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Test Pyramids and Testing Quadrants in an Agile Testing Process

Keeping pace with the current trend, many companies are now shifting their vision to an agile development technique in software testing. The agile methodologies adopt test automation which minimizes few drawbacks of manual testing and offers quick and faster results.

Though agile testing technique is gaining popularity in delivering high quality products, it is essential to understand the importance of test pyramids and testing quadrants and how it helps in achieving agile testing a way better. The testing quadrants helps an easy communication by explaining the whole testing in a common language which is understood by all in the team.

Let us explain each of the concept separately;

Test Pyramid

Test pyramid inculcates a process, similar to a pyramid, deciding about various levels of automated tests that should be carried out to create a balances testing process. To make you understand simpler, the test pyramid is a hierarchy wherein the lower most part of the pyramid include low-level unit tests and as you progress, you add on to a higher level end-to-end testing.

The pyramid can be categorized into three phases:

1. The browser layer

The bottom or base layer, includes browsers like chrome, Firefox, Opera etc. and that’s why is termed as the bottom browser layer. This approach proves a great help for responsiveness of your design especially for mobile devices. It also allows you to use a user string wherein you can pretend as if you are a mobile device.

Since it plays its role as the bottom layer, it is the simplest and fastest way to offer a feedback on the product.

2. Simulators

Also referred as the emulators, this approach is the middle layer of the pyramid. By many industry experts, this layer is often ignored. When this approach was introduced, it was considered as one of the most unstable approach. However with the constantly evolving technology, this simulators/emulators are now quite fully fledged and stable.

This approach is helpful when you test for some touch interactions on your mobile, also known as visual validation testing.

3. Actual Devices

The top most layer of actual devices comprises of a smallest portion of your overall testing. This is something that relates to the real-world use of your applications and its behaviour.

This can be the lowest form of testing which expects giving the developers a quick response for any bugs.

 Advantages of Test Pyramid:

  • Increased capacity

When you consider an approach keeping in mind the whole testing team, you have an automation process followed by every team member which indirectly increases the capacity of your developers. You also have an improved and efficient automation design which improves testability.

  • Improved maintenance

Many at times it becomes the whole team’s responsibility to keep up with testing maintenance, both the groundwork and the tests, as the team is functionally developing.

Testing Quadrants

The testing quadrants in agile testing methodology focuses on the internal code quality of the application. The method of testing quadrants offers an understanding of the relationship among the various tests performed which is divided into 4 quadrants. The quadrants do not imply any particular order. It depends on the requirements of each business.

Let us define the four quadrants:

Quadrant 1: Technology oriented, unit level testing that supports the developers and uses automated tests

The first quadrant basically deals with unit testing, component tests, API testing and web services testing. The advantage it offers is that it allows the team members to design and enhance the functionality of the system without affecting other modules.

Quadrant 2:  Business oriented, system level tests that obeys the systems behaviour. This tests can either be manual or automated

Functional Testing, Prototypes, emulators and Story Tests belong to the second quadrant. The advantage of second quadrant is it helps in driving tests related to the business required for delivering a quality product

Quadrant 3: User acceptance test that confronts the system on real time scenarios. These are manual tests

The 3rd quadrant involves more of instinct judgement and thinking, which may sometimes involve the customer. Processes like scenario testing, usability testing, alpha / beta testing etc. come under this category

Quadrant 4: Focuses on performance and scalability at operational level. Specialised tools are used for running these tests.

The final quadrant will obviously deal with the load and performance tests. Once the product has been tested for all the above quadrants, it must be tested for the final release in the areas of scalability, reliability, security, maintenance etc. These tests are performed based on priorities and may require customer engagement. Specialised tools are used for better results.


After reading the entire blog, we are sure you must have realised that whatever the test pyramids and test quadrant depict, it is the entire team working together to achieve a goal for quality product and customer satisfaction. The quadrants are just a medium to make sure all the resources are handled and allocated efficiently. There is no hard and fast tool whatsoever about what your each quadrant must possess.