Testing Trends in 2016: Fully Agile or Just Fast Waterfall?
February 08, 2016

Charles Ramsey
Sauce Labs

While 88 percent of organizations say they have adopted agile development, only one in five have fully implemented the five best software testing practices typically associated with a mature agile development process, according to Testing Trends in 2016: A Survey of Software Professionals, commissioned by Sauce Labs and conducted by Dimensional Research.

Development teams continue to adopt agile methodologies like continuous integration (CI) to build better software faster. What is surprising from this report is the revelation that many teams who believe they are practicing an agile testing process are really performing "fast waterfall" instead. This presents a huge opportunity for these teams to continue to improve their processes, increase their use of automation and accelerate development even further.

In addition to revealing the prevalence of fast waterfall development, the findings also reveal that the market continues its adoption of CI, with 77 percent of respondents citing use of the modern development technique within their teams, up from 70 percent from last year.

Importantly, the research also reveals that these teams are beginning to reap the benefits of Continuous Integration, with respondents reporting that implementing CI has resulted in more systematic and rigorous testing, the introduction of more new features for rapid customer feedback and writing code with fewer errors.

Cross-browser testing also remains important with 95 percent of large companies performing some type of cross-browser testing. In addition, Microsoft’s new browser released in August 2015 is already grabbing the attention of developers with almost one-third of respondents saying they test their applications on Microsoft Edge.

Additional key findings from the report include:

Agile is ubiquitous but few have fully embraced testing best practices

■ 67 percent of respondents say their teams deploy new builds at least weekly

■ 46 percent say they want a faster deployment time than they currently have

■ Only one in five say (21 percent) their teams have achieved all five key areas of agile testing maturity, including:
- 23 percent of teams fix bugs right away
- 24 percent iterate small testable requirements rather than waiting for features to be complete ○ 26 percent of teams have more automated testing than manual
- 77 percent of development and QA teams communicate in real-time
- 86 percent of development and QA teams think of themselves as partners

Continuous Integration (CI) changes testing

■ More respondents acknowledged the benefits of CI compared to 2015, which include: more rigorous testing (33 percent), trying more features for customer feedback (32 percent) and writing code with fewer errors (21 percent) in the current report

Cross-Browser Testing remains important, especially for large organizations

■ 95 percent of large companies perform cross browser testing compared to 86 percent of small companies

■ 68 percent of large companies test on older browser versions versus only 60 percent of small companies

■ 32 percent of respondents say they test applications on Microsoft Edge

■ The need for Internet Explorer testing has not decreased in past year

“Development teams are beginning to see real benefits of implementing Continuous Integration (CI),” said Diane Hagglund, Principal Researcher of Dimensional Research. “The report reveals that while certain benefits may not be seen immediately, there are considerable long-term advantages to CI that make its adoption worthwhile.”


Survey Methodology: A global database of software professionals responsible for the quality of web applications was emailed an invitation to participate in a Web survey on the topic of testing trends. A total of 520 individuals completed the survey. Participants included a variety of roles, company sizes, industries and regions. Certain questions were repeated from a similar survey conducted with the same audience one year ago to capture changes.

Charles Ramsey is CEO of Sauce Labs
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