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Software Testing in Agile Development: Technological and Organisational Challenges
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering. (Software Engineering Division)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8009-9052
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2011.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 136
Keyword [en]
software testing, agile development, test-driven development, role of testers, empirical study, controlled experiment
National Category
Software Engineering
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-12174ISBN: 978-91-7485-015-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-12174DiVA: diva2:415961
Presentation
2011-06-21, Gamma, Högskoleplan 1, Västerås, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-04-29 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. An Industrial Survey on Contemporary Aspects of Software Testing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Industrial Survey on Contemporary Aspects of Software Testing
2010 (English)In: ICST 2010 - 3rd International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, Paris, France, 2010, 393-401 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Software testing is a major source of expense in software projects and a proper testing process is a critical ingredient in the cost-efficient development of high-quality software. Contemporary aspects, such as the introduction of a more lightweight process, trends towards distributed development, and the rapid increase of software in embedded and safety-critical systems, challenge the testing process in unexpected manners. To our knowledge, there are very few studies focusing on these aspects in relation to testing as perceived by different contributors in the software development process. This paper qualitatively and quantitatively analyses data from an industrial questionnaire survey, with a focus on current practices and preferences on contemporary aspects of software testing. Specifically, the analysis focuses on perceptions of the software testing process in different categories of respondents. Categorization of respondents is based on safety-criticality, agility, distribution of development, and application domain. While confirming some of the commonly acknowledged facts, our findings also reveal notable discrepancies between preferred and actual testing practices. We believe continued research efforts are essential to provide guidelines in the adaptation of the testing process to take care of these discrepancies, thus improving the quality and efficiency of the software development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Paris, France: , 2010
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9339 (URN)10.1109/ICST.2010.52 (DOI)2-s2.0-77954480832 (ScopusID)978-076953990-4 (ISBN)
Conference
3rd International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation, ICST 2010; Paris; 7 April 2010 through 9 April 2010
Available from: 2010-03-03 Created: 2010-03-03 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved
2. Factors Limiting Industrial Adoption of Test Driven Development: A Systematic Review
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Factors Limiting Industrial Adoption of Test Driven Development: A Systematic Review
2011 (English)In: 4th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification, and Validation, ICST 2011; Berlin; 21 March 2011 through 25 March 2011, 2011, 337-346 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Test driven development (TDD) is one of the basic practices of agile software development and both academia and practitioners claim that TDD, to a certain extent, improves the quality of the code produced by developers. However, recent results suggest that this practice is not followed to the extent preferred by industry. In order to pinpoint specific obstacles limiting its industrial adoption we have conducted a systematic literature review on empirical studies explicitly focusing on TDD as well as indirectly addressing TDD. Our review has identified seven limiting factors viz., increased development time, insufficient TDD experience/knowledge, lack of upfront design, domain and tool specific issues, lack of developer skill in writing test cases, insufficient adherence to TDD protocol, and legacy code. The results of this study is of special importance to the testing community, since it outlines the direction for further detailed scientific investigations as well as highlights the requirement of guidelines to overcome these limiting factors for successful industrial adoption of TDD.

National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-12206 (URN)10.1109/ICST.2011.19 (DOI)2-s2.0-79958704204 (ScopusID)978-076954342-0 (ISBN)
Conference
Fourth International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation
Available from: 2011-05-10 Created: 2011-05-06 Last updated: 2013-12-03Bibliographically approved
3. Redefining the role of testers in organisational transition to agile methodologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Redefining the role of testers in organisational transition to agile methodologies
2009 (English)In: International Conference on Software, Services & Semantic Technologies (S3T), Sofia, Bulgaria, 2009Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many challenges confront companies when they change their current software development process to an agile development methodology. Those challenges could be rather difficult but one that requires considerable attention is the integration of testing with development. This is because in heavyweight processes, as in the traditional waterfall approach, testing is a phase often conducted by testers as part of a quality assurance team towards the end of the development cycle whereas in the agile methodology testing is part of a continuous development activity with no specific “tester” role defined. In this paper we consider several options for testers when an organisation transit to agile methodology, and propose a new project mentor role for them. This role aims to utilize the knowledge that testers already have in both the business domain and the development technology together with their expertise in quality practices. This role will enhance the stature of testers as well as enable the company to effectively deploy the testers in the new environment. Motivations and benefits for this role are presented in this paper together with our plan for evaluation of this proposal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sofia, Bulgaria: , 2009
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-9089 (URN)
Available from: 2010-03-03 Created: 2010-03-03 Last updated: 2016-02-11Bibliographically approved

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