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Agile and Waterfall Combine in LYONSCG QA Methodology

Steve Susina • September 25, 2012

A quality customer experience is the critical criteria for eCommerce sales, and LYONSCG works to ensure development of a quality site from the initial requirements phase through launch of the new eCommerce store.


As we have worked to develop our own quality assurance (QA) methodology, we have pulled the best from the two most used methodologies: waterfall and agile. Although agile development has come to the fore in recent years, where small units of an application are developed and tested in parallel and submitted to the client, we also see great value in separating the development process into phases and testing at the end of each phase.


That has led us in recent months to incorporate the immediate feedback and cost savings we can gain through agile QA into the more structured and traditional waterfall approach.


At LYONSCG, we traditionally tested sites in big batches, after developing a major section of the website or at the end, after writing test cases for the website as a whole. This especially worked with larger projects in which we integrated the eCommerce flow with existing back-end systems.


We did not want to give up the rigor of the waterfall method. Yet we found that website functionality and client needs often changed or were mistranslated. We realized we could save time and money for everyone if we started testing requirements against the initial wireframes and again when site creative development.


So we decided to add that distinctly agile approach of testing in parallel with development to our traditional waterfall QA mix.


On the agile side, we start QA testing early in the process. After we gather the initial requirements, the Information Architecture team builds wireframes to specify how the site will work and what elements our creative team will use for each page.


We test at the wireframe stage to ensure that client requirements are properly incorporated. We provide feedback to our Information Architecture on what happens on each page from a functional site, before creative development starts. This allows lyonscg to meet and to validate requirements before the website is complete.


We continue QA throughout the project in an agile manner, in parallel with development. But we also write test cases to run at the end of each phase, and on the site as a whole before launch. This waterfall approach ensures that the big picture of site functionality does not get lost in testing and validating only the pieces during development.


Lyons Consulting Group is also working to incorporate automation testing into its QA methodology. We will cover automation testing in a future post.


You can learn more on the debate over agile and waterfall methodologies here.


Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of combining the two QA methods.


For more information regarding LYONSCG services, please visit our eCommerce services page.

Steve Susina

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Steve Susina

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