Agile Testing Vs Traditional Testing: Which is Better?

agile testing vs traditional testing

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The role of a software tester and the scope of software testing is rapidly evolving day by day. The main reason for that is that the software development projects focus more on delivering a quality product to the customer considering the current competition in the market. Making the right choice between Agile testing vs traditional testing plays a key role when it comes to ensuring the quality of the software product.

Through this article, we are going to dig into the difference between traditional testing and Agile testing, Agile testing vs traditional testing methods, challenges while transferring from one to another in Agile testing vs traditional testing practices and what is the best way of testing out of these two methodologies.

Agile testing vs traditional testing

What Is Agile Testing?

Agile testing is a software testing approach that is aligned with an Agile software development methodology such as Scrum, Kanban, etc. It basically focuses on ensuring that the software is developed and tested iteratively and collaboratively in incremental cycles. 

The key characteristics of Agile testing are that the entire team collaboratively finds bugs while validating the developing product, and most of the project stakeholders, including testers, developers, business analysts, etc are involved in testing tasks.

What is Traditional Testing?

Traditional testing is a software testing approach that mainly focuses on the traditional waterfall software development methodology. It always follows an incremental execution while testers perform testing tasks from top to bottom while executing each phase one after the other. In other words, the software project team completes one phase, then moves to the next, and so on until all the defects are eliminated. This method can be considered the most common quality assurance method in the industry.

Read here more on Conventional Testing

Agile Testing vs Traditional Testing Methods

When we compare Agile testing vs traditional testing, we can mainly focus on the concepts of each. Agile testing always focuses on the concepts of collaboration, adaptability, and early testing. In this approach, testing is a part of the development process which is conducted iteratively in small cycles. There, the testers work closely with developers and other stakeholders to identify issues earlier while adapting to requirement changes. On the other hand, automated test suites run parallel in order to get quick feedback under continuous integration. Basically, there is no need to wait until the development tasks are finished to execute the relevant testing tasks in the software project.

In traditional testing, testing tasks occur after the respective development phase is completed and those always rely on formal documentation such as well-documented test plans and test cases. Compared to Agile testing, customer involvement is very limited in traditional testing and most of the time customers are involved with the project at the end of the release. At the same time, traditional testing methods are less flexible when it comes to requirement changes since testing happens after significant development work is done. Frequent requirement changes are not easily allowed in this type of testing.

Agile testing vs traditional testing: Key Differences

Before choosing a suitable testing methodology from Agile testing vs traditional testing, it is always better to get to know what are the major characteristics that make one of them different from the other. So, let us compare Agile testing vs traditional testing and get to know the key differences between them.

Traditional TestingAgile Testing
Traditional testing is associated with the Waterfall model.Agile testing is closely aligned with Agile development methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban, etc.
Occurs as a separate and sequential phase after development is completed.Occurs throughout the development process in short and iterative cycles.
Always relies on well-documented test plans and test cases.Relies on lightweight and rapidly changing documentation.
Limits customer interaction until the final product delivery.Encourages continuous customer involvement and feedback.
Less flexible for changing requirements.Highly flexible for changing customer requirements.
Occurs late in the project timeline.Starts early and it is continuous.
May have less automation or it completely relies on manual testing.Test automation plays a major role when it comes to efficiency in Agile testing.
Always follows a sequence of testing without considering the risk.Agile testing prioritizes testing tasks based on the risk.
Discovers issues late after significant development work is done.Discovers issues at the earliest while addressing them during development.
Traditional testing projects have a single, major release after the entire software project is completed.Agile testing projects have several releases and deliver incremental features to customers.

Why Is Agile Preferred Over Traditional Software Testing Approach?

Most modern project teams prefer the Agile testing approach over the traditional software testing approach when it comes to Agile testing vs traditional testing, due to various reasons. 

One of the main reasons is that Agile testing allows faster response to changing requirements and customer feedback. In Agile testing, testing is integrated throughout the software development process ensuring that issues are identified, addressed, and fixed early. Compared to traditional testing methodologies, this helps a lot to ensure the quality of the software product from the earlier stages and to make the customer happy with continuous development aligning with the rapid changes.

Agile testing promotes collaboration and teamwork while giving the chance for the teams to work together closely. Testers, developers, business analysts, and other project stakeholders collaborate throughout the project, leading to improved communication, shared responsibility, and a better understanding of project goals. This ultimately ensures more quality since the defects and bugs that are not quite visible to the testers can be identified by other stakeholders as well. 

Traditional testing which typically focuses on performing testing tasks in a separate phase, can result in communication gaps and misunderstandings between teams while resulting in a low-quality software product. 

Nowadays most software project teams prefer to choose Agile testing over traditional software testing because they always respect customers’ requirements even though they change from time to time. However, we should keep in mind that even though there are differences between Agile testing vs traditional testing, both of them have their own benefits.

Challenges while transitioning from traditional to modern testing practices

Transitioning from traditional to Agile testing practices can be challenging due to the difference between traditional testing and Agile testing approaches. Let us get to know what major challenges occur while transferring from one to another in Agile testing vs traditional testing practices.

  • Cultural differences: As we have discussed before, the cultural difference between Agile testing vs traditional testing is huge. It will be a bit difficult for the team members who are used to working under traditional testing approaches with a hierarchical structure to move to an Agile approach which needs a culture of collaboration, teamwork, and transparency. Even though they were working as an isolated team on a project that used a traditional testing approach, they need to to adapt to a culture where testing is collaboratively done by testers, developers, and most of the other stakeholders.
  • Change of responsibilities: Roles within the testing team may evolve in Agile testing vs traditional testing and it may specifically include test automation. Testers who are not experienced in test automation may need training and time to learn those skills, which can slow down the whole transition. Other than that, developers and other stakeholders will need to be involved in testing more when it comes to the Agile testing approaches. Therefore, there might be a broader learning curve for both testers and other team members while transferring from traditional testing to Agile testing approaches.

One solution here is to choose a test automation tool that has a low learning curve. One such tool is Testsigma which lets you automate in simple English. It also lets you automate your tests for web, mobile, and desktop applications as well as APIs from the same place and that too 10x faster.

  • Adapting continuous delivery: In Agile, there are frequent software releases under the concept of continuous delivery. Traditional testing teams who were used to working with longer releases might struggle while adapting to those frequent release cycles that have shorter timelines in the delivery. Sometimes, they might have to work under stricter deadlines since Agile projects have multiple development cycles. Therefore, it might be challenging for some of the project team members to get used to the Agile methodologies.
  • Documentation practices: Agile practices give more priority to the working software over the more detailed documentation. In Agile testing, simple documentation is enough for the team and the value of the state of the software product most. If a tester is used to working in a traditional testing environment which gives more priority to the comprehensive documentation, it will be a bit hard for him or her to transfer to the Agile testing background which values the software more than the documents.
  • Resistance to change: Change is often met with resistance and it is not different for the software project teams. Team members who are already comfortable with the familiar practices and processes of traditional testing may resist the shift to Agile due to various concerns such as job security, uncertainty, and the belief that Agile might be a passing trend. 

Therefore, it requires an effective change management strategy and clear communication which can make the testers understand the benefits of Agile testing in a clear manner.

Which is a better model: Traditional Or Agile Software Development?

Even though it seems that the Agile software development model is way more beneficial than the traditional software development model, the decision of choosing one of the methodologies from Agile testing vs traditional testing totally depends on the nature of the software development project, its requirements, and the context of the organization. 

Traditional software development is more suitable for projects with well-defined, stable requirements, as it is not very flexible to frequent requirement changes. Traditional development is also preferred when the project scope is relatively fixed and there is a clear sequence of phases that need to be followed. It is a more structured approach that can be especially used in software projects that are used in the government sector. 

Agile software development can be used in dynamic and fast-paced software projects where the requirements rapidly change and when customer collaboration and feedback are more important. Also, it is very suitable for software projects that value innovation, continuous integration, development cycles, and team collaboration. This approach is ideal to use when developing web and mobile applications. All in all, most of the senior employees in the industry strongly believe if we consider the differences between Agile testing vs traditional testing, Agile testing methodology is more appropriate for handling most of the testing challenges than traditional testing practices.


The whole idea of Agile testing vs traditional testing should be considered very seriously when you are going to choose a testing methodology for your software development project. Even if it is obvious that Agile testing has much more benefits, we need to consider a lot of facts when it comes to choosing a methodology from Agile or traditional testing for a software development project. Also, it is very important to get to know the characteristics of Agile testing vs traditional testing before you move into one of them from the other. It is better to keep in mind that the whole quality aspect of a software product depends on the testing methodology that is used. Because, no matter what the testing approach is, the customer always values the quality of the end product.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Agile and Traditional Testing Cross Over in Reality?

In software development, Agile testing vs traditional testing methods overlap often because each project may have different needs and requirements. Sometimes, even in an Agile project, there might be phases that need a more structured approach like Traditional Testing. On the other side, in a Traditional project, there might be areas where an Agile testing approach is more beneficial. The right mix of those two approaches ensures the quality of the whole software product.

What is the difference between traditional automation and AI?

The key difference between traditional automation and Artificial Intelligence depends on the way of making decisions. When it comes to traditional automation, it always follows processes that are based on a specific set of rules and steps. Also, its approach follows these specific rules and instructions to perform testing tasks in a step-by-step manner. But AI is more advanced compared to that. It can make decisions based on data and learning and it is more beneficial in the modern software testing tasks. Traditional web automation relies on fixed scripts, while AI-driven web automation uses data and learning to adapt and perform tasks more effectively on websites.


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