Scrum Testing - What it is, Why it’s important, and How it Works

Scrum Testing – What it is, Why it’s important, and How it Works?

In the dynamic and fast-paced world of software development, the need for efficient and effective testing methodologies is crucial. Agile methodologies have emerged as a transformative approach to software development, enabling teams to adapt to changing requirements and deliver valuable products incrementally. Within the Agile framework, Scrum testing has emerged as a powerful methodology that empowers development teams to ensure the quality and reliability of their software.

This article explores the fundamental principles and practices of Scrum testing, highlighting its benefits and key elements. We will delve into the role of testers in Scrum, the testing activities involved, and the challenges faced when implementing Scrum testing. 

What is Scrum?

The term Scrum is the most widely used term which refers to a methodology that concentrates on all facets of software product development, including quality, usability, and performance.

What is Scrum Testing?

Scrum testing is a software testing approach using a scrum framework that works on an iterative model. Its purpose is to create a development and management technique that adheres to agile principles. It oversees product or application development and works on creating the best product according to the requirements of a complex application.

The emphasis is more on strategy and flexible holistic product development where the development team worked as a unit to achieve common goals. Scrum is a complex process with numerous variables that influence the end result.

Scrum testing structure

There are three main stakeholders during the scrum testing process: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Team.

A product owner is the representative of a customer who defines the functionalities required for the project. This is represented in the form of product backlogs which is curated as all the goals are split into sections of product backlogs and these are further planned in the form of sprints.

Scrum Master is the moderator between the Product owner and the application development team. This role is responsible for getting the work done and meeting the goals from time to time.

Team is a group of developers and testers who build the software system to meet the requirements specified by the scrum master and work according to the sprints defined by the scrum master. Sprints are widely used in Scrum methodology to divide the tasks into a few weeks. The duration of each sprint depends on the goals and the deadline for project submission. Some segregate the tasks into a sprint each of two weeks. 

Characteristics of Scrum Testing: 

The following characteristics can outline the essence of Scrum testing:

  1. Iterative Sequences: Scrum testing operates within recurring sequences that are iterated continuously. This iterative approach enables regular assessments, adjustments, and enhancements throughout the development lifecycle.
  2. Time-Bound Lifecycles: The testing process in Scrum adheres to time-bound lifecycles. These lifecycles have predefined durations, allowing the team to focus intensively on testing efforts within each cycle.
  3. Scheduled Precision: Scrum testing is structured around fixed schedules for each testing cycle. This disciplined scheduling ensures that testing activities are synchronized with the overall development process.
  4. Key Development Gadgets: The testing process in Scrum is intricately linked with essential components of the development framework. These crucial elements collectively contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of the testing process.

Objectives of Scrum Testing

The main objective of Scrum testing is to achieve the overall testing goals and ensure to deliver software that meets customer requirements. The objectives of Scrum testing include

Validate Functionality: The testers compare the end goals with the developed application and see the different goals that succeed. This ensures that the software delivers the expected value to the end users.

Early Detection of errors: It aims to detect defects and issues at the early stage of the development process. By testing continuously the software during each sprint, testers can identify and report defects promptly, allowing the development team to address them in a timely manner. Early defect detection helps reduce the cost and effort associated with fixing defects later in the development cycle.

Continuous Feedback: Testers collaborate closely with the development team to provide feedback on features, identify improvements, and suggest changes to improve efficiency.

Collaboration and Communication: The concept of scrum fosters effective communication between testers, developers, and other stakeholders. Testers actively participate in sprint planning, daily stand-up meetings, and other Scrum activities to ensure alignment with the development team. This results in Continuous improvement of the software.

Deliver Quality Software Incrementally: The ultimate objective of Scrum testing is to deliver software increments at the end of each sprint. By validating functionality, providing continuous feedback from the initial stage, and collaborating across teams, Scrum testing ensures that the software meets the desired quality standards.

Importance of Scrum Testing

The traditional waterfall method for developing products resulted in products that needed to be more logical and relevant to the customers and developers. Therefore, to handle these issues and keep pace with changes in technology, Scrum was developed.

The scrum framework really helps with commitment by breaking things down into sprints of short durations, thereby avoiding the point where a team feels committed to something too distant, which is alienating and demotivating.

By having scrum roles like scrum master and product owner, there is enough leadership to inspire courage among the product developers and other team members.

Due to sprint planning, scrum highlights focus with laser precision for everyone, while sprint retrospectives can help refocus for the next round of tasks.

Having control over the empirical process is the first big scrum principle. You have to take a good look at the resources you have or have access to. For example, do regular inspections, and also be transparent with what you find out. What’s more, be realistic if you feel you need to adapt. People in all scrum roles benefit when this principle is respected.

Organizing is done and maintained very well here. Although projects are always a teamwork effort, scrum optimizes for much self-organization. This is great for allowing individuals and small scrum teams to figure out for themselves how best to reach each sprint goal, deliverable or product increment milestone. 

Timeboxing is another way of talking about sprints that are contained and small enough to handle without much difficulty. The scrum meeting is a hyper example of the time box, as it is usually set at no longer than 15 minutes a day. Timeboxing is usually taken care of by the scrum master.

Iterative development is all about not putting the cart before the horse. When your team envisages a new product, it’s a good idea to break it down into stages (like a waterfall) where you can regularly produce something worth testing and getting feedback from. This is often the purview of the product owner.

Phases of Scrum Testing

Scrum planning: This involves the initial steps of planning for a scrum master and a team, defining project goals, and creating epics. An epic is an entire piece of work that will add value to the end product. Once the epic is defined, the product backlogs consisting of sub-tasks to attain the epic defined are created and assigned to various developers. Once the development planning is done, release planning is performed.

Test Planning And Development: occurs shortly after the scrum planning. Testers create a test plan that outline the testing activities, objectives, and strategies for the sprint. This includes identifying the test cases and scenarios and test data required for validating the functionality. The test plan also considers any specific testing techniques or tools to be used. 

Development activities begin in parallel too. Once the scrum planning is done, the development team starts building the product according to sprints, backlogs, and epics defined in the planning phase.

Test Execution: Once the development work is done, testers begin executing the test cases to verify the functionality. They test the developed features, perform regression testing, and ensure that the software meets the defined acceptance criteria. Testers may use manual testing techniques or automated test scripts, depending on the complexity and scope of the sprint.

Defect Reporting and Resolution: During test execution, if testers encounter any issues, they report them to the development team. Defects are documented with all details, such as steps, expected results, and actual results. They collaborate with the developers to investigate and resolve the reported defects.

Sprint Retrospective: Another important Scrum ceremony is the sprint retrospective, where the Scrum team reflects on the sprint and identifies areas for improvement. Testers actively participate in the retrospective, sharing their insights, challenges faced, and suggestions to enhance the testing process.

Key Attributes of Scrum Testing: 

Project Goals:
The project goals encompass the fundamental concept behind the project and the software’s specific requirements. This phase focuses on determining whether the software aligns with the essential needs. It encompasses comprehensive planning and requirement analysis, with various attributes contributing to its composition.

Product Backlog:
The product backlog comprises a compilation of user experiences that pertain to a Scrum product. The product owner takes charge of creating and maintaining this backlog. It’s organized into categories by the product owner, while team members can contribute to it with the product owner’s approval.

Sprint Backlog:
The sprint backlog compiles the user experiences slated for completion within a sprint. Unlike work assignments during this stage, team members autonomously commit to tasks. The sprint backlog’s management rests with the team. Daily updates of the remaining estimated work are made, and it essentially encompasses the tasks designated for execution within the sprint.

Scrum Testing Approach

Iterative Testing: Scrum technology follows the iterations of the Scrum framework, where development and testing activities occur in the form of sprints. Testing is performed continuously throughout the development process yielding rapid feedback and defects from time to time.

Collaborative Approach: Scrum testing emphasizes collaboration and close communication between testers, developers, and other stakeholders. The entire Scrum team works together to plan, develop, and test software features, ensuring that everyone is aligned on the testing goals and priorities.

Retrospective and Continuous Improvement: Scrum testing methodology includes regular retrospectives where the Scrum team reflects on the testing process and identifies areas for improvement. Testers actively participate in these retrospectives, providing insights and suggestions to enhance the testing practices and address any challenges or bottlenecks.

Role of a Tester in Scrum Testing

A tester’s role is crucial in ensuring the quality of the software being developed. Testers actively participate as integral members of the Scrum team and contribute to various aspects of the development process. Here are the key roles and responsibilities of a tester in Scrum:

Test Planning and Creation: Testers are responsible for creating a test plan and defining the testing strategy for the sprint Testers may collaborate with developers and the product owner to clarify requirements and validate the accuracy of tests and completeness and create them.

Test Execution and Automation: Testers execute the defined test cases to validate the functionality of an application. They conduct various testing activities, such as functional testing, integration testing, regression testing, and usability testing. Testers follow the test plan and document test results, including any defects or issues encountered during testing. Testers may utilize test automation to improve testing efficiency and effectiveness. They develop and maintain automated test scripts to automate repetitive or complex testing activities. 

Test automation helps accelerate the testing process, increase test coverage, and enable continuous integration and testing practices. Some of the test automation tools used by testers include  Testsigma, selenium, Appium, Cucumber. 

Learn more about test automation here.

Defect Reporting and Resolution: Testers play a critical role in detecting and reporting defects. When defects are identified during testing, testers document them in detail, including steps to reproduce, expected results, and actual results. They collaborate closely with the development team to investigate and resolve reported defects, ensuring their timely resolution.

Advantages of Scrum Testing

  1. Quality Assessment: Scrum testing plays a vital role in assessing and ensuring software quality. By integrating testing throughout the development process, teams can identify issues early on, leading to a higher-quality end product.
  2. Unit Testing: Scrum testing facilitates unit testing, a crucial practice where individual components or units of code are tested in isolation. This helps catch bugs and ensure that each piece of code functions correctly.
  3. Complex Software Development: Scrum testing is particularly beneficial when dealing with complex software projects. Its iterative and incremental approach allows teams to break down complex functionalities into manageable tasks, improving overall development efficiency and maintaining focus on quality.

What is the Difference Between Agile and Scrum Testing Methodology?

Agile TestingScrum Testing
Agile is a continuous iteration of development and testing in the software development processScrum is an Agile process to focus on delivering business value in the shortest time.
Agile methodology delivers the software on a regular basis for feedback Scrum delivers the software after each sprint.
In the Agile process, leadership plays a vital roleIt fosters a self-organizing, cross-functional team.
Agile involves collaborations and face-to-face interactions between the members of various cross-functional teamsScrum collaboration is achieved in daily stand up meetings.

Challenges of Agile Scrum Testing

  1. Adapting to Agile Mindset: Shifting from traditional testing methodologies to Agile Scrum requires a mindset change. Testers need to adapt to the iterative and incremental development approach, embrace change, and be open to continuous collaboration and feedback. It may take time for testers to adjust their mindset and approach to align with Agile principles.
  1. Time Management: Agile Scrum projects work in timeboxed iterations or sprints, typically lasting a few weeks. Testers must effectively manage their time to complete testing activities within the sprint duration. Prioritizing tests, optimizing test coverage, and balancing speed with thoroughness become critical to meet sprint goals.
  1. Limited Documentation: Agile Scrum favors working software over comprehensive documentation. This can be a challenge for testers who are accustomed to detailed test plans, test cases, and extensive documentation. Testers need to strike a balance between having sufficient documentation to guide testing activities and avoiding excessive documentation that hinders agility.
  1. Continuous Testing: Agile Scrum promotes continuous testing throughout the development lifecycle, requiring testers to perform testing activities frequently and rapidly. Testers need to ensure quick turnaround time for test execution and feedback to keep up with the pace of development. This can put pressure on testers to maintain high productivity and deliver timely results.

Conclusion

The methodology of Scrum is an effective way of managing your software process. Adapting this in testing for complex applications helps make your software delivery process accurate and efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is scrum called agile?

Both Scrum and Agile are similar terms. They both follow the approach of sprints and iterations in the software development process making it seem similar. However, there are some minute differences like Scrum being more business-centric than Agile which focuses more on the development process being done accurately according to the iteration cycle. 

What are some of the examples in scrum?

Scrum methodology and scrum testing can be used in all kinds of software development processes. Examples include a web application with multiple modules responsible for different software requirements defined by the product owner. Even a mobile application can incorporate a scrum testing approach to make their application more efficient and follow a standard criteria which is done and maintained through sprints.

What is meant by scrum and agile?

Scrum and Agile are software development methodologies that have a set of procedures to be used during the SDLC to ensure all the areas of the software development checks are done and maintained.


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