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Shift left testing is a mainstay software testing strategy today, especially for enterprises following agile methodologies in software development. The shift left methodology has several takers from various industries that work in agile mode. It enables faster bug detection earlier in the development cycle, thereby eliminating costly mistakes moving to production. This scenario finds greater importance in the SaaS space. Nevertheless, technology leaders across any enterprise must be aware of the shift left methodology. They need to know why to encourage and prioritize it in application development initiatives. 

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What is shift left testing?

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Shift left testing offers application development teams an alternative to their traditional approach of application testing, where testing starts after the completion of application development. 

A shift left methodology empowers development and testing teams to move the testing process towards the initial stages of the software lifecycle. It is an approach that aims to eliminate the threat of critical bugs or defects appearing in the late stages of a software development lifecycle like deployment.

Traditionally, end-to-end software testing strategies focused on sequential execution of the testing stage after other core software development lifecycles like design and coding. As the software industry began to recognize agile development methodologies as a key competitive advantage, there was a need to overhaul traditional test strategies as well. This is how the shift left methodology gained a promising start. In practice, the shift left testing approach encourages testing early and testing often, for example, in every iterative sprint in an agile software development project.

Reasons behind the popularity of shift left approach

We are moving into a digital economy powered by cloud-based and micro-services-oriented applications. In this context, achieving seamless end-to-end test automation becomes a key priority. 


To achieve better efficiency, it is important to break down testing approaches into smaller components with less complexity. In the shift-left approach, this is exactly the direction in which the testing and validation activities move. By testing early, testing teams can catch the defects early, and development teams can rectify those at the component level. Later, during the integration testing, the chances of finding a lot of defects reduce dramatically. 

Additionally, by catching defects earlier, enterprises can release better quality apps with lower costs of operations. Bringing in more efficiency at the component level enhances automation of the continuous integration and delivery practices. This ultimately lowers risks of operations, especially when new features are released.

5 best practices for shift left methodology in agile development projects

Maintaining a higher quality codebase and lowering costs are major milestones that every enterprise hopes to achieve with their digital applications. However, many enterprise technology leaders struggle to arrive at the right roadmap to implement a shift left strategy in their testing initiatives. 

Let us examine five best practices that will help enterprises to extract faster and better ROI from their shift left testing strategies:

Empower developers to test their code

Shift left focuses on bringing more resilience to an enterprise application at its most granular level. This requires developers to test the functionality of their application irrespective of the development stage it is in. It is important to automate a good majority of the testing activities in every stage such as unit tests, cross-browser performance testing, API end-point testing, etc.

Create awareness about quality standards

Shift left methodology considers developers as a core pillar of the testing initiative. So, test engineers and QA leaders need to define a learning curve for developers to approach testing. It should be easy for them to quickly grasp quality standards and apply the same while performing testing. This will ensure that developers have a clear idea about the type of issues or defects they need to look out for and get an idea of what QA automation does.

Ensure a collaborative approach to product knowledge sharing

Just as how developers are groomed to be a part of the testing cycle in shift left methodology, it is equally important to empower testing and QA teams to have an end-to-end understanding of the application or product. They should be involved in all phases like requirement gathering, design, architecture modeling, etc.

Establish a continuous feedback mechanism

Both test engineers and developers need precise direction and guidance on what needs to be validated in their next testing cycle. By establishing a continuous feedback mechanism, they can be kept involved in every step. This eliminates any gaps in collaborative work.

Plan deployments based on departments

When breaking down a larger application, it is advisable to leverage a department-wise breakup approach. When proceeding with shift left testing, this departmental breakdown helps to eliminate delays due to dependencies. Individual departmental modules can be tested for functionality first and validated in this case.

How to derive maximum ROI from shift left philosophy?

How to derive maximum ROI from shift left philosophy?-ACCELQ

The best practices outlined in this blog will help enterprises seamlessly onboard a shift left methodology for their testing initiatives. 

The shift left testing approach ensures that end-users face no disruptive experiences while using the application. All critical bugs are discovered and rectified in the initial development stages itself. However, to achieve maximum ROI, it is equally important to automate the entire cycle of test activities, irrespective of the type of test. 

Going for a traditional, manual intensive test effort will deprive the enterprise of unbiased quality assurance. Additionally, automation helps to accelerate granular verification and validation of an enterprise application, thereby paving the way for faster integration, regression, and acceptance testing. Ultimately enterprises can quickly rollout for new applications or new features to existing applications. 

To make this a reality, it is important to have an extensive platform deployed for end-to-end test automation. Get in touch with us for a free trial to explore more about delivering winning customer experiences with better quality digital applications.

Nidhi Achhaa author

Nidhi Achhaa | Content Specialist at ACCELQ

Nidhi specializes in technology-based content and strives to create a unique, customized, and compelling piece with a flavor of SEO. A writer with a love for words and a storyteller at heart.


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