Agile testing is a collaborative and iterative approach to software testing that involves the whole team and focuses on delivering value to the customer. Agile testing is not a separate phase or activity, but rather an integral part of the development process. Agile testing requires different types of tests for different purposes and goals, and these tests can be organized into four quadrants.

What are the Agile Testing Quadrants?

The agile testing quadrants are a visual tool that helps managers and teams plan and execute their testing strategy. The quadrants were first proposed by Brian Marick and later adapted by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory in their book Agile Testing. The quadrants represent the different purposes, audiences, techniques and tools for testing in an agile context.

The quadrants are divided into two dimensions: business-facing vs. technology-facing, and supporting the team vs. critiquing the product. The quadrants are numbered from Q1 to Q4, but this does not imply any order or priority. The quadrants are:

  • Q1: Technology-facing tests that support the team. These are tests that help the developers write quality code, such as unit tests, component tests, integration tests and API tests. These tests are usually automated and run frequently to provide fast feedback.
  • Q2: Business-facing tests that support the team. These are tests that help the team understand and deliver what the customer wants, such as acceptance tests, functional tests, story tests and prototype tests. These tests are often automated or semi-automated, and use examples and scenarios provided by the business stakeholders.
  • Q3: Business-facing tests that critique the product. These are tests that help the team discover new information and risks about the product, such as exploratory tests, usability tests, user acceptance tests and beta tests. These tests are mostly manual and require human judgment and creativity.
  • Q4: Technology-facing tests that critique the product. These are tests that help the team evaluate the non-functional aspects of the product, such as performance tests, security tests, load tests and stress tests. These tests require specialized tools and skills, and are usually performed at specific stages or intervals.

The following image illustrates the agile testing quadrants:

How to Use the Agile Testing Quadrants?

The agile testing quadrants can help managers and teams in several ways:

  • They can help plan a balanced test strategy that covers all aspects of quality and value.
  • They can help communicate the test strategy to stakeholders and align expectations.
  • They can help allocate resources and skills to different types of testing activities.
  • They can help prioritize and schedule testing tasks based on risk and value.
  • They can help monitor and improve testing practices and outcomes.

The agile testing quadrants are not prescriptive or rigid. They are meant to be flexible and adaptable to different contexts and situations. The quadrants can be customized to suit different projects, teams, products and customers. The quadrants can also evolve over time as the team learns more about the product and its users.


Agile testing quadrants are a useful tool for guiding managers and teams in their test strategy. They help identify the different types of testing needed for delivering a high-quality product that meets customer needs. They also help balance testing activities across different dimensions of quality and value. By using the agile testing quadrants, managers and teams can plan, execute, communicate, and improve their testing process in an agile way.

A Test management and automation system like Nimbal SaaS can be used to group and manage tests from different agile testing quadrants.

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