In the past few years, organisations have attempted many ways to keep pace with modern software delivery by introducing various continuous testing techniques/test automation tools. In my view, test automation is a building block of continuous testing. Here, I would like to discuss how continuous testing together with test automation through continuous collaboration and continuous feedback will yield continuous quality.
Defining Test Automation and Continuous Testing
What is Test Automation?
Test Automation is designed to execute certain tasks automatically, to verify if the desired results have been achieved or not. It is the process of producing a set of pass/fail data points to confirm whether the outcome met the actual requirement. Typically, organisations ask –
“Are we done with testing?”
as a hygiene task after development is complete. But it seldom provides information to help businesses control risk.
What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous Testing is a proactive approach to achieve continuous improvement at every stage of the software development lifecycle. It means simplifying the engineering process to assure quality, especially when dealing with an agile environment.
It is the process of identifying the business risk upfront, starting at the requirement phase, to provide insights on whether the app can be released. Typically, organisations who have employed continuous testing ask –
“Does this release have an acceptable level of business risk?”
Concentrating on achieving continuous quality is key in order to take actions to mitigate risk and improve quality. By incorporating continuous testing, you have to ability to improve user experience, app quality and bring new features to market earlier.
Transformation of testing through a hybrid model, that is, test automation within continuous testing, provides an opportunity to collaborate with your customers for early feedback, thereby improving apps quality. Specifically, continuous quality will improve the user experience, by reducing risk and bringing new features more quickly to market.
Why does Continuous Quality Matter?
The digital world moves at the speed of light. It has a significant impact on both our professional and personal lives, so that it is hard to imagine getting by without it.
Thanks to apps that deliver services from anywhere, , we save time on everyday mundane tasks. When was the last time you went to a bank to withdraw money? When was the last time you purchased a train ticket at the station counter? Apps have become so convenient that when a crucial one fails, it can become costly. The implications can range from sensitive data being stolen and made public, and for enterprise companies, stock prices can crash. Your company could lose trust, brand reputation, and revenue.
While we have developed ways to develop and deploy apps faster, quality has lagged behind. Software Testing is not being modernized as quickly as other areas of Software Development, and is slow in transforming the demands of the enterprise. Legacy testing tools don’t support high levels of quality in today’s rapid release cycles.
In light of this increased complexity and faster app delivery, test scripts must be ready to run almost as soon as the feature is completed. This indicates that testing is integral in the development process. Over the years, test automation has not gone far enough to ensure quality. Teams are not satisfied, due to the overhead to maintain automation scripts.
Additionally, the organisation has to identify the right tests, that is, a risk based intelligent testing, at each stage of delivery pipeline.
Lastly, testing continues to be a bottleneck at each stage of delivery pipeline. And there is always a concern about test environments being unstable, unavailable tests, and no clear risk based test execution methods, and many more.
It’s time for a change!
Continuous Testing + Test Automation = Continuous Quality
Organisations must implement a hybrid approach and focus on how to best ensure quality. First, there is a need for a collaborative culture. Second, empowering engineers, will eliminate silos for regular feedback. When we have continuous collaboration and feedback in the process, it is very easy to use any tool for better outcome.
Test Automation as an essential component of Continuous Testing is a new approach of testing at every stage of delivery pipeline. This hybrid model accelerates testing process to reduce the time and cost of testing, without compromising the high level of app quality. Such a shift will yield better outcomes without having to discover defects at the release date or redesign the project, leading to massive delays and loss of credibility.
This new generation solution will have a positive impact on our customers, sales and even employees. As far as quality is concerned, organisations can use the following questions that provides an indication of business risks early in the cycle.
- Are tests being written for new or uncovered code?
- Are we only testing what needs to be tested?
- Are we testing the right things?
- What is the user experience?
Shift left testing and Test Automation complement each other. Together they are a proactive approach to continuous quality via continuous collaboration and feedback at every stage.
This is critical to minimize the risk of faulty apps reaching end users. Organisations that are keen on continuous delivery must have the combination of automated testing and continuous testing.
Giri is a product management professional, with over a decade's worth of experience, focusing on driving product development. His current focus area is Service Virtualization.