Agile Testing Challenges: Inadequate Test Coverage

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Nowadays, the trend in the IT industry is to meet the targets, quality, and customer satisfaction in a limited time frame. Irrespective of the methodology and technology being followed by Software Developers, the prime focus of this industry has been and will always be on Software Testing. Though testing is a part of the business scenario, it still changes with continuous integration and changing requirements. This is due to the fact that the business scenario is different from what it used to be years ago. Due to this change, critical tests for any requirement can be easily missed by linking tests with user stories. 

The biggest challenge faced in agile testing is inadequate test coverage. In order to take a better insight on test coverage and analyzing specific metrics to identify traceability, test coverage is usually missed. Before covering the test adequately, a clear understanding of the feature being delivered in the release is a must. A clear understanding of the working of that feature is important that is, how it works, its constraints, validations, and functions. The features are then build based upon the user stories. The second major cause of inadequate test coverage could be due to unpredictable changes in the code. 

Testing on a timely basis increases the feedback which drives the success of many agile projects. But, in order to be agile, the testing team should respond to the changing requirements quickly, efficiently, and effectively. To overcome test coverage problem, the modules that were changed needs to be analyzed for ensuring that all the changed codes are properly tested. In other words, a product tested with agile delivers software faster and with high quality, if the unique challenges faced are understood properly. 

Approach to Agile Automation

Going through usual standard SDLC Models like Waterfall, V&V, etc. seems very impractical when an application is developed as per user needs as these models are most suitable for stable and non-volatile applications. With the changing trends in the IT industry, the applications are not stable anymore and are volatile in nature. Because of this, software vendors have come up with a new strategy to save time, resource, and at the same time deliver a reliable product meeting user requirements. A new strategy called Agile Automation Testing is adopted to overcome the issues of a dynamically changing environment. Agile in its simple language denotes doing something rapidly. Therefore, Agile Automation Testing refers to validating client requirements and making applications user friendly. The testing on the Agile environment starts with the reporting of bugs once a build is out. The emphasis in this kind of testing is given to the delivered product rather than a short time frame. The automation of test cases can be done by applying agile values and principles. 

The Agile approach to automation is based on the following key principles: 

Simple: The tools selected to automate test cases should be simple to use as complex tools take more time to learn the tool then the time to create test cases. 

Maintenance: Unprepared automated test scripts take a lot of time to maintain. The long test cases should be divided into multiple smaller test cases so that they are easy to script and maintain. 

Joint effort: All testers in a team should help each other to find quick solution for the problem faced as the knowledge of one person can help solve the problem of other team member.

Short Iterations: As entire project is divided into various modules, the priorities are assigned depending upon user requirements. Each module is allotted a specific time frame and development on the important module then starts to make sure that a standalone working module is ready at the end of a time frame. Short iterations help to choose the right tool for automation such as while automating functional test cases, WATIR can be used. 

Knowledge of Tools: To automate a test case, knowledge regarding all automation tools is very important to help choose a tool that best suits the requirement. The requirement for a tool depends upon the size of the project, the time allocated to the project, or the cost of the project. Therefore, all the team members should be well versed with the tool being used.

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