Why Does DevOps Recommend “Shift-Left” Testing Principles?
Imagine investing months of hard work into developing an application, only to receive customer complaints about bugs and glitches once it's released. Sadly, by that point, the damage is done, and your product's reputation suffers. But there's a way to avoid it. How? Well, businesses can adopt shift-left testing principles.
Supercharging DevOps with Shift-Left: A Closer Look at its Meaning and its Benefits
Gartner previously predicted that 75% of enterprise DevOps initiatives would integrate shift-Left testing as a standard practice. This percentage would be even higher today. By implementing this testing methodology, teams can identify and address issues before they escalate and cause problems later in development.
Shift-Left in DevOps means incorporating quality assurance and testing activities earlier in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). So, rather than leaving these tasks until the end, shift-left emphasizes starting them at the beginning. By doing so, developers and testers can:
- Detect and fix issues sooner.
- Relay faster feedback.
- Reduce rework.
- Improve product quality.
In sum, the shift-left approach promotes collaboration, efficiency, and risk reduction. This enables organizations to deliver high-quality software faster. Most importantly, teams are better equipped to create a culture of continuous improvement.
Why Does DevOps Recommend Shift-Left Testing Principles?
The main aim of DevOps is to create a stable infrastructure and deliver applications that can grow and adapt quickly. For that reason, DevOps focuses on ensuring that the software development and delivery process is efficient and fast. Because only then would developers be able to accommodate a quick and scalable deployment of applications. That's where shift left testing comes into play.
Shift-Left testing principles are strongly advocated in DevOps due to their numerous benefits that significantly improve software development and delivery processes. Let's explore these advantages in more detail:
Early & Coordinated Bug Identification & Resolution
By implementing Shift-Left DevOps, teams can identify and address bugs and issues early, preventing them from escalating and causing further complications. The idea it to curb coding errors right when they transpire so that they don't reach production.
Heightened Product Quality Standards
Shift-Left testing ensures that quality assurance is an integral part of the development process. For example, it advocates for conducting thorough unit tests and code reviews early on. This results in higher-quality code and reduces the likelihood of critical defects in the final product.
Better Test Coverage and Cleaner Code
Furthermore, shift-left testing encourages comprehensive test coverage. The idea is to allow teams to identify potential issues in different software components. At the end of the day, such comprehensive coverage promotes writing clean and modular code, which further simplifies maintenance and troubleshooting.
An example would be writing automated unit tests for each module or function during development to validate them.
Lowered Development & Testing Costs
We often hear how the cost of fixing defects in the production phase is significantly higher, and understandably so. By catching and resolving issues early, shift-left testing alleviates this issue. Moreover, it reduces the need for extensive manual testing efforts and rework — which also results in cost savings.
Reduced Rework on Requirements
Shift-left testing emphasizes collaboration between development teams, testing teams, and other stakeholders from the outset. As a result, the requirements are clearly defined right off the bat. Of course, this reduces the likelihood of rework due to misunderstandings or miscommunications. For example, DevOps teams employing shift-left testing can involve testers and business analysts during the requirement-gathering phase. This can help clarify and validate requirements and prevent costly rework later.
Better Collaboration & Efficient Workflow
This is linked to the point we just discussed. Better collaboration and smoother coordination help with knowledge sharing and quicker issue resolution. It also paves the way for adopting practices like pair programming or carrying out regular cross-functional team meetings to facilitate effective collaboration.
Speedier Time to Market
By incorporating quality assurance early in the SDLC, shift-left testing accelerates the software development process and, consequently, enables faster time-to-market. How come? Well, the ability to detect and address issues promptly ensures smoother release cycles, leading to quicker delivery of products or features.
Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
Shift-left testing improves customer satisfaction by delivering more stable and reliable software. Since bugs are caught early and the product continuously improves, the user experience remains streamlined. Result? Increased trust and loyalty.
Best Practices for Implementing Shift-Left Testing Principles in DevOps
Implementing shift-Left testing principles in DevOps requires careful consideration. Here are some best practices to adhere to in that regard:
Keep Cognizant of the Challenges
Shifting testing left has its own challenges, such as a steep learning curve and increased maintenance costs. For example, businesses need to:
- Allocate time and resources for training team members on new testing tools and methodologies.
- Maintaining test automation frameworks to ensure their effectiveness and relevance.
Plan the Testing Lifecycle
It's important to develop a well-defined testing lifecycle that aligns with the overall software development process. How to do that?
For one, determine when and how different types of testing, including unit testing, integration testing, and system testing, will be conducted. This ensures that testing activities are integrated seamlessly into the development workflow, promoting early bug identification and resolution.
Use Codeless Test Automation
Leverage codeless test automation tools to streamline testing efforts and involve non-technical stakeholders. That's because these tools allow users (without technical know-how) to create and execute tests. In that way, these tools reduce the barrier to entry for testing activities.
For example, ACCELQ's codeless test automation capabilities allow business analysts to validate critical functionality without relying solely on technical team members.
Monitor Performance Metrics
It's super important to establish and monitor key performance metrics as they help assess the effectiveness of shift-left testing initiatives. This includes tracking metrics such as defect detection rate, test coverage, and time-to-resolution.
The ACCELQ Advantage
In sum, DevOps strongly advocates for shift-left testing principles, and for all the right reasons. However, it is crucial to establish a reliable and resilient automation exercise to ensure the desired outcomes of shift-left testing.
A no-code test automation platform like ACCELQ can prove integral to easing the transition to a shift-left testing DevOps approach, as it can significantly reduce the testing effort and enable seamless scalability of testing coverage.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can succeed with shift-left testing using codeless test automation.
Technical Consultant at ACCELQ.
Yuvarani Elankumaran is a highly skilled technical consultant at ACCELQ. With over a decade of experience in the field of Test Automation, Yuvarani is a seasoned professional who is well-versed in a variety of programming languages and automation frameworks.