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Are Test Levels Still Relevant in Agile Software Development? | David Tzemach

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

In traditional software development environments, test levels like unit, integration, system, end-to-end and UAT tests are commonly used to ensure no repetition between the different phases of the development life cycle.

However, Agile testing is different. Testing is no longer a separate phase. All team members must work together to get work done, and most often, test levels are defined as part of the Definition of Done. For example:

Incorporated unit tests in DoD

  • All unit tests are automated and checked in.

  • All unit tests were executed and passed 100%.

  • Unit test code reviewed.

  • 100% unit tests coverage.

Incorporated integration tests in DoD

  • All bugs found were reported and fixed.

  • All automated tests are integrated into the CI system.

  • There are no critical issues open.

  • Tests cover both positive and negative tests.

Incorporated system tests in DoD

  • Functional and non-functional tests covered.

  • Stories tested end-to-end.

  • Testing was done using customer data.

  • Testing was done in a production-like environment.

  • Bugs identified, reported, fixed and verified.

  • All Tests are automated and checked in.

Incorporated UAT tests in DoD

  • Tests approved and reviewed by the customer.

  • Tests executed on customer environment.

  • Customer feedback is used as input for future sprints.

In short:

  • Agile doesn’t have separate test levels. Different test layers can run in parallel.

  • All team members commit to the testing effort based on their own capabilities.

  • The term “test levels” is no longer suitable in Agile software development because it is an anti-pattern for a clear deviation between programmers and testers.

  • Everybody has the same responsibility to make the team successful.

  • The ‘Whole-Team’ approach to testing is crucial for the team to adopt Agile testing.

  • Agile testing should cover all test levels, which contribute to the overall quality of the product.

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