7 Agile Recommendations You Need To Adopt To Be SuccessfulCigniti Technologies
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Agile software development practices have been gaining momentum over the last few years. A recent survey by VersionOne, carried out between July and October 2014, states that 94% of all organizations surveyed (out of 3925 responses) now practice agile.
Agile practices are preferred where project requirements change rapidly as it ensures more dynamic turnarounds. This is in contrast to the traditional waterfall approach, wherein projects are well-defined with stable conditions and are long-term in nature. Implementing agile software development practices helps clients consistently achieve business value across the project.
Testing teams working in the agile model need to adapt to rapid deployment cycles and changes in testing patterns. Moreover, project management becomes challenging when it is a distributed testing team. Customizing the processes and solutions to suit the broader vision of the projects does make a tremendous difference in managing testing for such projects. For agile recommendations to be successful, the geographically distributed testing teams working in agile environments have to consider certain best practices.
7 Agile Recommendations for Testing in a Globally Distributed Team Model
Focus on people over processes mindset over skillset
In testing cycles for agile projects, the importance of an individual contributor or a team member increases multi-fold in contrast to waterfall implementations, where the processes are more critical. This calls for careful recruitment of people with not just the right skill set but also with the right mindset. ‘Motivated individuals who are proactive, with strong communication skills and the ability to think out-of-the-box’ are the recipe for success.
Integrate testing with the development lifecycle tightly
The end goal of any testing activity is the quality of the software or application. The distinction between the creator (developer) and the reviewer (tester) becomes thinner in an agile-based distributed team model. Testing teams play a significant role that considerably influences the quality of the software. Testing activity should be seamlessly embedded across the lifecycle. This integration of testing into the core development helps identify the quality risks and vulnerabilities of the project at early stages.
Establish self-organizing teams
Testing teams in an agile environment are encouraged to be self-organizing, i.e., self-allocate tasks; this remarkably improves the ownership of the work at an individual level for all the team members. This ownership and the personal connections established within the team among all the members drive performance and quality across the entire project.
Redefine success for agile projects
A tester’s definition of success in the traditional model is ‘identifying and fixing bugs’, whereas in the agile model, it shifts to ‘delivering workable and usable shipment’ as defined. This change in the very definition of success transforms the approach and dynamics of the team.
Encourage the team to communicate well
Rapid team communication and collaboration are essential for a practical project, particularly when it is agile and distributed. Quick turnaround to unexpected situations, adapting to the project’s changing needs, and the team members’ flexibility to maintain the desired speed are key elements for agile projects to succeed. Bringing in an overlap of time to a greater extent among the teams so that they can discuss and communicate, providing infrastructure for effective communication, and deploying tools to enhance communication all play a very critical role in testing to be successful for agile projects.
Make documentation important
Robust communication mechanisms at every level go well with the fast-paced testing in an agile environment. However, focusing on appropriate documentation helps accelerate the testing process, effectively manage quality issues via change management, reduce resources required for onboarding, and analyze the project life-cycle. Multiple contributors – dedicated technical writers, functional experts from the testing teams, project managers, and analysts – collaborate and address the need for documentation. Agile teams need to be provided with guidelines and requirements on the documentation level and coding comments they must incorporate.
Organize sessions, forums, and monthly reviews
Competencies and performance of the testing teams improve drastically when healthy knowledge-sharing sessions and retrospective forums are organized. It is important to give the distributed teams a perspective of the big picture and guide them to the areas to improve. Besides agile practices like a daily standup, short iterations, prioritized backlogs, etc., monthly reviews should be implemented. Monthly reviews should focus on – the general direction of the project, lessons learned over the multiple cycles, tracking the quality of deliverables, and devising proactive plans. In a way, this takes inspiration from the ‘scrum of scrums’ concept.
QA and testing have greater significance in agile projects when success is defined to be the efficiently working software, a mindset change is called for, which results in greater efficiencies.
Why should retailers embrace agile practices for testing?
We at Cigniti help businesses improve software quality across industries, be it Banking and Financial Services, Communications, Retail, Healthcare, Media, and others. Notably, the retail industry works based on ‘first-mover advantage’ to gain a sustainable competitive advantage by establishing themselves in the market. In retail, quicker go-to-market and high-quality products matter much to be successful.
Retailers today embrace advanced technologies across social, mobile, analytics, and cloud to tap the market potential. For their systems to be up and running 24X7, testing is important. Retail has slowly but steadily embraced agile practices to achieve better business outcomes.
Contact us to know how our testing expertise can make a difference to your agile projects. We are the proud sponsors of Retail Tech Conference (RTC) 2016.
Contact us at the venue for your software testing challenges. We will help you achieve enhanced customer experience and improved business outcomes.