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Agile-Based Testing Versus Waterfall-Based Testing

Pros and Cons

18 March 2016

Ravi Sankar Konidena
STC Software

Testing is one of the critical phases in the software development life cycle. It has recently become more critical due to an increased failure in quality. This fact has led to many debates about quality-related to innovation in software development. Because the pursuit of quality cannot solve the real challenge of an organization's success, software testing has gained prominence mostly in services organizations. Testing has become an integral stage of the software development cycle, with thorough unit testing and documented results required from developers.

This article discusses Agile-based and Waterfall-based testing methods for the purpose of comparing the two. Waterfall-based testing is the method that draws from the Waterfall model of the software development cycle; testing is performed during the software cycle. The following are the typical phases of the Waterfall model in the software development cycle:
  1. Requirements-gathering phase
  2. Software design phase
  3. Software development phase
  4. Software testing phase
  5. Software release
All phases are completely secured through validation. The first and second phases are repeatedly validated mainly by thorough group reviews. The third phase of software development is validated by conducting unit testing on all the functional modules through the unit test plan, along with documented results. The fourth and fifth phases are validated by checklists and an expert team help to ensure successful delivery.

In contrast to the Waterfall-based testing method, Agile-based testing is totally leadership-driven, depending on Agile abilities. This testing draws from the experience of the ScrumMaster, who is a critical role in this model. Critical blocks of both technical and functional code are picked up for thorough testing, which is usually exhaustive, with 100 percent coverage. Automation is used whenever possible to complete this task by running scripts. Whenever there is integration work with a third-party system, the system interface is simulated to determine the testing need.

Finally, Agile-based testing brings in a level of innovation and freedom that Waterfall-based testing cannot. But the process-driven Waterfall-based testing gains points by having fewer expectations based on team experience. It also provides the best predictability required at the end, which also helps prepare metrics and maintain historical information on testing completed to date.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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