The Secret of Agile Development
CloudQA is back with our What You Should Be Doing series! In this installment, we look at Agile development. First off the bat – what is Agile? Well, to quote AgileNutShell, “Agile is a time boxed, iterative approach to software delivery that builds software incrementally from the start of the project, instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end.” Cprime further elaborates it as “a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.” The system is based on the Agile Manifesto, which you can look through in various languages here.
The benefits of the Agile development module has been proven time and again. If there is one thing that you should take away from this article, it is that the Agile development module is impossible to do without automated testing. It will be absolutely impossible to meet the high turnover rates in this module without having automated tests and the time management benefits they provide, especially with regard to regression testing.
If you’re already on track with Agile, this article will focus on what you need to do in order to succeed with Agile, by showing you what you should be doing. Without further ado, here are the best practices of Agile software development:
- Follow the fixed-length iterations to a TOne of the most difficult parts about Agile is that it keeps you on your toes. Each agile release is made up of several different iterations, with each iteration being a standalone project by itself. The entire Agile process is extremely dependent on these iterations as they help to streamline the development process and keep the whole team focused towards a set result. The deadlines help move things along at a very rapid pace. It also helps keep goals actionable instead of vague, and keeps everyone’s work measurable. The targets are short term, and easily evaluable. Once the team gets used to working these deadlines, they will fall into a stride, a pace of working that will keep churning things out at a rapid pace. Time, effort and resources will be managed more efficiently.
- Deliver working software One of the main tenets of agile software development is how fast it delivers, and how reliable its results are. Thus, when planning iterations, keep working features as a priority. All improvements, feedback and other factors can be incorporated into the iteration process on a priority basis. This keeps your team on track, and everything organized. You can do your work systematically, and on a priority basis. You don’t need to wait around for reworkings, and you don’t waste time assessing what work you have done, and what you have left. Additionally, you deliver to consumers or clients faster, with greater product reliability.
- Development should be backed by valueAnother one of the main tenets of agile development is the value that it delivers, and how steadily it delivers that. Features and the usability of those features are what the agile development module focuses on, and thus you will always be left with a usable product at the end of the week. Your team needs to be visionary to really fulfill this claim. Don’t be afraid to try new things or take big risks. As you will find out in the next point, failures will not throw off your entire development plan.
- An evolving, adapting product plan as we’ve mentioned before, the agile development module works on feedback and re-workings of any aspect of a project on a priority basis. This means that your plan will have to be built with space for these intact. This also means that your planning needs to be kept dynamic, and it is this dynamic that keeps everything moving at a rapid pace. Dynamic plans deliver better end products because they have a better understanding of what the consumer or client ultimately wants. These plans are constantly open to upgrades and changes, and this helps the team because they don’t have to start from scratch if the end result does not satisfy after completion.
- Your project grows along with youThis is an extremely crucial part of the agile development process, and is an intrinsic part of it as well. In agile development, you get constant feedback at the end of every iteration. This means that your product plan keeps changing as well. There is no set goal to work toward mindlessly, as the feedback you get will make you rethink your goals each time. Your feature list might grow, and be easier to incorporate at early stages than at a later stage. It is a much more interesting environment to work with for programmers and is a more efficient way to deliver products that a customer or client is satisfied with.
- Thatched teamwork The agile development process calls for standalone teams that are assigned to different work, but who ultimately work together to build the final product. This cross-functional or thatched teamwork has several benefits. First, it doesn’t put the entire responsibility of the project in one place. Less stress equals to higher productivity. Additionally, smaller groups are easier to supervise, and work better than larger groups. Everyone on the team knows exactly what they’re doing, what they’re responsible for, and what their contribution is. Keep your agile development teams small, but in constant communication. The benefits of thatched teamwork comes out brilliantly when you have a highly creative, multi-disciplinary team. Everyone brings their own expertise to the table and you get a very well-rounded end product as a result.
- The Devil Is In The DetailsHere is a handy checklist about actionable points
- Make sure unit tests and component tests are done rigorously.
- Make sure that GUI smoke tests are done with every sprint or test cycle.
- Make sure that you respect the tests and the feedback that you get from the testers.
Make sure you add the feedback to the add-on needs for the next cycle.
These small details will ensure that your Agile testing is done efficiently and that your testing plan succeeds. You need to keep your approach to Agile testing on point, and not deviate from the plan that you lay out in the beginning. Together, these will ensure that you succeed with Agile testing.
If you want to learn more about being more productive with Test Automation, contact us at CloudQA ([email protected])
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