Agile Testing vs Traditional Testing

Agile Testing vs Traditional Testing

Agile is no more a buzzword today. Agile is the way to go in the software development world – in fact, surveys show that 80% of all software organizations are already practicing agile development. Agile has become the new norm – and for the right reasons. The adoption of agile methodology allows businesses to implement product improvements and modifications in a faster way and helps them in keeping up with the market demands.

Agile also means that there are shorter sprint cycles and faster feature delivery. With these characteristics, it becomes extremely important that the testing can keep up with the speed of development to ensure that the software is released with no bugs or broken code. Test automation, therefore, plays a crucial role in agile testing. 

During our interactions with small and medium size businesses about their software development needs, we have started seeing a greater adoption of agile development methodology. At the same time, it is important to understand that agile development requires agile testing, and it is fundamentally different than the traditional testing.

In this blog, let us try to understand the difference between the two testing approaches -

Agile Testing vs Traditional Testing




Let’s start with the base of both these testing approaches.

The traditional approach of testing focuses more on “Fix Defect Then Release”. As we see in the diagram above, the traditional approach, testing is carried out after the development cycle is complete and it could require a longer duration. It follows a top-down approach. The quality of the products is determined during the testing phase and at that time, making any changes to the product can be difficult.

Agile testing, on the other hand, intends to help the team to “Move Forward (release) with working components and fix defects in future iteration”. As agile philosophy prescribes iterative approaches, various quality aspects are determined in every iteration using the agile testing techniques.

Grab your free copy of the eBook on Introduction to Agile Testing today!


With the traditional testing approach, there is a specific activity called test planning. This approach demands detailed documentation of test plans, strategy, test scenarios, and test cases. The testing is more of requirement-based and needs to be completed within a stipulated time – in case the development phase extends its time frame, the testing activity gets lesser time. Testers, here, typically test a particular module or a specific task and may not be aware of the potential dependencies of that module on the overall software. There are separate phases for integration testing and system testing.

In Agile Testing, test planning is no longer a separate phase. It is an integral part of the Iteration planning. Here, the entire team is responsible for the quality of the product and, therefore, testing efforts are not estimated by the Project Manager alone. The entire team determines the efforts required to develop and deliver a working component. Here, lighter versions of test cases are preferred instead of detailed test cases. Since Agile testing demands testing faster and testing often, automation testing plays a crucial role. Automation testing is becoming a preferred way of Continuous Testing & Continuous Regression.


The traditional testing approach relies heavily on the availability of correct and updated documentation. Functional Requirement Specifications (FRS) or System Requirement Specifications (SRS) are the key inputs to software testing life cycle. The end customers typically do the acceptance testing.

With agile adoption, there is a heavy reliance on the communication within the team. The testers are always in sync with the development team and plan the testing activity accordingly. With Agile testing, the acceptance testing can be performed by testers because the acceptance criteria are defined as a part of each user story. Agile testing puts the testing team in a lot more focus than the traditional approach and that also means that there is a greater responsibility on the testers. The traditional skill-stamps such as ‘Manual Tester’ or ‘Automation Tester’ are getting diluted. Testers are expected to have multi-dimensional skills to be successful as an agile tester.


In the case of traditional testing approach, the real indication of success or failure of the software testing life cycle is determined only in the testing phase. Naturally, the project sponsors have incurred most of the costs as testing is the second-last phase of SDLC.

Agile testing has positively impacted this aspect. The project sponsors start getting the indications very early in the project. This ensures that the team has an opportunity to do course correction as required. Due to the early feedback cycles, the cost of fixing the defects is much lesser as compared to fixing the same defects in the classical approach.

Agile testing provides ongoing feedback to the teams and to the customers. The agile testers now experience more flexibility towards adopting any changes in the scope. Dependencies are identified and resolved on-the-go. With the help of various available agile tools, agile testers are able to better collaborate with the agile development teams.

Hope this blog gives you an idea about the high-level differences between the two approaches. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, at a broad level, traditional testing practices are aimed towards optimizing the operations of large, centralized testing groups. On the other hand, for agile development environments with rapid deliveries, agile testing is the way to go.

If you would like to evaluate the suitability of agile methodology for your software development or testing projects, just fill in the details below and one of our Agile Experts will get in touch with you!


Talk To Our Experts