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Applying the Agile Manifesto to mobile testing

The beginning of this century was marked by the birth of a document that has strongly influenced software development: the Agile Manifesto. Signed by 17 software developers in February 2001, this document presents a list of ideas that were discussed by many developers, but few dared to use it. In the last 14 years, flexible methodologies have outpaced classical models of the project life cycle. The Agile principles have influenced a great number of new software development approaches.

Flexible technologies have also impacted the whole sphere of quality assurance. Testers have turned into universal soldiers able to complete their tasks while time and information constraints limit them. The particularity of mobile projects allows using a maximum amount of flexibility to achieve the true quality of software product.


While there are many flexible methodologies, the Agile principles are fitting mobile testing best. The world of electronic gadgets itself requires special flexibility, not to mention the process of working on mobile projects.

Each user of a modern mobile device faces issues while operating a particular application. Numerous defects in mobile applications are making them competitively disadvantageous as there are many apps performing the same function. The constant updating and following of the mobile fashion require maximum flexibility in the development and testing of mobile software.

We should underline two key ideas of the Agile Manifesto that are the most applicable to mobile app:

  • The real working product is much more important than its detailed description in documentation
  • Flexibility and readiness to change is more important than following the original plan.

Why Agile is the best approach for mobile testing?

In this section, we present the mains reasons why Agile methodologies provide the best approach for mobile testing.

1. Continuous evolution of product to satisfy customer and user needs

The application should be simply the best among many competitors. Successful developers of mobile apps want to see their product at the top of all charts and ratings. Without doubts, a fast reaction to the market’s demand is one of the keys to success in the mobile world.

For QA engineers such trends often lead to frequent changes in requirements, performing testing “on the wing” and a lack of well-structured documentation. Agile concepts could be real lifesaver in this case.

The following Agile principles are applicable:

  • Achieving customer satisfaction with rapid delivery of useful software
  • Welcoming changing requirements, even late in development
  • Working software is delivered frequently in weeks rather than months

These practical tools allow implementing these principles:

  • Common access to build storage
  • Clarification of functionality on daily scrums
  • Notifications about availability of the newest builds

One of the basic features of mobile applications development is the ability to provide the latest version of the product for testing at practically any given time. In most cases, the application’s build and its deployment requires not more than 20 minutes. Constant and uninterrupted supply of application versions to QA specialists enables the customer to receive the validated product on demand.

The ability to make rapid changes and the opportunity for tester to check the new functionality in a few minutes at a critical moment can dramatically improve the competitiveness of mobile product on the market. Thus, the customer can implement any cadence of supply, up to 1 hour, and QA will be ready for that.

In a recent project, the customer wanted to receive new version of the app each Tuesday, but the only chance to clarify the change request was during the weekly call on the previous Friday.

2. Readiness to react on new operating systems and new devices

The world of mobile technology is developing rapidly and this speed cannot be compared with any other area of IT technologies. Information about the latest trends, the correct choice of test environment and the willingness to follow innovations from leading companies should be provided by QA leads. The flexibility has to be demonstrated equally by QA team leaders as well by quality assurance engineers.

The following Agile principle can be used here:

  • Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

These three methods and tools making it possible implement this principle:

  • Tracking of mobile novelties
  • Working with custom firmware
  • Planning of the tests for further OS/device release

The testing of custom the Android Lollypop firmware on target device before its official release is a practical example of the application of this principle.

Read the full article here.

The article by Nadia Knysh was published on Scrum Expert.

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