Software development life cycle is changing with Agile. The silos that exist with teams spread across regions and divisions are now working together, constantly to improve the usefulness of their stories and thus improve their end result. Agile development allows project teams to be more responsive to customer demands through collaborative approach. It also lends itself to more freedom by eliminating tightly defined roles and hierarchies. It also results in greater interdependence and mutual accountability for the overall project team.
According to Manish Mathuria from Infostretch; Agile entails enhanced role for test engineers. While testing remains their primary responsibility, some coding skills go a long way towards delivering a high quality process, which shifts the quality left. Agile development is driven by design thinking. It is a creative process that improves the output on a continuous basis and unlike the waterfall method; the improvements are made during production and not post-production. Also, by focusing on the outcome and not who delivers the outcome; the overall management of project is more effective, collaborative and creative.
Democratization through implementation of good Agile practices makes the role of QA Manager that of a facilitator and not a command position. As such, it frees up the manager from micro management and sometimes being a bottleneck by being only one driving the team. By changing the role to a facilitator a QA Manager fosters independence in the process and thus increase meaningful contributions from all team members.
Collaboration and independence can be achieved through a connected system for all the diverse activities of project. A strong project management tool is great asset here. However, most of the project management tools on the market are geared towards development, leaving QA tasks and processes out of the system. A strong QA Test Management Tool can be their most important asset to join the conversation beyond writing bugs (issues) and commenting in the development and project management environment. A seamless integration between project management and QA test management tools makes parallel efforts more efficient and helps communicate coverage and traceability within the same system, which benefits entire SDLC. This accelerated iteration process limits delays and miscommunication and helps shift the quality curve left.
Additionally, a strong feature of test management tool is support for test automation. The ability to automate regression test cases and manage them through a single tool is a liberating experience when changes to the code can be tested overnight or even as they are being integrated. This also eliminates human errors when unit testing is repetitive and mundane. Test teams lose brain cells when running acceptance tests for weeks at a time, never getting opportunities to perform system, complex functional or performance tests that are critical to product quality. This helps testers to focus on much more complex testing tasks which needs more intuition and creativity. Independence from mundane tasks and more time availability to do complex testing is yet another outcome and reason for making these changes to your process and your tools.
To conclude; Agile testing creates collaboration by eliminating hierarchies and silos. It provides independence from defined roles and repetition of tasks. The 3 key components for Agile Testing success are Continuous Integration (CI), Automation and Test Management Tool. While CI and Automation are the key processes to achieve quality product through agile testing; it is the Test Management Tool that provides complete traceability, reusability, collaboration and analytics for making entire process a success.