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INSIGHTS / Articles

ISTQB Agile: What it is and Why it was Created?

 16 Oct 2014 
INSIGHTS / Articles

ISTQB Agile: What it is and Why it was Created?

 16 Oct 2014 

There is no denying the swing towards Agile software development. For the past 8 years, the Planit Testing Index has documented the increasing momentum of Agile projects. In fact, over 80 percent of organisations are now utilising Agile methods in some portion of their software development projects.

As Agile adoption increases, so too has the interest in Agile training. Particularly, there is an immense desire to understand how testing and testers fit into an Agile project. In fact, Planit are now running weekly Agile courses across Australia and New Zealand, with a particular spike of interest lately in New Zealand.    

We weren’t the only ones to notice the spike in demand for Agile training. In the official ISTQB Effectiveness Survey 2013-14, which surveyed in excess of 3,600 testing professionals, 85% of those respondents were interested or somewhat interested in an Agile testing certification.  

In response to industry demand, the ISTQB has expanded their portfolio to offer an extension course to their ISTQB Foundation Certification that specifically addresses Agile Testing – the ISTQB Foundation Agile Tester Extension. Planit was the first to offer this new certification across Australia and New Zealand, being accredited on 11 August 2014.

The ISTQB Agile course is designed for a range of participants, including those new to Agile, those transitioning their projects to Agile and those with Agile experience who are looking to formalise their skills and gain international accreditation.

The course discusses the role of an Agile tester, including:
  • Collaborating in an Agile team
  • Adapting existing testing experience, knowledge and best practices to Agile project work
  • Supporting the Agile team in planning test related activities
  • Applying relevant testing methods and techniques
  • Assisting in test automation
  • Helping business stakeholders define understandable and testable user stories and acceptance criteria
  • Working and sharing information with other team members

As it builds upon the ISTQB Foundation syllabus, it should come as no surprise that the Foundation Certification is a prerequisite for anyone wishing to complete the Agile Tester Extension. This course puts these skills in context of an Agile project and builds upon them for application in an Agile environment.

More than just framing your existing knowledge for an Agile environment, the ISTQB Agile syllabus also covers a number of topics that distinguish it from the Foundation syllabus. A few such topics are :


    Agile Manifesto

    To understand Agile, there is no better place to start than to discuss the Agile Manifesto and the 12 principles of Agile. They provide a clear sense of the nature of Agile and its various practices.


    Development Techniques

    With many Agile projects following various development techniques, this course discusses the difference between these techniques, including Test Driven Development (TDD), Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD).


    Test Pyramid + Test Quadrants

    This course provides a detailed explanation of test quadrants and the test pyramid, which are great tools for helping testers model what should and shouldn’t be automated and which levels of testing should take place.



    Participants also gain an understanding of the different tool types that can be useful in Agile. This includes highlighting the importance of non-traditional tools, such communication tools, in an Agile projects.

The Planit course ties together all the theory learnt during the course through an online activity designed to put your learnings into practice. By allowing participants to test their newly acquired Agile knowledge in a safe environment, they can build their skills and confidence before implementation in the workplace.


The Agile Tester Extension course is an important addition to the ISTQB certification scheme that provides testers with a highly recognised channel for building and certifying their Agile skills. With courses scheduled across the region and exams available via the ANZTB and Pearson VUE, now is a great time to add ISTQB Agile skills to your portfolio.

For more information about the ISTQB Foundation Agile Tester Extension visit the course page or read the FAQ.

James Pennefather

Director of Training

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