Planning and Execution of Test Cases During Agile Development Iterations

During the software development process it is vital to establish a robust process of software quality assurance, even if you are developing using an Agile development methodology.

It is important to mention that Agile development should not be confused with development without a defined quality management software. It is strongly recommended that the tasks of creating test cases and performing automated tests be planned for each development iteration.

In addition, having a test-focused person is a key to the quality of software development during the Agile iterations.

Agile Planning and Quality Assurance Tasks

The Agile iteration planning process allocates at least one resource for testing activities, and does not involve this resource in development activities within the iteration. This process is important to avoid poor quality testing.

Within a development team of five people, having at least one person focused on these tests tasks will greatly help to ensure the quality of the software. In this case we are talking about functional tests (black-box testing) planned and written through test cases. However, we must not forget that the unit tests (white-box testing) are the responsibility of the development team, and the tasks of developing these unit tests must be estimated together with the backlog items.

The advantage of include planning and execution quality assurance tasks even in an Agile software development cycle is the concern of the development team in delivering quality software to those responsible for running the tests. It is amazing how the simple fact there is a person planning and thinking about software testing already increases the quality of the software.

Here are some tests tasks that can be executed during a development iteration:

  • Creating a test-planning;
  • Creating the detailed test cases for each user story or backlog item;
  • Preparing test environments required for system tests;
  • Preparing test data: getting real data from production or simulation.

In addition the tests can be automated, so the tasks below can be included:

  • Automating unit tests;
  • Automating functional tests;
  • Writing mocks, test drivers, data simulators, test frameworks.

Tools for planning and running tests

It is not the purpose of this article to present test tools. However, it is important for the agility of the software development process to look for tools to automate the execution of the tests as well as documenting the test plans and the test cases.

Remember that tests can be re-used in future development iterations, so it is very important to define a centralised method and tool to manage the test plans and test cases. An efficient test management tool will help you with the agility and quality of your software.

The following are some suggestions for test tools:

  • qTest
  • PractiTest
  • Test Collab
  • TestFLO for Jira
  • XQual
  • TestCaseLab
  • Microsoft Test Manager (Test planning and automation)
  • Microsoft Team Services (Test cases)
  • Selenium (Automation of functional tests for Web applications)
  • TestRail
prometric test centre

Preparing for and Passing the PMP Exam

Having got the approval email from the PMI and before you schedule the exam, let us just revisit the exam content outline:

  • The PMP exam consists of 200 objective-type questions with 4 answer options.
  • The five domains consist of questions in the following ratio:
Initiation13%
Planning24%
Executing31%
Monitoring & Controlling25%
Closing7%

 

  • 25 out of 200 questions are not counted towards the score, as they may be for pre-release testing. As such you don’t know which 25 questions are not graded, and so you should just treat it as 200-question exam.
  • The maximum time to answer all questions is 4 hours.
  • The PMI does not disclose your pass score; in most cases the pass score is thought to be around 61%

So you have built up your confidence over time; have already taken the 35-hour course; have gone through the PMBOK Guide; and have a fair knowledge of project management practice. Now you need to test that confidence by answering questions and checking the answers. Once chapter-level answering is finished, you need to go for a mock test of 200 questions; a minimum of two full 200-question mock-up exams passed at above 80% is suggested. This is an indication that you are adequately prepared to venture into the actual exam.

How to Handle Each Question

One of the advantages we have in answering objective-type questions is that the right answer is in front of us – we just need to select it. Carefully read the question-and-answer choices. Attach importance to words such as always or never, except for, or have to, best, worst, most, least, first, last, etc.,  and then determine which answer the question is looking for. Look at the following example question.

Conditions that are not under the control of the project team that influence, direct, or constrain a project are called:

  1. Enterprise environmental factors
  2. Work performance reports
  3. Organisational process assets
  4. Context diagrams

The term conditions NOT under the control needs to be carefully read. Answer A is correct. (Note that the question calls for a plural answer, and all answers are plural.)

Here is another example where we need to read carefully:

A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot start until a predecessor activity has finished is known as:

  1. Start-to-start (SS)
  2. Start-to-finish (SF)
  3. Finish-to-start (FS)
  4. Finish-to-finish (FF)

Answer C is correct. A clear scrutiny of the question and the answer choices is required. You need to eliminate the answers that do not fit with the question.

Another example:

External organisations that have a special relationship with the enterprise and provide specialised expertise are called:

  1. Customers
  2. Business partners
  3. Sellers
  4. Functional managers

Based on experience, we can quickly eliminate A, C and then D, to correctly answer B.

A practical tip is to not spend more than a minute with a single question. You can come back to the question later. Sometimes, the other questions may throw some light on this question for you. Try to recollect the study that you did within that knowledge area and process group, and work out where the question belongs. For some questions you may have to recollect your project management experience. Here is a question where we need to recollect process ITTO – Input, Tools and Techniques, and Output:

An output of the Direct and Manage Project Work process is:

  1. Deliverables
  2. Activity list
  3. A work breakdown structure
  4. A scope statement

The answer is A

It is recommended that you try to remember ITTO to select the answer to these types of questions. I suggest that you get familiar with these by reviewing them regularly so you as much get a ‘feel’ more than just learning them off by heart.

After you enter the testing centre for the exam, you will be given a pencil and paper and 15 minutes’ preparation time. This can be used to prepare a chart of process groups, knowledge areas and certain tables or formulas you can recollect. This may be handy for answering the exam questions. Try to utilise all of the 4 hours’ exam time to check your answers before you submit. Best of Luck!

/Althris