The Agile methodology and DevOps are perfect for a quick reaction to customer needs, priority changes and bugs. So, naturally, continuous testing is now necessary to accelerating the delivery pipeline. But, unfortunately, many companies miss out on its benefits by believing in continuous testing myths and misconceptions. This can lead to improper team cooperation, inefficient use of tools or inability to cover accelerated code creation.
Continuous testing misconceptions might be the hurdle on the way to better productivity for businesses big and small. That is why we’re here to bust some myths about continuous testing and help you optimize your SDLC.
Myth #1. Continuous Testing Is Test Automation
In modern software development, both automated testing and continuous testing have a great impact on achieving DevOps and Continuous Delivery. That’s why you have heard this myth most often – implementing test automation means leveraging continuous testing.
Undoubtedly the two buzzwords do share some common traits: ensuring code quality faster, executing tests more frequently, increasing test coverage, faster feedback to the development team, using proper mobile app testing tools, to name a few, but they are fundamentally different.
Let’s first see how Wikipedia defines the terms:
Continuous testing is the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to obtain immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate.
Test automation is the use of special software to control the execution of tests and produce a pass/fail data on certain user stories, steps or requirements.
So a more precise statement would be continuous testing starts with test automation. To make continuous testing a reality, you must have a set of robust, working automated test scripts that can be integrable into your CI/CD process and help to automate monotonous and routine tasks and avoid human errors and slowness. At this point, having test automation in place starts getting you to continuous testing, but that won’t cut it. On top of that, you’ll need to have proper tools for accelerating collaboration and gaining adequate insight into the level of risk at any given point.
As you can see, continuous testing goes beyond test automation and is aimed at ensuring continuous quality and its improvement throughout the software delivery lifecycle.
Myth #2. Large Organizations Cannot Benefit from Continuous Testing
Continuous testing requires close collaboration between developers, testers and product owners. But big companies have large teams, which makes ensuring a high level of coordination between everyone almost impossible. Luckily, the evolution of developer and tester roles allows companies to build smaller, well-knit teams instead of trying to support collaboration between giant independent ones.
A recent report on continuous testing from Capgemini reveals that the last three to five years have been revolutionary for both developers and testers. Developers are moving closer to customers to shape the user experience according to their changing needs, whereas testers are now closer to the developers and business analysts, taking part in the SDLC from the early stages. Agile teams blur the responsibilities of developers and testers, making it easier to build a reliable team to cover continuous integration and delivery without sacrificing quality.
For companies, it means that they should be looking for professionals who have a holistic understanding of processes: testers with solid technical skills and developers with a good knowledge of business analysis and UX methods. If you are wondering whether continuous testing is worth looking for such professionals, the answer is yes: the continuous testing market size will expand from $1.01 Billion in 2017 to $2.41 Billion by 2023 globally.
Myth #3. Only the QA Team Does Continuous Testing
This misconception is actually another angle of the previous myth surrounding continuous testing in big companies. Some companies involve developers to write unit tests at least; others have separate, fully equipped QA teams. But what’s the best way to ensure continuous testing?
The thing is, DevOps makes both developers and QA professionals broaden the scope of their responsibilities. Continuous testing means that developers are writing tests, and QA specialists serve as consultants and strategists to help them out. Alternatively, QA engineers may have the programming skills to create tests themselves and use both automated and manual testing to ensure continuous delivery. Either way, developers and testers are not two separate teams anymore.
The collaboration includes the following steps:
- A developer implements a feature according to a specification and runs unit and integration tests to prevent very simple bugs and typos in the code.
- A QA engineer creates test cases for that feature according to the specification.
- Once the feature is ready for testing, the QA runs automated tests as well as manual tests to cover all test cases.
- The developer fixes the bugs logged by the QA engineer, while the QA engineer repeats the process of testing to ensure that the fixes are valid.
- The QA engineer approves the implemented feature as the one ready for production.
You see, close cooperation between developers and QAs is necessary to ensure CI/CD.
Myth #4. It is Expensive
True, establishing a continuous testing environment may be a significant one-time investment. But can you ensure a high-quality product with faultless updates and an accelerated time-to-market delivery without it? Unlikely. Continuous testing isn’t an “either-or” option anymore; it is the requirement of today’s market: deliver quickly, fix bugs ASAP, adapt to customer needs and you’ll win the competition.
Once again, you have to think of continuous testing as an investment, not as a mere expense. And the return on investment would be tremendous:
- improved code quality since no commit goes untested
- receiving immediate feedback which helps get to the root of the problem and fix it faster
- no human-made mistakes thanks to test automation
- ART for cross-functional development teams
- quality assurance around the clock
According to the CTR 2019 survey, 58% of respondents deploy daily or even more frequently. In a condition like this, continuous testing is a priority, just like the adoption of Agile and DevOps. Despite some challenges, continuous testing is a winning strategy to ensure a quick reaction to market needs, improve the quality of code and fix problems in as little time as possible.
The landscape is changing quickly, and if you don’t take advantage of the benefits where you can, your competitors will soon capitalize on them. Continuous testing is an approach that gives you the edge, so don’t hesitate to implement it in your projects.
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