Software programs and apps launch faster with an Agile model framework and testing approach, a true time-saving project management methodology. In an age of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation almost requires an Agile method. Here’s what to expect when creating software that meet today’s requirements.
Tele-everything is now commonplace, thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Last year, 63% of businesses focused on digital transformation, including 60.1% that accounted for contactless services and 52.25% that opted for cloud migration, industry data reveals.
Digital transformation enables organizations of all sizes to shift to online operations for business continuity and expansion. This process may require modernizing existing infrastructure and software, launching new programs and applications (apps), or updating websites for accessibility compliance.
Agile Software Development and Testing produces software programs and apps that allow businesses and their end-users to connect and operate online at the speed of life.
First Impressions: Some believe it takes about 30 seconds to form a first impression. However, research reveals that a person develops a lasting impression in 1/10th of a second. And, whether based on functionality, features, or aesthetics, in just 2/10ths of a second, someone will form a lasting impression about a website.
While shifting to online business operations is exciting for growth opportunities, there are 5.22 billion unique mobile phone users in the world today who make decisions at the speed of life. Due to this, digital transformation and the mobile app industry is booming. Currently in Google Play, there are nearly 3.4 million apps and there are over 2 million available through the Apple App Store.
Is the world your audience?
One thing is certain: the pandemic forced all generational age groups to use technology. Each age group uses the Internet for different reasons. Furthermore, segmenting marketing strategies within generational age groups is more effective than marketing to the entire audience.
An Agile development client can consider all the factors that form lasting impressions to determine a software “wish list” of requirements. The decision-making factors of generational age groups include a software user’s values, personality, attitude, interests, opinions, and lifestyle. Each generational group (Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y, Z, A) has its own personality and opinions. Not surprisingly, digital savviness of each decreases with age, research reveals.
Current ages 57-75; born between 1946 and 1964 (71.6 million in the U.S.):
85% use the Internet
68% own smartphones
96% use search engines
95% use email
92% shop for products and services online rather than shopping in stores and shopping malls
82% of baby boomers who use the Internet regularly have at least one social media account.
Current ages 41-56; born between 1965 and 1980 (65.2 million in the U.S.):
92% use the Internet
90% own smartphones
Use Internet for information and practical purposes
2nd-highest mobile internet use
Current ages 25-40; born between 1981 and 1996 (72.1 million in the U.S.):
Nearly 100% use the Internet
93% of Millennials own smartphones
Use the Internet for entertainment and pleasure
19% are smartphone-only internet users
Highest rate of mobile internet use
Highest-spending generation ($1.4 trillion estimated in 2020)
Current ages 19-24; born after 1996 (nearly 68 million in the U.S.):
Gen Z earning projections are $33 trillion by 2030
Gen Z will pass Millennials in spending power around 2031
Psychography can help determine how the generational age groups use technology, what information resonates with that age group, and how to build Agile software requirements (functions, features) with this insight.
Saving time and money are the top two reasons for using Agile Software Development. Also, Agile is a flexible, enjoyable, and collaborative project management process that provides a business with functioning software faster.
Why are requirements vitally important to Agile methodology?
Functional requirements describe system behaviors initiated by software users. For example, “reset password” is a user-initiated action. The action creates a functional requirement of “The system must send an email with password reset instructions whenever a request is made.”
Product requirements (functional, non-functional) describe how the system must operate to meet the business and user requirements.
Process validation and quality assurance tests are vital to ensuring the software meets all requirements and expectations.
The principles of Agile Software Development and Testing are straightforward:
Value people over processes or tools.
Functioning software is more important than detailed documentation.
Value ongoing client collaboration more than a fixed contract.
Flexibly responding to change is a requirement.
Agile is a philosophy.
What to expect with agile methodology
Starting with a vision – a “wish list” of features – Agile Software Development evolves into an outline of requirements that serve as the basis for the first code iteration. The Agile Software Development Team updates code iterations with test feedback, a continuous process. Each release of usable software happens incrementally, typically in 2-4-week intervals.
Inception – also referred to as initiation, the client and agile development team review objectives and feasibility to determine the requirements and resources needed.
Planning – precise details of the project scope are outlined from start to finish during the planning stage. This stage of development gives the Agile team the time to discuss features that shape the end-user experience. With defined requirements, executing short-term goals in intervals becomes the Agile team’s priority.
Development – useable software code built with Agile occurs in roll-outs that are also known as “sprints.” Completing a sprint requires a quality assurance feedback test by one or more end-users who validate that the software is functioning and meets the requirements.
Production – after implementing all the necessary improvements, the final production test occurs. Afterward, the final version of the software is validated by an end-user, and the software goes live.
Retirement – a retired software product can result in a complete phase-out or a new product release.
Agile start to finish
The smallest unit of work in an Agile framework is called a user story. Setting acceptance criteria for software functionality gives development teams the test requirements for each user story.
A user story is a goal. For instance, the end user’s goal is to place an online order. Within that goal are additional requirements to be tested such as accessing log-ins, age verification for shopping, identity verification for loyalty benefits, and sending an electronic confirmation.
Each user story must be coded, tested, validated, and passed before the Agile team proceeds further. Successfully testing and validating each User story occurs in time increments (sprints).
Best practice: industry experts suggest writing acceptance criteria before developing user stories to ensure that the software functionality meets the business or user requirements. Acceptance criteria can evolve as a product matures.
How does the Agile team know when a user story is done? After manual and automated tests have verified if acceptance criteria exists and all written unit tests have passed or were peer-reviewed, the Agile team can cross that specific task off the list.
Best practice: make the definition of “done” mandatory for iterations and releases.
Many Agile tests and processes take place in between setting acceptance criteria and releasing a new software product. The next step is to assemble an Agile collaboration team.
Defining the agile team
Change is not difficult with Agile development teams. In fact, responding to change is a team core value, and Agile teams embody a sense of urgency. The Agile team’s goal is to provide a high-quality product swiftly and efficiently.
A collaborative team is assembled and is commonly composed of the:
Project owner – the team leader
Requestor/customer – the stakeholder
Agile team members can be designers, business analysts, developers, and testers. Not all Agile teams will be the same, as some methodology frameworks have well-defined roles while others have more flexible functions.
Each Agile team member is equally accountable for their part in the collaboration. All have the common goal to produce high-quality software quickly and efficiently. Daily and bi-weekly planning meetings give the Agile team time to plan their next steps.
Continuous testing is as important as coding with Agile development.
Designated Agile testers provide the necessary feedback to eliminate any misunderstanding of the software requirements. Qualities of Agile Testers may include:
— Technically proficient with a diverse skillset
Familiarity with testing tools and test automation
Broad experience in exploratory testing
— Results-oriented, practice continuous improvement
Great communication skills
Work effortlessly with others
Willingly embrace and respond to change
Enjoy producing and providing value
Continuously provide feedback
— Enjoy the test experience
Keep it simple
Focused on people
To achieve specific business requirements, people with different operational insights can be valuable Agile testers.
Agile testing methodology efficiently speeds the release of custom software.
Agile methodology in testing processes
Enterprise-level testing is tedious. Creating a robust Agile test strategy involves:
Creating user stories
Coding the sprints or iterations
Giving the collaborative team complete visibility and traceability to the latest working version of the product.
All of this improves product performance and speeds time to market.
Workflows must match how the agile team operates, and workflow tools help build more innovative plans with security and scalability in mind. Enterprise-grade workflow tools allow teams to manage and track software development in real-time with visual graphics of features for picturing the user experience with the finished product.
Agile testing ensures product quality and is a significant component of the Agile Software Development life cycle. For efficient, effective, and easier processes, Agile testing frameworks define a set of rules for testing.
Interesting fact: there are currently more than fifty Agile methodologies (!).
At this point, the Agile team has assembled. The complex problem to solve is opening a secure portal to online business engagements as fast as possible. The team also has a list of requirements. The next step is planning methodology for the workflow and matching it to an Agile development team’s culture and skillsets.
Agile frameworks are processes used to implement the Agile philosophy. Two often talked about Agile process frameworks are Kanban and Scrum.
A scheduling system for visualizing workflow in fluid, continuous stages with modeling to reveal areas of improvement, Kanban is a more relaxed agile methodology framework. The amount of work in progress is measured with Kanban, and team members may write out user stories on sticky notes and use a wall to arrange a left-to-right workflow representing work to be done in the various stages of development. It may be easier to adopt incremental Kanban principles for already-established software delivery processes.
Best practice: two notable Kanban best practices involve visualizing workflow and limiting the amount of work in progress. Mapping workflow stages provides a visual reference for how much work is on the board, understanding how best to process it, and optimizing workflow with incremental enhancements. Limiting the amount of work-in-progress prevents the scope of work from creeping, keeping the project on track.
Scrum is a project management framework that self-organized Agile teams use to solve complex problems during software product development. This Agile team’s roles are Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Development team members. All team members collaborate on sprint planning, daily workflow, reviews, and changes made to the software.
Best practice: For prioritizing workflow, creating a product backlog gives development teams visibility to the tasks yet to be done and a sense of the effort required for each task. Use a software prototype for early client feedback. By implementing minimum viable product (MVP) software prototypes, the Agile team can immediately track, test, and measure if the software functions and features meet the requirements.
Agile test methods & management tools
Empowered Agile teams increase product quality through proven methodology, workflow tools, and consistent testing practices. Agile testing methods include acceptance test-driven development, behavior-driven development, exploratory testing, and session-based testing.
Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an Agile framework that emphasizes the creation of unit test cases before writing the actual code.
Behavior Driven Development (BDD) is a hybrid framework originating from test-driven development (TDD) and Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD).
Exploratory Testing engages all team members and stakeholders in testing for product defects.
Session-Based Testing measures session run and end times during exploratory testing to target specific functional areas for defects.
Management tools can automate tests to optimize quality and speed and to help create a consistent set of processes. Data from these tests help team collaborators define user requirements. Agile Test Management tools that streamline sprints may include:
Documentation – while the priority is on people over detailed documentation, Agile Management tools document test cases and plans, user requirements, and reports.
Version Control – to ensure that all Agile collaborators work from the latest update, version control tools provide the newest iteration.
Visual Documentation – files included in Agile software project documentation are software graphics. Some management tools share visual files with automatic verification upon log-in.
Workflow – agile workflows include planning, testing, tracking, releasing, and reporting. Streamlined workflows increase efficiency and produce high-quality products faster.
Bugs – test management tools allow database structure to increase performance and scalability; tracking preferences, permission, and profiles; and providing security for protecting confidential data. Testing for bugs in each sprint improves the end-user experience and eliminates bugs ensures that a high-quality product.
Continuous agile workflow
The word “continuous” best describes Agile methodology. Continuous activities (build, tests, integration, delivery, deployment) occur simultaneously during most Agile projects.
Continuous Build or Build Automation is the first step to establishing an agile software delivery pipeline.
Test-driven development (TDD) is writing unit tests for each piece of code before writing the actual code. This visualization process helps developers picture the software being built and the inputs, outputs, and error conditions.
Continuous Integration is a version control practice whereby collaborators integrate their work frequently to the same location. Each change is built and verified to detect any integration errors.
DevOps Continuous Delivery is a software development strategy that optimizes the delivery process, providing clients software as quickly as possible.
Innovating superior products requires continuous testing.
The advantages of software created with Agile Methodology and testing include high-quality products, rapid product deliveries, a happy development team, less documentation, and easier maintenance.
To develop a robust Agile development strategy, testing everything early and often is a requirement. Prakat’s Test Engineering services engage testing from an ROI basis, focusing on improved outcomes.
Prakat creates new and modernizes existing business software programs and applications with Agile test methodology. Prakat’s engineering services include:
Mobile Applications – staying ahead of emerging technology accelerates time to market. Prakat helps organizations mitigate the risk of running production-grade mobile applications on multiple devices with varying OS versions on different networks.
Advisory Services – Prakat’s expert test consultants infuse on-demand knowledge into quality software. Prakat analyzes testing requirements, resources, and engineering plans to identify and alleviate risks with an effective strategy.
Migration & Consolidation – adding flexibility without losing existing data, Prakat manages multiple test environments or consolidates them to assist with migration from existing test tools to a simplified, more effective solution.
Test Suite Automation – utilizing automation accelerators and tool-agnostic frameworks, Prakat ensures impeccable standards of product quality. These tools automate function, regression, and performance testing processes.
Performance Engineering – identifying performance risks and potential bottlenecks, Prakat performs the load, capacity, and stress testing needed to ensure hassle-free performance and user satisfaction.
Security Testing – information security testing addresses data threats that target mission-critical business applications. Working closely with organizations throughout the development lifecycle, Prakat identifies and eliminates significant security risks.
The Prakat Agile Software Development test center environment deploys roadmaps that include scalable frameworks and continuous testing. The result? Modular, reusable, and cost-effective software code development.
Agile testing speeds up the software development process.
Prakat delivers new software products with speed, skill, and accuracy. With a meticulous team approach, the focus is on return-on-investment and improved outcomes with specialties that include software services, data services, and knowledge and support.