Why Automation Testing Is Crucial For Agile Project Management
Before the arrival of the agile software development methodology, the waterfall development model was the norm that included planning, designing, development and testing in a step by step manner. That means that the next step was executed only after the completion of the previous step. Hence, the testing was done at the very last stage. This meant that in case of any bug detected at the testing phase, developers will have iterate the whole phase to identify in which phase the bug was introduced. A time-taking and cumbersome process.
However, with technological advancements and the need to reduce time-to-market, Agile methodology came into the picture. Agile ensures software development throughout the period of the software development life cycle (SDLC). This enables test engineers to detect bugs at the early stage of SDLC hence, saving a lot of time and resources.
Benefits of Automation Testing
Agile development involves Continuous Integration, Continuous Development and Continuous Deployment. However, continuous deployment is only possible when the product or service continuously tested as well. To speed up testing and match the pace of continuous development, it is crucial to integrate the test automation process to validate frequent changes.
Here is how automation testing helps in agile project management.
- Greater ROI: Investments in automation testing are higher but its advantages offer long term returns while saving a lot of time and resources.
- Faster: Automation testing enables faster development.
- Reliable: Deployment of test scripts eliminated manual intervention and hence increases the reliability of test results.
- Simultaneous Testing: Test engineers can run the same script on multiple devices.
- Reusability: Test scripts once developed by test engineers can be used multiple times for software testing. Updations and modifications can also be made in the test scripts to leverage them for the latest test cases.
QA test engineers face several challenges in the agile development environment that can be only resolved by leveraging test automation techniques. Here are some of the prominent challenges.
- Broken Codes: Due to frequent builds, there are more chances of broken codes. Efficient automation technique including continuous integration can fix this situation.
- Sparse Test Coverage: The latest code changes there were not tested before could lead to inadequate code modifications. Regression testing can be deployed to ensure the proper functionality of the current releases.
- Incomplete API Testing: During the implementation of complex APIs, API testing is often overlooked before deployment. Automation tools can efficiently address this gap and ensure exhaustive testing of APIs.
- Complex Mobile Testing: With an overwhelming number of mobile devices in the market, mobile testing has become more complicated. A strong automation suite helps in ensuring that the code remains unbreakable with each build.
- Performance Bottlenecks: With the introduction of more sophisticated functionalities and enhanced user experience, applications have become more complex involving a greater volume of code. This has led to several serious performance issues. Automated load testing tools can be beneficial in figuring out performance bottlenecks and monitor the performance over a longer period of time.
Agile QA In Different Phases
The agile development process includes automation in every phase. Here is how it happens step by step.
Unit Test Automation: During this phase, the focus should be on implementing automation testing at the code level.
Pre-automation Testing: Automated unit tests should be created before the deployment of code.
System and Integration Testing: After considering the daily build, the integrated environment should be used to test the features that are developed leveraging the methodology of continuous integration. In this case, the automation can help in the reduction of iterations and ensuring the focus remains on testing features.
Sprint Complete: After the completion of each sprint, a brief regression test before the release can help in a flawless release. Test engineers should automate regression testing while continuously testing features.
With continuous innovation in technology and constant pressure to reduce time-to-market, Agile projects can’t sustain without automation testing. However, having the right blend of resources and automation tools would always remain the primary challenge for agile projects.