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Agile testing

The Continuous Testing Challenge: Solving Agile Testing for Systems of Record

In the Forrester keynote on Continuous Delivery currently making rounds on the Internet, Diego Lo Guidice makes a case for the necessity of continuous testing. Testing in an agile and DevOps world, he says, is no longer just about speed, it is about speed with quality – something that can only be achieved through continuous testing.

At Tricentis we agree with this statement enough to have branded ourselves as “The Continuous Testing Company”. Continuous testing is absolutely vital to achieving speed with quality. At the same time however, we recognize that there is a challenge.

Many enterprises struggle to adopt continuous testing because they cannot reconcile agile methodology will all of their applications. Their lofty goals of mainstreaming agile methodology in their company break down all too quickly upon impact with reality. Why is this?

Most enterprises are made up of two major types of systems: Systems of Record and System of Engagement. Systems of Engagement are the “cool kids” of enterprise applications. They are the applications that allow for customer interfacing (mobile apps, webpages, etc.), and publically represent the brand.

By contrast, Systems of Record tend to look frumpy and uninspiring. They, however, make up the vast majority of an enterprise’s system landscapes, and their functionality is crucial to daily business. If a System of Engagement crashes for a day customers will complain, but if a System of Record goes down, the enterprise will grind to a painful halt.

Agile development is relatively easy to adopt for Systems of Engagement. After all, Systems of Engagement are innovative by nature, which requires speed – a tenant of the agile movement.

Adopting the same methods for Systems of Record has proved another beast all together. Systems of Record don’t require continuous or even frequent updates – often a cycle of weeks or months is good enough. It is at this point that an enterprise’s adoption of agile methods break down. How do you reconcile agile development with a system that would not benefit from continuous delivery?

Could the answer be found in achieving agility at different speeds?

Yes. In Wolfgang Platz’s whitepaper, “Creating Agility at Different Speeds” published in late 2015, he states that the key to solving this challenge lies in making a small adjustment to the DevOps cycle.

The infinite figure-eight of the DevOps cycle includes a deployment stage. It is in this way that Systems of Engagement can receive near constant updates and patches. The same cycle can also serve Systems of Record with a slight modification: inserting a break between release and deployment. This opens up one side of the figure-eight and allows updates for Systems of Record to wait in a staging area until needed.

Creating agility at different speeds, like speed with quality, is only achievable through continuous testing. Just as Diego Lo Guidice stated in hiskeynote, continuous testing is absolutely vital to achieving speed with quality – just don’t forget the strategy for adjusting your speed.


What is Agile Methodology?

Learn more about Creating Agility at Different Speeds by reading the full white paper here.