How Does QA Work in Agile?

A Strong Relationship for High-Quality Software Development

Agile has become the go-to approach for software development, with companies like BairesDev and many others embracing the set of principles. It’s far more than just a buzzword — the methodology and mindset involve collaboration, focusing on the client and user, and prioritizing efficiency.

In Agile, software development is broken down into short stages called sprints. Each sprint involves planning, articulating goals, and a consistent focus on quality assurance (QA). Because quality is a priority in Agile, QA plays an important role. That’s not to say it isn’t essential for all software development approaches — it certainly is. 

However, the role of the QA specialist and the process itself looks a little different when it comes to Agile. 

Dedicated Development Team

The QA Process Happens Earlier than Usual

Because QA is infused throughout the software development process, it becomes part of the project much earlier than usual. This allows everyone to catch defects, anticipate later issues, and ultimately see the big picture and how quality-related concerns will contribute to it. In fact, QA specialists will be involved in each sprint such that every aspect of the project is thoroughly vetted. 

QA specialists will also be able to spot bugs earlier on, preventing them from causing problems when it might be too late to resolve them without impacting the project timeline and end result.

It Requires Anticipation

QA specialists adhere to a white-box testing model, in which specialists understand the inner structure and workings of the product, as opposed to black-box testing, in which the tester doesn’t know anything about the internal system. This mindset allows the tester to create test cases based on their knowledge and expectations of how the software will behave. 

White-box testing also enables QA specialists to start the process earlier since they can anticipate what will happen.

It Involves Everyone

Some people believe QA specialists aren’t necessary for Agile because quality is so ingrained in the overall software development lifecycle (SDLC). While it’s certainly true that QA is everyone’s responsibility, testers are actually even more integral to the process in Agile. At the end of the day, they’re still entrusted with ensuring the ultimate quality of the product, although they’ll work closely with the software developers and other members of the team to get there.

A major difference between Agile and other software delivery methodologies is that in this mindset, the teams are considered one and the same — everyone is working toward the same goal: delivering high-quality software that will meet the needs of the user. The QA specialists have the requirements in mind and help the developers meet them, while the developers have quality in mind and work together with the testers to create a sound product. 

This involves teamwork and extensive collaboration, a hallmark of the entire SDLC. Everyone has their area of expertise, but at the end of the day, there is a common objective — and everyone has a part in achieving it.

It’s an Ongoing Process

The QA process never really ends in Agile. Testing is part of every sprint through the SDLC. QA specialists will perform a variety of tests addressing both functional and performance aspects throughout the development. By starting the process early, this allows the software team to spot potential problems before they escalate and affect the product irreparably. This also allows the QA testers and software developers to make the best use of their time.

Because each sprint includes the addition of new features, testing every time evaluates how the added-on component has affected the product. In contrast, waiting until the end to test may prevent the testers from pinpointing what, exactly, has caused the issue.

Automation Plays a Greater Role

QA testing is a huge part of the SDLC in Agile, and that can eat up a lot of time. Automation allows you to expand the testing capacity beyond your human specialists, saving you time and enabling the QA testers to devote their attention to measuring aspects of the product that can’t be assessed by a machine, like the user experience.

Automation can make testing happen much more quickly than manual testing. However, it’s important to remember that it shouldn’t replace manual efforts entirely. For example, you’ll still need human specialists to conduct exploratory testing. At BairesDev, we carefully determine which test cases can be automated and which ones should be done manually.

Ultimately, It’s All About the User

While all software development is user-centric, this is the ultimate priority when employing the Agile methodology. From the very beginning, the QA specialists — and the entire team — will seek to understand the user and their wants and needs for the product. If you’re outsourcing the project to a company like BairesDev, you’ll work closely with your partner so they can familiarize themselves with the requirements and who their consumer is.

Throughout the SDLC (and especially when it comes to QA), the user will be on the mind of the entire team. The developers and testers will adjust the process to meet this objective. This will ensure that they’re satisfying the client’s expectations and those of the consumer — improving the overall quality, saving time, and, at the end of the day, creating a superior product.

The End Card

Agile is all about collaborating and employing a user-centric approach. These are just some of the benefits of the methodology and mindset — that’s why so many software development teams use it. Quality, of course, is at the center of it all. The QA process is integral to any software development that embraces Agile.

If you’re looking to outsource your project to a software development company that prioritizes quality, consider BairesDev. We hire only the top 1% of IT talent — in software engineering, QA testing, and throughout the organization. Contact us today to find out how we can partner to build the best software for your business.

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