Software Testing in Agile Development : Technological and Organisational Challenges

University dissertation from Västerås : Mälardalen University

Abstract: The emerging industrial trend towards agile software development processes brings forth new concerns, challenges as well as opportunities. One of the main concerns is with respect to the achievable quality levels of the final product, for which testing is the well-known assurance mechanism. However, it is not well defined for the community on how to perform testing using existing expertise in an agile environment. This uncertainty may create confusion and contra productivity that can lead to testing teams and their practices considered as an obstacle for full implementation of agile processes within an organisation. This thesis outlines our current research activities towards identifying and addressing important organisational and technical challenges in the agile environment.  In this context, we propose a new role for traditional testers which will enable them to integrate into the agile team as well as to fully exploit their knowledge in the new context. We have conducted an elaborate industrial survey on the preferences and practices with respect to the contemporary aspects of software testing and identified test-driven development as an important technical area for improvement.  A systematic review on empirical evidences related to test-driven development was performed subsequently, which revealed a list of factors limiting its widespread industrial acceptance. Knowledge of testing was identified as one of those factors and was further investigated in a controlled experiment performed with undergraduate students. Our future works aim to confirm these research findings in wider as well as industrial settings and investigate other limiting factors in detail, with the aim of providing guidelines for achieving better utilisation of testers and testing practices. 

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