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What is Agile Testing

We have been running agile testing workshops for a few years, and given some talks at conferences. It seems there is lots of talk about agile testing going around. But what does it really mean? How do you know if your testing is agile or not?

It’s not agile testing if…

Below are some signs that your testing strategy is not all that agile.

  • Your testers don’t have much to do at the start of a sprint, but are always rushing to finish testing before the sprint end.
  • Your developers run ahead of the testers and start working on stories in future sprints while they wait for testing to catch up.
  • You have a manual regression phase before a release.
  • Developers write code before test cases are discussed.
  • Tester’s get to decide if a build should be released or not.
  • You have a separate test or QA team.
  • You have a large number of change requests because you never quite deliver what the customer needs.
  • You don’t have much or any test automation, or your test automation is all GUI based.
  • You have a large (and growing) number of bugs found by testers that never get fixed.
  • Bugs are generally not fixed in the same sprint that they are found.

So what is agile testing anyway…

Okay so maybe some of those signs are true for you. How do you change that? What is this agile testing thing you need to start doing?

Agile testing is a mindset. It’s as different from traditional testing as Scrum is from waterfall. Through running several workshops we’ve distilled the mindset down to 5 key principles.

  • Agile testing is an activity not a phase, it happens right from the start
  • Agile testing is about preventing bugs rather than finding them
  • Agile testing is a whole team responsibility, not just the responsibility of the tester
  • Agile testing is about building the best possible system for your users, not trying to break the system developers built
  • Agile testing is about critiquing the product as fit for purpose rather than checking that it matches the specification.

And is it worth it?

We all know mindsets are hard to change, and this is no different. What are the benefits of moving to a more agile testing approach?

  • You can save time and money by preventing bugs rather than only finding them at the end, by involving testers right from the start of the process.
  • You can have happier more engaged employees by getting rid of error prone and boring manual regression testing, by having your testers and developers pair to create automated regression tests.
  • You can delight customers by making sure you aren’t just building what they asked for, but also something that will add value for them.
  • You can improve your team’s velocity by removing test bottlenecks and fixing defects immediately.


This book includes a collection of workshops to help teams grasp these principles and adopt an agile testing mindset. It’s not just for testers. A key part of agile testing is that the whole team is involved, so we always run these workshops with everyone in the team.

If your team is ready for the next level we highly recommend running through the workshops in this book, it will teach them a number of simple but valuable techniques to help prevent bugs and dramatically increase the quality of your products.

You can download a free sample of the book here:

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