DevOps = speed + quality

Success appears at the intersection of swift time-to-market and quality product development. Your first-mover advantage suffers if you are first to market with mediocre software.

With the advent of DevOps, the innovations that you can deliver with quality at velocity have moved from the realm of miracles to realistic customer expectations. If you accelerate development without merit, your brand suffers.

Consider these areas for improvement in software testing to propel top-grade applications into deployment at the speed of DevOps.

How to improve DevOps testing in the planning stage

The business needs visibility into development to ensure that customers will appreciate the look and feel of your applications. The earlier you get that visibility, the sooner you can fix the flaws that matter most to your market, and the faster you can deploy competitive software. The right approach to testing and development can provide that transparency.

Test Driven Development (TDD) is a standard development methodology that uses unit tests to find software bugs after every change developers make, so they can quickly fix errors. TDD dials in on failures at the application coding level. The business needs a method that offers transparency into the software’s behavior and vastly improves software quality where it counts to users.

Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is an area of TDD that uses natural language to ensure that the behaviors the business requires are evolving inside the software. BDD establishes a shared vocabulary between business stakeholders and developers so they can communicate about the appropriateness of software changes. Using BDD, the DevOps shop can demonstrate that they are instilling the capabilities and user experience that the company and its customers demand.

BDD supports the business in gauging the health of the application as it progresses. BDD provides business-level value, confirming that development is on track.

How to improve DevOps testing in the coding stage

The business needs to shrink time to deployment while maintaining software quality. Any lag in the feedback loop between developers and testers adds time to development and sets quality adrift. Bringing testers and developers together can tighten that loop.

In the coding stage, DevOps organizations can advance quality and development by pairing testers with programmers. Pairing ensures that testers write tests that reflect the features developers are creating at that moment. Pairing informs testers when software is ready, so they know when to run their tests.

By synchronizing testing and development, you can quickly alert programmers so they can fix their code before they bury it under more work. The resulting feedback loop builds momentum so the business can launch applications swiftly. Both programmers and testers learn a lot about each other’s work and improve on their own as they work together. This knowledge enables them to better leverage tests and test results and expedite the feedback loop.

How to improve DevOps testing in the build stage

Another opportunity to reduce delays and ramp up software development appears in the build stage. Testing transparency is critical to fixing software fast at this stage.

Everyone who can benefit from visibility into test results should have it, including anyone responsible for creating, testing or fixing the software. To ensure this transparency, tie tests into the continuous integration (CI) build process, which builds the updated software and allows you to run it to check for imperfections.

Connecting testing to the CI build process has many benefits. When the build tests fail, the system can notify the team so they can respond quickly. Broad communication at each build test failure is vital to stop the release from moving forward until you fix flawed features and the build passes.

A crucial part of repairing these flaws is to adjust the tests to suit the next build so that it tests for remaining defects. Alerts from the system ensure testers write new tests promptly. System notifications to developers and testers quicken passing marks for software builds, setting the business on a fast track to distribution.

An umbrella of DevOps tests

After all that you have done to increase quality up to this point, don’t short the business by rushing through this stage with a limited approach to testing. It’s better to blend an array of tests and categories and deploy with confidence than to get nowhere fast.

During the testing stage, some DevOps organizations try to push releases out to production faster by removing testers from the process and using unit tests. This approach limits the number and quality of tests you can do. You may get the software to production sooner, but it will likely have more bugs.

If you have testers define specific tests for good coverage, you can still get software out to production relatively quickly. Testers should write and run entirely automated smoke, functional and regression tests on your application to ensure customer satisfaction.

You need smoke tests to ensure the application starts appropriately and accesses its subsystems. You need functional checks to make sure the application reacts as it should in a variety of use cases. And you need regression tests to ensure that capabilities that worked before still perform as they should.

This approach goes a lot further than unit tests, establishing your application’s fitness and ensuring your customer’s delight with your product.

Fulfilling expectations

Quality and development define each other. There is no development without reaching maturity, and there is no maturity without quality. There is no improvement in quality without growth and change, which come with proper development.

Since quality and development are inseparable in this way, the best approach to beat the competition to market is to innovate quality throughout the development lifecycle at the pace of DevOps. Quality can move faster; development can reach higher. You need to do both to meet or exceed customer expectations.

A QA platform designed to help shift testing left in the development lifecycle can help you achieve these goals. Tricentis qTest integrates testing into agile and continuous delivery workflows, ensuring QA processes evolve to accommodate new development initiatives. By integrating testing into the development lifecycle, Tricentis qTest helps organizations release high-quality software with reduced cycle times.

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