What is Agile Testing?
Traditionally, software testing took place after the development phase was complete. However, this resulted in slow output and wasted time. Agile methodologies incorporate software testing as a continuous part of development, from start to end. With continuous iterative development, collaborative effort, consistent feedback, and effective test case management, improvements are introduced side by side with development to release better products.
Agile teams consist of developers, testers, business analysts, and other stakeholders who work together for an integrated approach to software development. Teams use agile methodologies to test and receive continuous feedback. Agile metrics can help analyze test results on various parameters and improve software testing processes. Collaboration can be enhanced through test management tools like Testworthy
that provide a single platform for coordinating testing efforts and improving test case management.
Benefits of Monitoring Metrics
Keeping track of agile metrics can offer your team a myriad of unique benefits. Agile metrics help you monitor your software testing progress and measure the success of your efforts for better test case management.
There is a wide variety of agile metrics that can help you with this. Agile metrics can be used to:
- • Provide an overview of software testing progress.
- • Monitor the effectiveness of software testing i.e., how well is the final product turning out.
- • Improve the efficiency of software testing processes to identify and correct issues faster.
- • Prevent monetary loss through early detection of problems. This allows teams to rectify issues before they grow into bigger and more costly complications.
- • Shorten delivery time by enhancing software testing processes.
- • Incorporate continuous improvement in all workflows and operations, including software testing practices and test case management.
Agile Metrics in Software Testing
Measuring progress, identifying issues, and making relevant changes to eradicate those issues is a cyclical process that should be present throughout the SDLC. Results from agile metrics in software testing should guide future efforts to improve test case management and execution by the entire team.
Some agile metrics are general and applicable to all agile projects but can be adapted for use specific to the software testing domain. Here are some agile metrics that are important for software testing today.
- • Sprint Burndown: These charts help you visualize the rate of work completion and the amount of work remaining in a sprint. In this case, work completion will include testing completion as defined by the team. This will depend on the definition of done such as when the product meets acceptance criteria or when all user stories are completed (which includes passing testing requirements). This chart helps teams monitor whether they are on track or not by identifying the time taken to complete tasks and story points. Incomplete tasks may be due to capacity shortages or unrealistic goals, which can be adjusted accordingly.
- • Running Tested Features (RTF): The RTF metric shows the features that have passed all acceptance tests and are working effectively in the final product. A greater number of completed features shows that thorough testing has been conducted and passed to develop new features for clients. Velocity: Velocity measures the average amount of work done (such as story points completed) in each sprint. This is a measure of output and can help understand team capacity. It can also be used to estimate how quickly backlogs can be resolved, how much work can be done in a sprint, and how many sprints it will require for project completion. By understanding the pace of the team, tasks can be allocated and adjusted accordingly. It is important not to use this metric to compare different teams, as all projects have different goals and requirements. Older teams should try to maintain a consistent velocity whereas new teams can improve velocity by optimizing capacity, task allocation, etc. Velocity can help teams in capacity planning to increase output. It is important to only commit to tasks according to the capacity of the team. Overburdening team members can reduce software testing effectiveness and if products/story points are not completely tested and verified due to time shortage or other limitations, defects can pile up and cause cumulative damage.
- • Cumulative Flow: This is a comprehensive diagram that shows all workflows in one place, providing an effective visual summary including work in progress, output, and backlog. This helps you understand if you are completing tasks at a steady pace or if there are any bottlenecks, such as inefficient software testing, that need to be addressed.
- • Test Coverage: Test coverage measures how comprehensive testing is and how many lines of the code are being tested by test cases. Higher test coverage lowers risk by decreasing the chance of defects in the final product. Test automation can be used to increase test case coverage.
- • Escaped Defects: This is a measure of defects found by the users after release. Escaped defects can be quite costly for teams so it is important to identify the core issues in the process that allowed the defects to escape so that it does not happen again.
- • Defect Cycle: This is the time it takes from identifying a bug to fully resolving it. Reducing defect cycle time is important to ensure rapid release cycles. Benchmarks can be set for defect cycles so that teams can target and reduce their defect cycles and improve software testing.
- • Defect Spillover: These are the defects that are not resolved in a particular sprint and hence migrate to the next sprint. Defect spillover measures the efficiency of a team in resolving bugs. This gives an idea of any holdups that the team might face in the future due to problems accumulated from previous sprints. The purpose of agile is to find and fix defects as early as possible to avoid additional costs, hence defect spillover should be minimized.
Monitoring agile metrics is an essential practice for all project managers and testers. The importance of continuous improvement and analysis cannot be stressed enough. By tracking progress on both quantitative and qualitative fronts, teams can refine and adjust their workflows, enhance their work pace and optimize performance. In the fast-paced world of software development, even minor improvements in efficiency can give companies an edge and allow them to stay competitive in the global market.
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