Software eating software is old news. Digital transformation approaches like DevOps and Continuous Delivery have changed the way we look at software, its delivery and development.
In such a landscape, winners are businesses who have identified this opportunity and use software to deliver superior customer experiences. It is their competitive advantage.
CTOs and CIOs now work on digital initiatives that make sure that you are not swept up in the disruption wave. This means faster innovation using software quality and agility. What does this mean from the software quality perspective?
It calls for a renewed focus on continuous quality and an overhaul of processes, tools and technology.
The new digital economy depends on businesses that differentiate themselves with the help of software. Quality takes centerstage as organizations realize its potential for transformation, DevOps and innovation. But here’s where organizations get stuck in implementation:
1. Legacy Test Management Approach
While many organizations have embraced DevOps and continuous deployment and delivery, the overall approach is lacking continuity. What they need is a holistic view of quality. QA shouldn’t be limited to a set of basic, functional requirements. Customers and competition both make it necessary that your product or service isn’t ‘just fine’.
The perception of high-quality omni-channel experiences has evolved. Overall user experience, quality of service, performance, availability, security and privacy – all of these are factors that contribute to the optimal experience that results in engagement and repeat customers.
One big change that has impacted the speed of development is the way testing is incorporated in the lifecycle. In the traditional methodology, testing was carried out as an end of development activity, rather than baked into the development process. This legacy approach is prone to high risk as bugs are found very late in the development stage, leading to much rework, redesign and rethinking of strategy.
If critical bugs are discovered after all development is completed, it impacts the time to market adversely. The realization that defects are easier to manage and less expensive to deal with found early, is an important one. It led to the ‘Shift Left’ approach in testing. Shift Left emphasises not only on testing early but making testing central to the development cycle.
The ideal approach then combines people, processes, tools and technology to shift your quality lifecycle to the left of the curve. Start testing as soon as you can by way of unit testing, integration testing and finding the defects early on the project timeline.
2. DevOps Maturity
The sign of a mature DevOps practice lies in the ability to delivery business value consistently with high quality. Gartner’s 2019 DevOps survey revealed that “quality of solutions is one of the three top challenges that teams face during the adoption of DevOps”.
Innovation speed and digital transformation success then, go hand-hand in with quality. Therefore, software testing approach and practice needs to evolve along with the maturing DevOps model.
The commitment towards a frequent and more reliable release pipeline is increasingly dependent on QA. Software testing and testers must be highly embedded with your dev teams to ensure high quality.
This doesn’t simply mean using the same set of tools but also higher visibility across projects and teams, and real time access to data and reports.
3. Reinventing the Testing process
Digital is now all-pervasive across business. Yet, there is too much manual efforts and processes to the detriment of speed and innovation.
Software testing still continues to be one of the most manual-driven processes. Often companies have adopted DevOps but with high dependency on manual testing where the test environment is separated from development. This proves to be expensive in more ways than one. There is poor visibility, lack of innovation, duplication of efforts and inability to scale on demand.
Modernizing testing for digital allows you to empower testers and the QA function to be equal partners that can change the pace of innovation and delivery.
Teams that don’t adopt the ‘whole team’ approach to quality are unable to move forward or improve their processes/products.
When you make the move from legacy testing approaches to contemporary ones, you can witness a dramatic acceleration of IT that allows your organization to move faster.
4.Robust CI/CD pipeline to enable high quality and speedDevOps is all about releasing as early and as often as possible. To enable this, you need to orchestrate a strong integration pipeline that tests, reviews and delivers your releases incrementally.
Do your current QA practices allow you to deploy code to production weekly or even bi-weekly? The value and benefits of automation testing are often undermined when you think of CI/CD pipeline.
Start by analyzing how testing is incorporated at every stage in your organization. Even if it is outsourced, because therein lie the gaps. Testing and continuous feedback loops underscore continuous delivery. Without the quality check, you are just deploying rapidly hoping that you will reap the benefits of DevOps and that’s just scary.
Creating a built-for-change organization is a gradual process. Digital transformation is never a quick-fix solution.
To transform your organization, you need to transform testing and test management supported by the right tools, processes and culture.
Investment in sustainable software quality, processes and tools is the beginning of wider changes that will help the overall culture, not just DevOps.