DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONOld Habits Die Hard – A Continuous Testing Case Study

Avatar Alex MartinsAugust 28, 20184 min

They say that “old habits die hard,” and recently I learned this is truly the case in Software Development as I met with a large enterprise organization in the financial services space. As I sat across the conference room from these DevOps leaders, they laid out their story of how they were trying to define the role of QA in their DevOps transformation journey within the IT organization. Continuous Testing was front and center of our conversation.

Why is that interesting? Well, because every single large enterprise trying to figure that out has a different approach. They all want to hear stories of organizations that have gone through that process and came out alive on the other side. They want to hear what kind of scars were left as they’ve embraced Continuous Testing. And obviously, lessons learned.

In this particular case, their number one priority was to keep existing systems running throughout any transformation effort. Secondly, define how QA should be setup as a practice to support the DevOps adoption. That effectively meant the team wanted to (1) fully automate their regression testing suite for all systems they supported, (2) redesign the QA organization structure to support DevOps and (3) ensure Continuous Testing was adopted consistently across the enterprise.

If you’re thinking this is a conservative company, you would be correct. However, they have their reasons for setting that order of priorities. Given their current maturity, organizational structure, willingness to change, culture, budget constraints and other factors, that is what makes more sense to them. To another company, it most likely would make more sense to prioritize their objectives differently. Maybe Continuous Testing would be the first on their list.

Continuous Testing Is More Than Just Doing Test Automation

The point here is, this organization was fully aware of their constraints and what they had available to work with towards the master goals of the DevOps transformation initiative. And that awareness is not something that most organizations have. Many hear about Continuous Testing and they dive right into it trying to implement it without really understand what it takes and what the end goal should be. Hint: it’s not just doing test automation.

Although counterintuitive, one thing I always tell the organizations I meet is there is no right or wrong way of going about a DevOps transformation. Each company is unique and has its own challenges. A DevOps coach will never bring a list of “to-dos” and say once the items on that list are fully implemented, you’ve successfully adopted DevOps. The key is to map out your own environment, organization, constraints, champions, leadership positioning, etc.

A quick example. You are seeing business analysis, development and operations get budget for new tools, training and education. You don’t see a whole lot happening around QA. Or maybe you see QA being involved too, but you don’t feel there’s anything changing within QA. It’s mostly an “FYI” involvement as opposed to teams expecting QA to contribute with inputs and perspectives. This could be a sign the culture in the organization needs to be analyzed. Trying to adopt Continuous Testing with that frame of mind, based on my experience, will most likely not bring you the outcomes you expect.

The Best Way To Learn About Continuous Testing Is By Example

Continuous Testing Novel - The Kitty Hawk Venture

Continuous Testing Novel – The Kitty Hawk Venture

Because of stories like what I shared above, I have written the novel “The Kitty Hawk Venture” – A novel about Continuous Testing in DevOps.  Throughout the book, you will find a cast of characters who are trying to figure out how to best navigate through a required transformation in the way they develop, test and release software. I’m sure you will see yourself in one of the character’s shoes as they deal with organizational and political situations, technical skills gaps, market pressures, unwillingness to change old habits and try new ways to solve old problems and so on. As you come to the climax, you’ll truly understand with the characters why Continuous Testing is so imperative right now, in the DevOps age. You’ll also know why Continuous Testing is at the core of all DevOps transformations.

Download “The Definitive Guide To Continuous Testing”

As a companion piece to “The Kitty Hawk Venture,” we’ve provided you with a “Definitive Guide to Continuous Testing” so you can learn the strategies, technologies and techniques that go into a successful Continuous Testing program.  You can download the Definitive Guide here to help you take flight in your Continuous Testing journey.


Alex Martins

Alex is a technology industry veteran with experience in Agile Software Engineering, Continuous Testing and DevOps. Alex has worked both sides of the wall, starting out as a developer and then moving into Software Testing. He has lead Quality Engineering practices across multiple companies and industries.