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The Strategy to Handle Defects in the Agile Development Methodology

What is Agile Methodology?

Agile methodology can be defined as an iterative and incremental model to software development life cycle that is driven by collaboration, continuous communication, and customer feedback. It is a set of practices where customer satisfaction is prioritized, there is team involvement, and the delivery of working software is done in small, incremental releases. Here, software development and testing activities are carried out hand in hand and continuously throughout the project. This allows for quick and constant feedback from stakeholders and end-users which enables developers to incorporate it into the development process, resulting in a product that best suits the needs of the customers. It is a flexible and adaptable model which is best-suited for projects with where requirements are changing frequently, often there is change in environments, or rapidly evolving technologies, as it allows for continuous adaptation and improvement throughout the software development lifecycle.

What is a Defect in Agile?

A defect in Agile is when a product backlog item does not meet the acceptance criteria. The product owner is responsible for owning, managing, and prioritizing the product backlog tasks/stories and their acceptance criteria. As per the context stated, a defect can be defined as a situation where an item in the product backlog fails to meet its acceptance criteria following which the product owner is the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to defects, as they are responsible for ensuring that the items in the product backlog meet the acceptance criteria.

Bug vs Defect

In software testing, these terms are often used interchangeably, but they can also be understood to have slightly different meanings depending on the context.

A bug is an error, flaw, mistake, or unexpected behavior in a software program or system that produces incorrect or unintended results. It occurs when the actual behavior of the software does not match its expected behavior, as defined in the requirements or design documents. Bugs can be caused by various factors, such as coding errors, incorrect assumptions, miscommunications between team members, or limitations in the programming language or tools used.

A defect, on the other hand, can be seen as a more general term that includes bugs but also refers to any discrepancy or deviation from the specified requirements, design, or user expectations. Defects can be present in any stage of the software development process, including requirements, design, coding, testing, or documentation. In addition to bugs, defects can include omissions, ambiguities, or inconsistencies that may lead to incorrect or unexpected software behavior.

While many people use the terms “bug” and “defect” interchangeably, some may differentiate them based on these definitions. In this context, a bug can be considered a specific type of defect that arises from programming mistakes or errors. However, it is common for professionals in the software industry to use both terms to refer to any issue in a software system that affects its functionality, performance, or user experience.

Can Bugs be Treated as “Tasks” or “Stories”?

Usually, the product backlog represents all that is needed to improve the product. The High Priority (P1/S1) could be created as a bug/defect on the sprint backlog to be fixed in the same sprint; others could be added to the product backlog. A bug is a change that is needed to improve the product just as a new feature would. Hence the bugs can be included as an item in the product backlog so that they can be prioritized by the product owner appropriately. When the priority is set high enough by the product owner, they will be picked up by the development team in the next sprint.

Strategies to Handle Defects in Agile:

Clear communication with Developers, Product Owners, Stakeholders

Clear communication is a must when working with all team members in agile projects because it is easier for developers and stakeholders to share and exchange information to drive the project forward. Since minimalist documentation is involved, agile communication is about reducing the steps required to get the information across, which is of primary importance.

Following Best Practices in Defect Management

Best practices need to be followed for managing the defects like a detailed analysis of the requirements to reduce the possibility of defects, describing the defects with complete details: steps to reproduce the issue, the functional area where it is happening, and describing the actual output and expected output, screenshots, and recordings (where needed)

Defect Prioritization

Marking defects with severity and priority are of utmost importance. Priority refers to the importance of resolving the defect from the end user or customer’s point of view. They can be assigned as Priority 1, which indicates it is an important defect, followed by Priority 2, which indicates the defect is of medium importance, to Priority 3, indicating the defect is of low importance. Severity is a factor used to identify how much a defect impairs product functionality. It can be assigned as Severity 1, which could be a system crash and is critical, Severity 2, where the core feature is not working, Severity 3 where the feature is not working but can be made fixed with a workaround and is medium, Severity 4 and 5 which can be minor – such as a cosmetic defect.

Focus on Defect Prevention, not Defect Detection

Defect prevention is often a better strategy than defect detection since it can help improve the quality, efficiency, and reliability of products while reducing risks and costs associated with defects. This can be achieved through code reviews which help identify potential issues early in the development process. Thorough requirement analysis can help identify potential issues with the design or functionality of the software and prevent defects from occurring. Continuous process improvement helps improve the software development process and can help identify and eliminate the root causes of defects. Adapting test-driven development can help ensure that the code meets the requirements and is free from defects.

Proactive Defect Handling

Proactive defect handling is a better approach than being reactive in handling defects which can help identify defects early in the SDLC and reduce time, cost, and effort. Even after defects are identified, few measures can be undertaken to achieve proactive defect handling – such as looking for potential areas where defects could be found. Tracking and monitoring properly in the defect tracking system, additionally conducting regression testing to validate the possible impacted areas.

Visualizing Defects

Visualizing defects is a very helpful technique for defect management and can provide insights into the nature and scope of defects in software development. There are several means by which visualization of the defects can be achieved, like using defect tracking dashboards which have the provision to represent key metrics like defect density, defect trend, and defect resolution rate along with the graphs and charts which help provide factual information at a glance about the status and progress of the projects. Other options could be Heat Maps, Process Flow diagrams, and Fishbone diagrams, also known as Ishikawa diagrams.

Implementing CI/CD

Implementing CI/CD can deliver software faster and with greater reliability since it helps in identifying defects early. CI also helps implement automated testing that allows ensuring defects are caught before they cause significant problems. When the build, test, and deployment are automated, there is an automatic advantage of faster defect detection and resolution. It also helps in improved communication and collaboration among the team members and stakeholders.

Tech Lead Leadership and Definition of Done

A strong dev lead understands the significance of defining the Definition of Done (DoD) in the software development cycle. The DoD might include complete unit and integration tests that are performed on the code for every user story. This requires the dev team to write testable code from both a unit test and an integration test perspective. Dev Lead needs to work closely with the development team to define and enforce the DoD and ensure that software development is of high quality, defects are detected early, and releases are more reliable. Dev Lead also ensures that the development team has the necessary resources, such as SDETs, to perform thorough testing and that testing is automated wherever possible. This approach can result in defect-free products and higher customer satisfaction.

Conducting Retrospectives

A retrospective is a post-mortem, highlighting the positives and negatives of the testing. This may be useful for upcoming releases and new projects. Retrospective helps in analyzing the defects raised between software releases. Using the defect tracking features will allow us to compare releases, which will illustrate if there are more bugs in particular releases. It can also compare the number of defects found to the amount of time spent on testing. It can also help track the number of defects that leak into production, as this will indicate whether the techniques are efficient. Investigating the defects gives a heads-up on where the team can improve and ensure that subsequent work will improve in future releases.

How testRigor Improves Agile Testing:

Automation is essential for Agile testing because it helps teams to deliver high-quality software products faster and more efficiently. testRigor improves Agile testing by delivering software products and services with the highest quality, with improved collaboration and reduced costs.

testRigor is a codeless and easy-to-use tool, making it more advantageous for automation than tools that use programming languages. Users create scripts with testRigor up to 15 times faster than with other automation tools, and time spent on test maintenance is negligible.

With testRigor, there is a much better collaboration among all stakeholders, whether technical or non-technical. Anyone on the team will be able to read and understand the tests.

Here’re the main reasons why teams love testRigor as their end-to-end automation tools:
  1. Usage of plain English: Testers can create and understand tests in plain English without relying on locators, making the test creation process accessible to anyone, regardless of their programming knowledge.

  2. Cross-platform support: testRigor supports web testing on desktop and mobile browsers across multiple operating systems, as well as mobile testing on physical devices and hybrid apps.

  3. Time efficiency: Customers using testRigor reportedly spend 200 times less on testing than Selenium users, making it an attractive option for quickly changing products.

  4. Comprehensive testing capabilities: testRigor offers a wide range of testing features, including email, API, and 2FA login support, data-driven testing with datasets, validation of downloaded files, and more.

  5. Integrations: testRigor is compatible with numerous test case management systems, CI platforms, and infrastructure providers, making it easy to integrate into existing workflows and systems.

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