New trends in agile test management

Digital transformation has changed the face of all of the industry. The software delivery model has undergone a drastic change with DevOps, agile and continuous delivery, leading these changes. Several businesses are successful in implementing agile processes to improve software delivery. But as the lines between development and operations are blurring, sprints are getting shorter, the difficulty mounts in meeting the higher expectations both for speed and quality of software deliverables.

An important and often missing link in the DevOps loop is testing. DevOps, in reality, is DevTestOps and for various teams and delivery models to be agile, test management is the vital link. Organisations need TestOps to match the pace of DevOps and by testing early and often, they gain the incremental quality benefits that bring true value to the business in terms of cost, efficiency, and continuous delivery.

In fact, the World Quality Report led by Capgemini shows that there is increased investment in the QA and Test function reported by 90% of US and 69% percent of Canadian survey participants in the past four years.

Challenges to DevTestOps

However, going agile and being agile are totally different stories and organisations face several practical challenges when trying to embrace the DevOps and agile way. Shorter sprints require better collaboration and integration, interoperability of tools. There are many gaps between conventional test management and modern Agile dev approach – with outdated tools and practices being a primary roadblock.

There are various other challenges within the software development lifecycle at every stage and communication gaps that slow its pace and weigh it down. Agile as it is practiced now, allows for delays in testing, leaving less time for testing and improvement leading to buggy releases and poor customer satisfaction. But with the Shift Left concept – the focus is on quality from day 1. Testers are part of the sprint right at the outset and prevention rather than detection is the modus operandi.

A Brand-New Approach

For Test Management to follow the Shift Left concept, it needs unified solutions, frequent test runs and more feedback. To accomplish the continuous integration and continuous delivery paradigm, continuous testing is necessary at all points within the development lifecycle and this requires a design thinking mindset and culture change. This means that developers, testers and ops teams need to reset the parameters of a traditional approach, more so when it comes to the testing processes.

The new trends in agile test management demand a fresh approach, a cultural shift and often new tools that speed up the execution.

Agile Test Management Trends Demand New Tools

Continuous integration and development and continuous testing, increased automation, behavior-driven-testing, predictive quality and prescriptive quality analytics – these are some enablers for agile test management. There is an increased focus on leveraging these disciplines and tools that help you implement them. Obviously, there are best practice recommendations for test management and how teams should be testing.

Best Practices Recommend

Focusing on collaboration and an integrated approach for test management amplifies the feedback loops and helps it to be truly agile. These are some of the other criteria:

  • Visibility
  • Traceability
  • Continuous integration
  • Behavior-driven development
  • Integrated toolset
  • Busting siloed workflows
  • Exploratory testing
  • Predictive analytics

When setting up your test management tool, it is advisable to assess your choices for a cloud-based solution. Ideally, one that allows you to set up roles and projects inside test management, provides greater visibility to your team, integrates your project management tools like JIRA with test management, lets you sync defects and test results in real time.

Configure your test management solution such that you can plug in your automation, generate API keys allowing your tool to accept automation results. Teams should be able to create or import requirements, with test coverage helping go/no-go decisions, modularity and linkability are again useful features to promote reuse and reduce authoring efforts. Exploratory testing and a comprehensive view of manual and automation testing – enable you to make better quality decisions. Also, creating test suites by release and platforms lets you track if the quality improves build by build.

The fresh approach to agile test management can get your delivery up to speed. It requires a fresh perspective and culture shift, and new tools that enable your agile development and testing efforts.