QA for Agile ProjectsWith more and more companies embracing agile development methodologies – which differs greatly from Waterfall development methods, many QA testers are wondering how testing fits in with this new and faster environment. What role do testers have when companies use agile methodologies?

Difference between Agile and Traditional Methods

Traditional, Waterfall development methods clearly define when and how testing takes place: Testing takes place at the end of the process by dedicated resources. This methodology requires a lot of documentation.

Agile development, on the other hand, requires testing to take place on an iterative schedule: Basically, testing is done alongside development in real time. This methodology also doesn’t have as much documentation.

So does that mean that agile requires less testing? That couldn’t be farther from the truth. QA testing is just as important in both types of development approaches.

How to Ensure Proper Testing

Proper QA testing in an agile environment has different requirements than other methodologies. These requirements include:

  • Ensuring QA resources are flexible and can perform real-time testing during the different development phases: QA professionals must be testing throughout the sprints.
  • Obtaining the right people: QA testers who are entrenched in the traditional testing methodologies may not be the right people for an agile environment. They’ll have trouble adjusting to the faster pace. Companies may need to hire new people with the right skills, or partner with a vendor who can assist with this.
  • Performing daily testing.
  • Determining what a completed project looks like: While not as rigid as in other methodologies, agile still has project and business goals to meet. Teams must define what a successful end state looks like to ensure that project meets customer demands and that the right resources are in place to meet the goals.

While agile teams may be under pressure to produce a working product as quickly as possible, QA testing is still an important part of the equation. It just must be done differently than older approaches and may require different skill sets than what’s available on the team.