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What Is Shift Left Testing? Why And Approach

Posted On: 6 March 2024

Shift left testing is growing in popularity among IT departments worldwide. Traditional software testing methods delay the application development lifecycle. This delay is the top reason for slow software release cycles.

Such delays can cause schedule overruns, budget issues, and extended use of resources. These problems can escalate quickly for businesses. The shift left approach aims to solve these issues by moving testing earlier in development.

What is shift left testing?

Shift Left Testing introduces testing early in software development. Traditionally, developers postponed testing until the end of development, which delayed bug detection and increased fix costs and labor. Shift Left Testing disrupts this convention by 'shifting' testing earlier in the development cycle. This proactive technique finds and fixes defects early in development, enhancing software quality.

Shift Left Testing involves developers early on, creating a more collaborative and efficient development environment. Ingraining quality from the beginning reduces the time spent on reworks. This shift enhances the overall software quality and streamlines the development process, making it more efficient and effective.

Why is it Called a Shift to Left?

The term Shift to Left refers to the early stages of software development. The idea is that software development represents a straight line. The left side of the line represents the beginning stages. The right side represents the later stages, such as deployment and maintenance.

Shift Left Testing means testing earlier in the software development timeline to find issues sooner in the process. When launching products, finding and fixing bugs early is important for good software quality and saving time and money.

How to Implement Shift-Left Testing

Implementing Shift Left Testing requires a strategic approach that integrates testing into every phase of the development process. Here are key strategies to effectively adopt this methodology.

Engage Developers in Testing

Encourage developers to test their code before merging it into the main branch. This practice ensures that we thoroughly test individual code units, reducing errors and improving code quality.

Foster Collaboration

Testers should be part of the development process early to understand key functions and create useful tests. The collaboration between testers and developers facilitates a deeper understanding of potential bugs and how to prevent them.

Automate Testing

Automation is crucial in Shift Left Testing by enabling continuous testing throughout the development cycle. Automated tests can quickly identify defects, allowing for immediate correction.

Focus on Testability

Developers should write code with testability, making testing and identifying potential issues easier.

By adopting these strategies, teams can implement the Shift Left approach effectively. Leading to more efficient development processes and higher-quality software products.

Role of Real Devices in Shift-Left Testing

Actual devices are important in Shift Left Testing to ensure software is tested in conditions similar to real life. Real devices provide precise feedback on software performance in various scenarios, such as hardware, network, and user interactions. This feedback is more reliable compared to that of emulators or simulators.

This level of testing is essential for identifying and fixing bugs that may not be apparent in simulated environments. Using real devices early in testing helps developers improve their code quality from a user's point of view. Following the Shift Left approach, leads to software that meets or surpasses user expectations.

What Happens After Shift Left Testing Implementation?

After implementing Shift-Left Testing, organizations can expect:

  • Enhanced Software Quality: Early detection and resolution of bugs lead to higher-quality products.
  • Reduced Time to Market: Accelerated testing processes shorten the development cycle.
  • Cost Efficiency: Early bug detection significantly reduces the cost of fixes.
  • Improved Developer Productivity: Developers spend less time on bug fixes and more on feature development.
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction: Higher quality products and faster delivery times meet customer expectations more effectively.

Challenges in Shift Left Testing

  • Integrating testing early in the development process necessitates a cultural shift within the team.
  • New roles and responsibilities for developers and testers may disrupt established workflows.
  • Increased collaboration and communication are required, posing a challenge for teams used to siloed operations.
  • Automation of testing processes is crucial but requires significant investment in resources and expertise.
  • Ensuring comprehensive testing coverage, including on real devices, is essential for accurately assessing software performance and usability.

Shift-Left Testing has advantages such as saving money, better quality software, and quicker release times. Despite the challenges, these benefits make it a worthwhile investment.

Conclusion

Shift Left testing introduces testing in early software development for improved quality and efficiency. Testing early and often helps teams find and fix problems quickly, saving money and speeding up product release. Using real devices, ACCELQ will maximize the benefits of the Shift Left strategy.

Shift Left Testing gives organizations an advantage by helping them make better software products. Designers created these products to meet the needs of a constantly evolving digital world. The software industry is adopting agile and DevOps practices. Shift Left Testing will play a crucial role in shaping the future of software development.

Geosley Andrades

Director, Product Evangelist at ACCELQ

Geosley is a Test Automation Evangelist and Community builder at ACCELQ. Being passionate about continuous learning, Geosley helps ACCELQ with innovative solutions to transform test automation to be simpler, more reliable, and sustainable for the real world.

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