Agile methodology is rapidly adopted by many project teams in this dynamic market environment while traditional software methods such as waterfall, incremental, V-models, etc. are becoming obsolete.

The essence of agile development is to deliver quality software amidst frequent releases of newer functionalities. The introduction of agile projects brings developers and testers together considerably changing the role of QA in a conventional waterfall project methodology. Testers find it challenging due to the differences between traditional and agile methodologies, such as fast-paced delivery, advancement in continuous integration, continuous testing, and DevOps implementations.

Agile Testing Challenges and ways to overcome it

1. Inadequate Test Coverage

In agile projects, requirements change over time and hence, the source code also changes. Changes to requirements and continuous integration lead to missing out on critical test cases. To mitigate that, testers should make sure that the newly added codes are tested daily. Source code analysis can be done to identify modules that were changed to ensure that changed code is tested. Results from code coverage tools such as Cobertura, JACOCO and Clover could help in detecting logical defects at an early stage of the development life cycle.

2. Frequent Code Breakage

Since code is developed, changed and compiled on a daily basis, there are possibilities for code breakage during the build or after the build. To prevent code breakage, testing teams can write automated test scripts around functional and integration test suites, which can be run against every build and the code can be checked on a continual basis. Automation is beneficial in this case as manual process consumes time and requires lot of dedicated resources. Additionally, testing teams can facilitate developers with scripts, pair-programming support in unit testing the code, identifying broken functionality and fixing integration issues due to cross-module dependencies.

3. Early detection of defects

Fixing defects later in the development cycle is more expensive, complex and can cause significant delays. To prevent this, multiple code reviews are done to spot defects earlier in the development cycle. Another strategy is to use static code analysis tools like Veracode, Checkmarx, and Coverity to scrutinize code that can reveal errors that do not show up until they are found in the production environment. After that, dynamic code analysis can be done to uncover subtle defects and vulnerabilities.

4. Deferring or skipping essential tests

Since sprints are rolled-out in short time intervals, testers tend to defer few non-functional testing methods such as performance and stress testing, API Testing, and compatibility testing due to the complexity and time constraints. These may trigger bugs that are highly difficult to fix towards the delivery. The comprehensive test plan needs to be systematically updated after every sprint to gain maximum traceability and mitigate issues.

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5. Performance Bottlenecks

If developers have built the code just by following business requirements without the understanding of end-users’ environment, device constraints, infrastructure limitations, concurrency and network related issues, an application will not be able to perform to its desired expectations. Also, as the software matures, more lines of code increases performance issues. Implementing DevOps brings in IT Operations teams early in the cycle to effectively pair up with developers in optimizing code for maximum performance. Appropriate usage of automated testing tools like JMeter, Blazemeter, WebLOAD, LoadView, Load Xen, etc. also boosts identification of performance bottlenecks.

On the whole, agile projects deliver quality software when testers anticipate potential challenges that comes with agile projects, and also devise necessary strategies to overcome the same challenges.

Maniganda Perumal

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Maniganda Perumal

Mani is a Senior Test Automation Engineer at Softcrylic with extensive experience in combining open-source and proprietary automation testing tools. He continues to enriches valuable industry domain expertise by working for international clients from different verticals

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