RenditionDigital International: The Changing Role of Software Testing in an Agile Environment
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Daniel Flaherty, CEO
Software testing remains a very important and integral part of software development. Before the advent of Agile practices, software testing was an afterthought; something that was done right after coding. Software testing has come a long way from there. Some teams even write the tests first, before writing the actual codes. The tests not only serve as a gatekeeper for releases, but more importantly, they also serve as important documentation for the code.
It has been two decades since the Agile manifesto was published, and businesses have spent a good part of it trying to figure out how testers fit into this new paradigm. Businesses are getting better at this because the tools have gotten better. The proliferation of automated testing techniques has immensely helped transition from waterfall to the highly iterative Agile practice. RenditionDigital International, a Dublin, Ireland, headquartered company, is one such provider of cost-effective solutions and end-to-end support for the entire product development lifecycle. “Whether the client is looking to augment their existing engineering team, or completely outsource their software engineering, RenditionDigital International provides the solutions, tailored to meet the needs of their business,” says Daniel Flaherty, CEO of the company.
A key reason why high-performing teams have succeeded in adopting Agile practices is that the roles within the development team have shifted. Nowadays, everyone tests.
Whether the client is looking to augment their existing engineering team, or completely outsource their software engineering, RenditionDigital International provides the solutions, tailored to meet the needs of their business
A typical Agile team is composed of 3-6 developers, a product owner, a SCRUM master and a QA engineer. “We no longer use an army of testers to end the development process. As the team matures, everyone becomes more and more cross-functional. Everybody becomes a tester,” adds Flaherty. Functional testing is no longer the exclusive province of the QA engineer; this has become the task of the developer. The advancement of testing frameworks and the team being more cross-functional makes it possible for functional testing to occur at a point very close to requirements definition.
The role of the QA engineer also has shifted. Now that QAs are not saddled with functional testing, they can focus on more value-added testing like looking for edge cases, exploratory and integration testing. Together with the shift of responsibilities, is the shift on core skills of the QA; now, they can also code. The ability to speak the same language with the development team is a big time saver. RenditionDigital International understands this need and offers design verification teams for unbiased, objective testing of client’s products. This way, clients can reduce the burden on their QA teams. “For clients who have developed their own web or software product in-house, but choose not to QA in-house, our professional test engineers provide independent testing using manual and/or automated testing systems,” says Flaherty. RenditionDigital International can also provide staff augmentation to fill resource or skill-set gaps among your existing engineering staff. “We can also deploy a team of test engineers to work with our clients’ product development team.”
It is good to include Product Owners in the manual testing phase, in fact, it should be part of their responsibilities. This phase of testing is an excellent time to focus on what matters most to the biggest stakeholders (the users). In the absence of a Product Owner, the QA engineer can step into this role.
The Agile practice has resulted in tremendous benefits in code delivery. It has made the development team nimbler and more responsive to changing business needs. The QA and development teams will continually evolve, up until the point where their responsibilities are combined, and RenditionDigital International will continue along the same lines.
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