Word modern in IT business means hours and hours researching and learning because only by staying modern will you stay on track. Modern is simply the only possible way. It is important to deeply understand trends in the software industry to implement them into a daily business routine. So, in this article, we will explain software quality assurance in the traditional sense, in the Agile approach, and compare them with some essential features.
Traditional Approach to Software Development
When developing software in a traditional way, this process will include several steps from requirements gathering to releasing of the product. In all of those phases, the focus is on creating a flawless product by software quality standards. So, there are four stages in each project of traditional software development.
First one sets up all of the requirements and gives an estimation of the time necessary to implement the different phases of development. After that, the second step is designing and architectural phase. It deals with potential problems that the project may face and prepares a solution. When architectural and designing phase is over, the project moves to the third stage. It is the development stage, where developers write code and build features. At last, the testing phase comes after the development stage. A team of testers perform various test cases and test from the role of an end-user to make sure that a product meets all of the requirements and that there are no errors. In this stage, the customer will become a part of the testing and feedback cycle. Finally, after the client gives the green light, developers release the product.
Pros and Cons of the Traditional Approach
- Progress is easy to measure because everything is familiar at the beginning.
- Customer’s presence is not necessary after the requirement phase finishes, except on meetings.
- The design is completed at the beginning, so this approach is a good fit for projects where several software components have to be designed for integration with external systems.
- The software can be designed more carefully and comprehensively because everything is defined at the beginning and there are no changing opinions. There is no upgrading of code and putting its pieces in parts where they may or may not fit well.
- Changing business requirements affects already developed test cases.
- Testing is the last activity in complete software developing process, so many QA activities don’t apply because the release date is close.
- Finding errors late in the process, as a result, may affect the entire product after changing them.
- The way of communication is risky because the client may have different expectations of the final product.
- Because the client involves at the end of the development phase, there can be significant delays between the end of the code writing and receive feedback.
Agile Approach to Software Development
An Agile software development methodology applies the progressive and iterative approach to developing and testing the software products. Agile way neglects extensive planning and design up front, it allows changing requirements during the whole development phase, because the entire team of planners, designers, developers, and testers work together on successive iterations of the product’s lifetime.
The work advances in iterations, several stages that should last equally. Every phase should deliver a product with all the features planned for that specific iteration. At the end of every iteration, the customer will receive updated working software so that he can express his opinions and suggest some changes if needed.
Working in Agile Team
The Agile team is a mixture of all kind of people and functions that cooperate to accomplish a common goal – to develop and deliver a flawless software product to the market. These teams are self-organising, and they communicate on a daily basis, face to face. That kind of communication is very efficient, and it is simpler for everyone. There are no misunderstandings and unresolved issues. Client’s inclusion in communication is very significant because he can always give his feedback and suggest changes. The Agile approach significantly shortens the time and feedback loops, so the the communication flow is excellent.
Every project is different, and problem resolving will depend on the problem, people, and resources available to dealing with difficulties. As an Agile team member, you should be ready for changes and be adaptive in the team. The agile approach might seem confusing and chaotic, and because of these reasons, people reject to become a part of the Agile team. But, it is not true. If understood right and implemented well, an Agile team is an excellent place to be a tester.
Pros and Cons to Agile Approach
- Quick delivery of the final software product is possible because of constant feedback.
- There is an excellent communication and collaboration between the whole developing team and most of all with the client.
- Changes to requirements are welcome, at any stage of development, even in late one.
- It has an opportunity for continuous improvement for live systems.
- Finally, it is very transparent.
- Methodologies in Agile approach are harder to understand at the beginning.
- Although documentation is not extensive, it needs to exist. It needs to be written well and appropriate for the audience that needs it, and this is not always managed well.
- If the Agile approach is not understood well, it will do more damage than benefits. It can cause additional inefficiencies, so first study it thoroughly and after that apply it.
Making the Choice
Selecting the right approach to software development and software testing for your company and each software development project depends on project requirements. Traditional or Agile method – depends on project size, risk, complexity, customer availability, and team location. Selecting right approach consequently leads to project’s successful completion. It is easier to explain software quality assurance and decide which approach to use by summarising some differences.
While the traditional approach focuses more on careful planning from the start, the Agile method requires only the necessary requirements to begin a project. Requirements will change in the process of developing, whenever they occur, and at any stage of development. The traditional way asks for strictly defined requirements at the beginning. If any request for changing them arrives once when the stage of developing the code has begun, they need to go through a strict change control process to enable any of them. So, we can conclude that the traditional way relies on predictive methods and Agile way on adaptive methods.
To a traditional approach, QA applies after finishing the development of a project. For coding and testing, there should be an equal amount of time, but in reality, it is not like that. Coding sometimes lasts more than expected and the testing time is reduced because of that. In Agile approach, testing is possible after every iteration.
Because in Agile methodology the team works in close collaboration, and they meet on a daily basis, documentation reduction is significant. The client is deeply involved in the whole developing process, and it’s all about making him satisfied with the end product. In the traditional approach, documentation is extensive.
Agile methods are a good choice for small or medium sized projects because of constant changes. But, traditional methods are a reliable choice when it comes to big projects – developing software for large enterprises. Requirements and specifications need to be very clearly defined so that the project can even start.
Let’s summarise some main differences:
|Attribute||Traditional approach||Agile approach|
|Testing||After coding phase completed||In iterations, while coding lasts|
|Planning||Planning from the start||Only basic requirements|
|Documentation||A lot of documentation||Reduced documentation|
|Project size||Large projects||Small or medium projects|
|Costs||Reworking costs are high||Reworking costs are low|
|Testers||Included in test planning at the end||Included in iteration and release planning from the beginning|
|Customers involvement||Giving feedback at the end||Giving feedback after every iteration|
|Flexibility||There is no possibility for making changes||Changes are welcome even at the end of development|
When it comes to software development, maybe the biggest question is which of the approaches to choose, traditional or modern one? It is difficult because both of them have their pros and cons, and choosing one is maybe the most important decision in the complete software developing process. Of course, don’t just flip a coin. Consider their characteristics, and you will discover that every software development project has its perfect path. It is important to think through the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and Agile approach. Reflect on the complexity of software, the size of a team, business strategy, type of project, geographical situation, etc.
Keep in mind that the selection of this process is crucial to enable accomplishment of the primary goal – to ensure maximising the chances to deliver a flawless software product successfully.