What’s the Connection Between Agile Methodology and Automated Testing?

inside-mars-biodome

Before entrepreneurs figure out how to grow food on Mars, they used the agile method to test and pivot in order to make the right cleantech solution.

The agile methodology used in all areas of green tech and renewable energy projects involves incremental, continuous growth through frequent software releases to the market. In this case, you are trying to maximize the value delivery to the users and minimize the risk of building software that doesn’t meet user needs. Automated testing is an agile methodology that is very vital. Without it, the agile methodology might be less effective and take a lot of time.

Before adopting automated testing method, you need to understand what is automation testing, the best tools to use and the best practices to adopt. It’s the most effective approach to test for the new features that are added to the software before delivering it to the market. Test automation is highly preferred in agile methodology because it saves time and resources, unlike when carrying out most processes manually. There is also high efficiency in regression testing, which ensures that the newly added features do not impact the software’s existing functionality. With automated testing, you can create test cases that will run automatically whenever a new code is pushed to the repository for a particular application.

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Ecoppia is a solar energy robot that uses software to make sure the panels are clean and sucking up the most energy from the sun

So, where can you apply automated testing in agile methodology?

API/Web service testing

Web services are the medium through which two applications can exchange information. This can be in requests and responses without interfering with the underlying technology used in designing the application. Simply, it’s all about sending requests and validating the response.

To perform web service testing, you write programs to call the web service methods and validate the values returned. It’s even possible to test the service for various combinations and permutations. If possible, have data be tested in an excel sheet for your program to read it. It will then call the testable services bypassing the test data as the parameter and validating the test results.

Repetitive tasks

Test cases that seem to be repetitive should be automated. Automation doesn’t mean that sophisticated automation test tools/technology should be involved in the process. You can implement automation for repetitive tasks using a simple VB macro or a Java program with JavaScript to solve a particular issue. 

It’s easier to make several errors when testing repetitive test cases. With time the process becomes mundane and tiresome. By automating these test cases, your testers will spend less time on the tasks. Most repetitive tasks do not require higher-order thinking and can quickly be completed with automation test tools.

Testing behind the GUI

It’s comparatively easier to test behind the GUI than to automate the actual GUI. One of the main advantages of testing behind the GUI is that the functionality remains the same regardless of the UI changes. Testing behind the GUI focuses mainly on the business logic and different rules; thus, the functionality of the different features is not affected.

For this test, the test cases are usually written in tabular format. This could be in a spreadsheet and code snippets that can accept data input from the tables and return the expected results. The returned results are generated immediately, providing an excellent platform for the non-technical stakeholders to run the test cases and compare them with the expected results.

Build and deployments

Automated testing is highly applied in build and deployments in agile methodology. There are usually predefined builds for the traditional environments that can take a week or two. Sometimes they can even take a whole month to get done. One of the biggest challenges facing these builds is that you must wait for the predefined dates to get all the bugs fixed. And this means there is usually a delay in the release of new features.

By the time you finish testing and detecting several bugs to be fixed, some team members will have moved on to different implementation pieces and are likely to have very little interest in resolving bugs in the older applications. Eventually, this delays the time for making the features to be implemented available in production.

Testing non-functional requirements

Testing non-functional requirements manually can be a complex process. Some non-functional requirements that should be tested include reliability, performance, installability, usability and security. Finding a tester with in-depth knowledge to define the non-functional requirements is usually a big challenge. As more organizations embrace agile methodology, there is a need for continuous focus for each sprint.

You will have to analyze the technical data, design experiments and ask successive detailed questions to quantify the expectations of the non-functional requirements. After that, then document the non-functional requirements. In agile, the non-functional requirements usually cut across the entire system, especially where special consideration is highly needed. Continuous testing for the non-functional requirements will ensure that you deliver a viable product with consistent features and functionality.

Benefits of agile testing automation

Agile testing automation leads to faster execution as automation test tools improve the development’s overall efficiency. The earlier you can find several glitches, the easier the process and the lower the cost of fixing several defects. Using automated testing in agile methodology allows the reusability of test scripts for repetitive test cases. 

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