round, and at times even third, of fixing. Pair programming sessions with the Scrum master can reduce the number of QA testing rounds required, making the entire testing process far more agile.
With Agile and Scrum, it has become possible for QA testers to work on multiple projects but they need to prioritise their work considering the overlap in responsibilities. Founders can also make QA testers perform other roles such as client support, product management, and test automation. By getting to know the problems that clients have on a regular basis, the QA tester develops a better understanding of the customer experience and ways and means of improving it.
Another major issue that tech enterprises encounter is where to get QA testers with deep expertise from? This is where 3dotDigital with its staff augmentation offerings can help. Besides cutting through geographical and time zone barriers, some of the other visible benefits that businesses can avail by sourcing QA testers through staff augmentation are:
- QA testers can be hired on a project basis allowing flexibility to scale up or scale down
- Augmented QA testers bring along with them newer learnings that they may have imbibed by working with different companies
- Augmented QA testers generally speed up go-to-market
- When you hire from 3dotDigital’s pool of QA testers, you receive the support to manage any team diversity issues that may arise
- Since staff augmentation calls for constant performance tracking and evaluation as QA testers are not on-site, it promotes practices that lead to better team coordination and higher productivity.
Discover the possibilities that augmenting your development team with a QA tester can bring. Speak to our expert staff augmentation team if you are considering hiring talent with deep expertise across coding languages and frameworks.