Modern businesses don’t want—or need—perfect software. They want to deliver new, business-differentiating software as soon as possible. To enable this, we need fast feedback on whether the latest innovations will work as expected or crash and burn in production. We also need to know if these changes somehow broke the core functionality that the customer base—and thus the business—depends upon.
This is where Continuous Testing comes in.
Continuous Testing is the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline in order to obtain feedback on the business risks associated with a software release as rapidly as possible. Continuous Testing does not require any specific type of testing approach (shift left, shift right…) or testing tools. However, it does require that:
- Actionable feedback is delivered to the right stakeholder at the right time
- Testing occurs across all phases of the software delivery pipeline
Test automation is essential for Continuous Testing, but it’s not sufficient. Test automation is designed to produce a set of pass/fail data points correlated to user stories or application requirements. Continuous Testing, on the other hand, focuses on business risk and providing insight on whether the software can be released. Beyond test automation, Continuous Testing also involves practices such as aligning testing with your business risk, applying service virtualization and stateful test data management to stabilize testing for Continuous Integration, and performing exploratory testing to expose “big block” issues early in each iteration. It’s not simply a matter of more tools, or different tools. It requires a deeper transformation across people and processes as well as technologies.
The new Dzone Continuous Testing Reference Guide explores what Continuous Testing really involves, presents new research on why it’s so critical for Agile + DevOps, and offers tips to help you make it a reality in your own team and organization. There are four main sections:
- Continuous Testing vs Test Automation
- The Top Roadblocks to Continuous Testing
- Continuous Testing and Agile + DevOps Success
- The Path to Continuous Testing
Executed correctly, Continuous Testing serves as the centerpiece of the Agile downstream process — executing automated tests
as part of the software delivery pipeline in order to provide risk-based feedback as rapidly as possible. Mastering Continuous Testing is essential for controlling business risk given the increased complexity and pace of modern application delivery.