Agile or Traditional Methodologies?
The “agile wave” has started to take over Latin America over the last few years. So many tech businesses have started to apply agile methodologies to their operations, leaving behind traditional methodologies.
However, we shouldn’t mistake these two models for being direct competitors. Both have their niche when it comes to diversity and complexity of projects and can be used with projects of different characteristics.
That being said, there are many benefits to applying an agile methodology, especially for quality assurance teams.
What’s different with the agile method?
In the QA world, the transition demands, among other things, a narrow participation with the methodology, client, process, and multifunctional work team. The QA team becomes an active part of the process, from the initial definition of requirements throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.
The testing team’s activities no longer occur during the last stages of the traditional model. Before, testing engineers wrote and executed test cases during the last stages of the project, reporting defects that opened up the scope of the project.
With an agile method, the QA team can now help the Product Owner write the Acceptance Criteria, participate in the estimation of User Stories, help the multifunctional team maintain their objectives and vision of the Sprint, collaborate with the clients and developers, participate in demos, and much more.
As you can see, the QA testing team’s activities have increased exponentially.
Tips to transition from traditional to agile.
Based on all of this, if your company is planning to transition from a traditional method to an agile methodology, here are some things you should take into account:
Train the QA team in agile methodologies.
It’s necessary for everyone to be able to use the terminology correctly: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Product Owner, Retrospective Meeting, etc. It’s also crucial to understand the objectives of each process so that the team can insert themselves into them quickly and contribute to the added value of the multifunctional team.
Train with the multifunctional team.
Carry out agile method exercises with the multifunctional team. With short 30 minute meetings, you can engage in practical exercises using the agile methodology, common errors with estimating, consequences when you don’t finish the requirements on time, and the use of Burndown Charts, among others.
Be ready to continuously adapt.
Changes will be suggested throughout the development processes and the QA team needs to be ready to adapt to them. This can include changes in requirements, testing environments, Acceptance Criteria, testing scope, etc.
Be ready to work directly with the final user.
Sometimes the QA team will have to get additional information regarding the Acceptance Criteria, definitions of the user stories, and any other details that were not clear in the User Stories.
Branch out from documented requests.
It’s recommended to share information face-to-face instead of just documenting requests, which becomes a special challenge when working with a distributed team. That’s why video conferences are recommended.
Don’t cut QA time.
In the traditional development methodology, time dedicated to testing was often the first to be sacrificed. With agile, QA is involved from the beginning of each Sprint.
Plan for frequent regression testing.
Due to rapid, continuous development periods, it’s necessary to to execute regression tests regularly. A suite of automated regression tests can help verify the stability of the mechanism and increase the functional tests, based on the expertise of your testing team.
The agile methodology let’s you manage without low priority requirements without sacrificing the quality of your product.
The transition to an agile methodology is a change in mentality that doesn’t just affect the multifunctional group, but also the culture of the corporation, roles, and current processes of the organization. In order to have a healthy transition to agile, you will need a clear evaluation of the current model and training with the new models. If possible, train with partners who have successfully made the change.