The Evolution of Quality Assurance in Agile Development

Quality Assurance in Agile Development

Have you ever wondered how quality assurance has evolved with the rise of agile development? The traditional waterfall methodology is a thing of the past. Today, agile dominates the software development landscape with its iterative approach and focus on collaboration, adaptability, and customer satisfaction.

The Application Development Software market is booming, fueled by the growing need for digitization. As consumers crave a superior digital experience, the allure of application platforms and platform-as-a-service options grows. These options assist developers in handling the mounting complexity of application infrastructure.

The rise of IoT and AI brings exciting growth opportunities to this field. According to Statista, Canada’s Application Development Software market is set to flourish, with a projected growth of 6.29% by 2028. This growth will lead to a market volume of US$7.23bn.

Agile’s popularity will increase demand for QA specialists with the proper abilities and mentality. Get the training and experience you need to enter the field or advance your QA career now. QA professionals must follow trends to stay ahead. This article describes the evolution of Quality Assurance in Agile Development

The Agile Manifesto and Quality Assurance

The Agile Manifesto stresses “working software over comprehensive documentation”. That doesn’t imply quality assurance is ignored. QA is crucial to Agile development, even when techniques change.


In traditional QA, testing is done at the end of long development cycles. Requirements are set up front, and changes are difficult. Agile QA, on the other hand, focuses on constant testing and feedback. Requirements evolve based on customer needs.


QA participates in daily standups, collaborates closely with developers, and may even be embedded in dev teams. They test early and often, not just at the end.


Test cases are less rigid. Instead of strict pass/fail criteria, the goal is to identify risks and figure out the best solutions. QA offers insight into what matters most to customers.


Automation is key. Manual testing alone won’t cut it. QA automates regression tests to free up time for exploratory testing and new features.

Documentation is lightweight. The focus is working software, so the docs are high-level. Details live in the code and in QA’s knowledge.


Agile changed software development. By embracing change, QA can shape the products of tomorrow. The future is unwritten, so get out there and write it!

Quality Assurance Roles in Agile

As an Agile QA engineer, you’ll work closely with developers, product owners, and users to ensure quality at every step.

Agile QA engineers typically take on a few key responsibilities:

● Participating in planning meetings to provide quality guidance on user stories and acceptance criteria. You’ll help identify risks, uncertainties, and test scenarios.
● Reviewing user stories, wireframes, and other design documents to spot issues early. The sooner problems are found, the easier they are to fix.
● Writing automated tests to validate new functionality as it is developed. Automation frees up your time to focus on more complex testing.
● Exploratory testing to find unexpected issues. While automation handles repetition, exploratory testing provides creative insights.
● Coaching other team members on quality best practices. Share your QA expertise to build a culture where quality is everyone’s job.

Some key ways the QA role has evolved in Agile include:

1. Becoming a QA advocate.

You need to promote the importance of quality to the entire scrum team. Help developers build in quality through test-driven development and pair programming. Educate product owners on the value of QA to the customer experience.

2. Collaborating closely with developers.

Work together to define test strategies, build automated testing into sprints, and troubleshoot defects. This tight collaboration will enable you to gain valuable context into the code and systems under test.

3. Focusing on business risks.

With shorter release cycles, you need to prioritize testing critical user workflows and key features. Determine what functionality has the biggest impact on the customer and business. Help the product owner identify and mitigate risks.

4. Automating as much as possible.

To keep up with rapid changes, aim for a high degree of test automation. Automate build verification testing, smoke testing, regression testing, and as much of your functional and user interface testing as possible. This allows your team to scale QA efficiently.

5. QA in Agile is a collaborative effort.

Rather than a separate testing phase, quality is built into the entire process through communication, automation, and a shared commitment to excellence. By embedding QA expertise in cross-functional teams, Agile methods allow companies to deliver higher quality products and a better overall customer experience. The future of QA is Agile!

Common QA challenges in Agile development

Adapting to a faster-paced development cycle.

Agile QAs encounter unique problems, unlike traditional QAs. Fast-paced Agile might make it hard to stay up with rapid changes. Your testing approach must be adaptable because sprint requirements are often defined and amended. You’ll have limited time to execute elaborate test plans; therefore, prioritize high-impact tests.

Gaining the soft skills required, like collaboration and communication.

Another challenge is getting product owners and developers to collaborate. Since agile demands constant communication, establish a relationship and provide feedback frequently. Attend the daily standups, demonstrations, and retrospectives to stay up to date with the team.

Struggle to Keep Balance Between Automation & Manual Testing:

Agile QAs also have trouble striking a balance between human and automated testing. While regression testing is automated, new features and challenging user stories need to be tested manually. To concentrate manual testing on high-priority areas, automate repetitive tasks. First, automate smoke testing; after a sprint, go on to additional tests.

Updating Latest Trends:

Keeping up with new tools and frameworks is difficult. Continuous learning is required in the ever-changing QA landscape. Each week, investigate new technology, read blogs, listen to podcasts, and use team-beneficial tools.

Difficult to Demonstrate the Value of Testing to Stakeholders:

Finally, some QAs struggle to convince stakeholders of testing’s value. Proactively contact product owners, managers, and customers. Share analytics, test reports, and feedback to demonstrate how QA improves product quality and customer pleasure. Explain how some tests reduce risks or improve usability. Agile QA projects need transparency and education to get acceptance.

With experience, these challenges become more manageable. By facing these challenges head-on, you’ll evolve into an Agile QA.

Future Trends in Agile Quality Assurance

Some emerging trends in Agile QA to watch for include:

Automation expansion

Test automation will encompass performance, security, and accessibility testing. Automation is necessary to ensure quality during faster delivery cycles. Continue investing in automation frameworks, tools, and skills.

Shift left

QA will move “left” in the development lifecycle to catch errors early. This includes working more closely with developers, building tests alongside code, and testing user stories as they’re produced rather than waiting for a release. Shifting left lowers rework and improves quality.

AI and ML

AI and ML will be used more for test optimization and defect prediction. AI can recommend tests based on code modifications, while ML can identify defect-prone patterns. These solutions help QA focus on the most important tasks.

DevOps integration

DevOps will break down development-QA barriers. Developers will take increasing responsibility for testing and quality as QA engineers integrate with them. End-to-end collaboration and product quality responsibilities are encouraged in DevOps.

Focus on experience

With speedier releases, QA will consider user experience as well as functionality. Exploratory testing, usability testing, and integrating new features into the product experience will take more time. Good user experience keeps customers coming back.


With Agile development accelerating the pace of software delivery, quality assurance has had to evolve rapidly. As an Agile QA professional, your role is more critical than ever. To keep up with the breakneck speed of development sprints, you need to embed quality into the entire development lifecycle.

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