Over years, the software delivery space has evolved and has almost been revolutionized, all thanks to Agile and DevOps. With wide access to tools & technologies, the race has shifted from ‘Ship your Products Faster’ to ‘Raise the Quality Bar’ in every release. So the next big thing is Quality. This pestered quality teams to try modern ways of testing but they don’t seem enough now. Because what was ‘modern’ at one point becomes old when it cannot meet the current needs.
Quality is a differentiator, and QA teams are not able to keep up to speed with the Development teams. So how organizations can stay ahead in testing, especially when Quality is at stake? In Agile and DevOps, a holistic Quality Engineering program should replace old approaches of sparse and inconsistent Automated testing.
This gap between practicing Agile & DevOps and implementing Quality Engineering practices owns to a lack of Automation Strategy and Skills.
Organizations can tackle this gap by better preparation & dovetailing Quality Engineering with fast-paced Development Practices.
In this article, we look at tips on moving the needle from being a Quality Assurance Organization to a Quality Engineering Organization
of organizations are practicing Agile on some level.
Despite this positive trend, Agile Testing practices have seen limited growth.
of organizations have increased Automated acceptance testing, while Pair Programming, Test-Driven Development, and Behavior-Driven Development each
fell by 3%.
Source: The 14th Annual State of AgileTM Report
Define an Automation Strategy
Transitioning from scarce and inconsistent testing to wholesome QE requires a shift in strategy. As the QE trajectory is increasingly leaning towards Automation, there are a lot of moving parts for an organization to consider. The most important areas are – People, Process, and Tools.
For framing an Automation Strategy – People are the biggest area of focus as they are the adopters and torchbearers of Automation. As technology is fast becoming a commodity, People create the winning difference in QE Strategy aka X Factor. QE strategy depends on how well leaders frame, communicate and lead the strategy. It also depends on the skills of testing teams as they play a hands-on role in testing and rolling out digital products and services. This makes skills enhancement crucial for organizations prepping for the transformation.
In QE, automating processes is the answer to improving velocity and at the same time eliminate errors that occur due to manual intervention. With DevOps, organizations need to establish QE processes with Shift Left mentality, Automated Quality Assurance, Automation tools, and Continuous Integration to ensure quality from the beginning. This makes embedding QE in Agile and DevOps an urgent action item for organizations. Defining processes and adhering to them help in creating patterns across the organization to determine what is working and the impact of the QE program. Automated processes establish the same communication language across the organization making it a whole-team language and initiative.
Although People create the biggest difference, the selection of the right tool gives an extra edge against the competition. Various tools claiming to do similar things crowd the testing landscape. Mapping these tools against the Testing Quadrants (Read on to find out more about them) is a good starting point but can be overwhelming. This clouds the decision about selecting the right tools and integrating them in current tool chain. Most of the tool selection decisions get highly influenced by vendor marketing, team members’, and self-intuition. It is a good approach to clear the confusion by appointing specialized Quality Engineering consultants to lead the end-to-end QE program by using cutting-edge tools, modern engineering practices, and proprietary testing frameworks.
Get the Test Automation Basics right
As Quality battle intensifies, Software Quality Assurance and Test Automation practices will become ever-more integrated into the QE. Set up Automated QA and Test Automation by categorizing all existing tests into Testing Quadrants and execute them per Testing Pyramid. Testing Quadrants and Pyramid not only provide the right Automated QA framework but also helps in making the right testing decisions.
It is important to note that out of the four testing quadrants, only Q3 tests are manual because they are business-facing and product critique tests. These are usability and exploratory tests to understand and improve user-experience, explore potential usability issues, with the objective of providing a superior user experience. Human instincts, critical thinking, and observation are crucial in business tests putting them under the manual category. However, some processes like setting up test scenarios, generating test data, and analyzing results can be automated in Q3. By building on these two basics, organizations can start on the path of exponential QE.
Leveraging the Agile values and principles
Applying Agile values and principles to Quality Engineering practices build a firm and unshakeable foundation. Organizations should work with testing teams to help them adopt Engineering best practices comfortably. It is important to Keep Things Simple while applying Automation. For identifying simple tests or tasks, notice small and critical signals in terms of test ROI, implementation, manual intervention, and pain areas.
Another important Agile value is Adopting Shorter Iterations for testing like coding practices. It helps teams to regroup and respond faster to any condition of instability and fluctuation. Testing is crucial to bring the right product to the market with the right quality, so Take Time to select the right tools and establish the right practices. It is very important to educate testers about good test design & development methods and implement them. Many organizations skip this area and rush into Automation, ultimately failing the whole initiative.
With Automation, there is no silver bullet and hence, teams need to Learn while Doing. Automation can be exciting in the beginning, but it is a trial-and-error process. Teams should keep patience and take the lessons forward transitioning from Continuous Testing to wholesome QE. This transition is a time-taking effort and requires Whole-team Approach involving everyone right from testers to developers and Business users. In fact, the progress in Codeless Test Automation is reinventing Testing function by making business teams integral to testing function.
Right Tools add value to QE Automation
We have mentioned Tools as one of the core focus areas in Automation strategy. The Test Automation tools landscape is so vast that it is increasingly becoming a decision-roadblock. Organizations and testing teams should take one tool at a time, match their pain areas with the solutions offered, do a trial run, evaluate results, and then include it in the plan. The right tool should also fit into the team’s existing development infrastructure. While every Automation tool offers their playbooks, there is no playbook for teams, as every teams’ structure and applications are unique.
If organizations implement QE practices but do not have the metrics to prove it, it will be considered as a misspending or a failed initiative. As organizations seek to embark on QE journey by automating QA and testing practices, measuring the right metrics and how it has improved is important. Metrics can be the guideposts to get teams back on track if there are any deviations. Metrics help testing teams and businesses to track the testing cycle progress within each iteration or release. If a testing team’s objective is to increase their code coverage by 10% in every Automation cycle, it is a good way to track the progress and remove barriers, if any.
With SDLC generating tons of data at each stage, measuring and reviewing metrics concerning business goals is a tall order for any organization. The newly fashioned digital products require keeping a continuous tab on QE metrics for unparalleled customer experience. We recommend home-grown and highly customizable testing frameworks to achieve this. Qentelli’s home-grown AI infused framework, TED – The Engineering Dashboard, gives you the ability to have your entire SDLC metrics in one place for better decision making.
The winning move is Quality
If there is any time to take Quality seriously, it is today. For the software-driven industry, DevOps has created momentum to push digital products out of the door with no signs of slowing down. For an enterprise to derive the actual Agile and DevOps benefits, QE is the way forward. Organizations must redouble their efforts to prepare for the QE revolution.
Qentelli has full-spectrum QE capabilities to help you define your Testing Strategy, implement real-time testing, self-learning and self-adapting testing systems, customized Automated QA guidelines, and complete Test Automation for your applications and systems. We bring the desired value to prepare your organization and team for enabling QE in the existing and future systems.