What is Continuous Testing, and Why Do We Need It?
Today’s apps are changing faster in this continuous evolving environment and markedly becoming complex to meet business demands. The apps are expected to run on multiple platforms, support multiple protocols with minimum load time, and most importantly the overall experience that it delivers. Agile software development complicates this situation further due to the fact that apps are developed iteratively at short intervals involving globally distributed teams.
With these unavoidable shifts in the software development lifecycle to expedite the delivery process, these changes vividly increase continuous testing obligations.
Test Continuously to Deliver Continuously
We believe that today, every line of work is in the software business and experience is everything.
Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”
Great digital experience with consistency across all the touch points is the key to winning and holding/retaining customers. The objective of continuous testing is not just evaluating quality early, but also reducing the business risks associated with software failure more often.
Continuous Delivery simply means building simpler and efficient apps faster.
How do we build better apps, faster?
Customers do not like to wait! When we have nearly everything at our fingertips and we get solutions in a matter of seconds, speed and quality are both critical to outstanding experience. Continuous Testing aims to deliver frequently and get quick feedback on what users care about.
Another angle to better delivery is that continuous testing is also Adaptive Testing. In the traditional model, apps were tested only after the development cycle. In turn, testing, defects categorization, and even stalling of the release due to these defects came up. So now continuous testing overcomes these conditions by introducing appropriate tools at every stage right from requirements to release. Shift-left testing enables testing in sync with the product development by empowering the developers to gain greater visibility and defects resolution in a faster pace. Developers also can manage the test data creation based on previous statistics that enables improved bug fix turnaround time and decision making. Such a risk based intelligent adaptive testing helps to track the failure.
Enabling Continuous Testing
Here are five crucial steps to a successful Continuous Testing process:
#1 Simplify the requirements by applying a model-based approach. Visually defined requirements are clear, unambiguous, and add accurate data for engineering , test case generation, test case optimization, test design automation and in-sprint testing. Thus organizations can maintain requirement traceability through the entire development and testing life cycle.
#2 Traditional testing is linear and slow. The testing teams wait for developed apps for functional, integration, and performance testing to begin. Service virtualization emulates an unavailable system, allowing the teams to work in parallel for faster delivery with quality. Organizations can leverage service virtualization and continuously validate changes to push higher quality products to market rapidly at a lower cost.
#3 Creating test data on-demand gives away each tester their own data for comprehensive testing. This approach is critical for any organization as it reduces data volumes, test durations, and costs—enabling dev and test teams to deliver better applications. This approach also stores data centrally as reusable assets, avoids repeated effort, and maximize the value of work done.
#4 A fully integrated service virtualization with application testing approach enables QA teams to shift left by commencingAPI and backend system testing and validating the responses earlier in the test cycle. Large organizations that need to test applications while working with legacy systems would find this approach valuable to evade failures.
#5 Finally, organizations need to ensure the apps developed are scalable to meet the growing business needs. The approach of shift left performance/load testing for developers is crucial from dev through production. Developers can be empowered to execute the tests before deploying into the CI/CD pipeline gaining control over the development speeds and warranting to meet the non-functional requirements such as performance, scalability, and so on.
In this way, an enterprise can plan, orchestrate, and gain visibility into the application delivery lifecycle from requirements to production with an approach that suits their needs. These approaches would improve apps quality and accelerate time to market thereby reducing cost and risk.
The unprecedented need of continuous testing is evident as businesses no longer have the luxury of time – the need for speed. Rising customer expectations, competitive threats, and increased consumer choice have turned rapid delivery and iteration of software applications into a competitive differentiator.
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.