The trends in software development are showing that more and more companies are adopting CI/CD methodologies to deliver their software applications. We all know that the market demands quicker releases. The days of waiting for months for new releases are gone. Software is now being released at record speeds! Adopting CI/CD does just that. It helps get your application out the door to the market as often as possible. However, one key aspect that seems to be overlooked is Continuous Testing. It’s great that CI/CD is getting software out quicker but quality should not be sacrificed. To solve that you have to test early, test often! Adding a culture of Continuous Testing to your model will provide the following benefits because now you’re focused on testing from the beginning of your SDLC
- Faster Release Cycles
- Better Code Quality
- Better Test Coverage
- Better Reliability
Now that we know to truly have a CI/CD methodology you need continuous testing as well. But just like adopting CI/CD, continuous testing requires an organizational culture shift. So how do you build that culture? It’s a different mindset that relies heavily on automation: Automated Unit Tests, Automated Functional and Non-Functional Tests, Automated Regression Tests, and Automated Deployments. Basically, anything that can be automated should be automated! That is the key principle of Continuous Testing, test from the beginning and automate as much as possible to ensure faster release cycles.
Test from the beginning and automate as much as possible to ensure faster release cycles.
With that being said, the mindshift has to change from just testers being responsible for quality to the entire team. The following two culture changes will help transform your organization into continuous testing:
With continuous testing, there are no silos and quality is built in from development to deployment. The whole team has to take on testing initiatives. Developers are responsible for automating their unit tests and integrating them with CI/CD pipeline. Testers of the team are focusing on functional and non-functional testing and having those integrated to the pipeline as well. From every step of the release cycle, quality is built in through the pipeline. This continues with deployments into productions, as operations can utilize all of the tests that have been automated. They can also focus on production monitoring tests, that use the automated test that developers and testers have created. As you can see, every part of the team is doing some form or fashion of testing, AND it’s occurring from the beginning and continues throughout the pipeline.
Collaboration is key to continuous testing. Developers, Testers and operations all have to work together. For example, developers are going to normally create APIs for their applications first. While they are developing the APIs, testers can start automating those APIs by working with Developers. The Operation team now knows that APIs are going to be automated and will then work with devs and testers to have those tests automatically integrated for build deployments. Operations now have a set of tests they can run at every build release and testing is again occurring at every stage of the pipeline. That is just one example of how collaboration is pivotal. Continuous Testing will not succeed if collaboration between team members is not present.
With Continuous Testing you are performing multi-layer tests such as API, front-end, back-end, performance, load and security testing. The results of these tests are helpful to all team members, which in turn results in better quality of the product. If these tests are automated, then your product will be released much faster with higher confidence in quality. In order to do that you have to make sure that your teams know testing is a shared responsibility and the collaboration between team members are rock solid.