Why Should Your Team Implement Continuous Testing?
April 20, 2020

Michael Hackett
LogiGear

If you talk to any Manager today, Continuous Testing (CT) is probably high on their list of goals for the year. But, they often don't state the why for implementing Test Automation and CT. When you look at the effects of CT and the myriad of benefits it provides, it makes sense: Continuous Testing helps to deliver immediate feedback, and can give a business an advantage with minimized risks and unblocked testing bottlenecks in the Agile/DevOps environments that will ensure a faster experience.

It's commonly acknowledged that Test Automation is a necessity for Continuous Testing (CT). Oftentimes, however, automated tests are created without considerations for the business risks, whereas Continuous Testing prevents high-risk release candidates from being rolled out to end customers. In comparison, Continuous Testing involves more extensive testing by running various types of tests, from exploratory to security, throughout the delivery process. Although ideal, successfully implementing CT is a difficult goal to achieve.

It will require a lot of changes to be implemented on the development team's behalf, and for the overall testing process to be rethought. Here are 6 tips to help your team progress into Continuous Testing:

Devise an Intelligent Test Automation Strategy

An intelligent Test Automation Strategy is necessary for Continuous Testing. First, you'll need to define your goals and adopt the right approach to ensure success. Next, you must choose the right people and tools to follow a structured methodology.

Embrace CI/CD

Testing in CI/CD is essential for DevOps, as it allows for the delivery of code changes more frequently and reliably. The CI/CD pipeline enables the frequency of Continuous Testing to be executed throughout Test Automation.

CT Needs a Cultural Shift – Everyone Contributes to Quality

The collaboration of Dev, QA, and Ops is crucial for Testing in Continuous Delivery. Each group contributes in different aspects to come together and accomplish the central goal of Continuous Testing success:

■ Developers automate unit tests and integrate these tests with CI/CD pipeline.

■ QA integrates automated integration, functional, and non-functional tests to the pipeline.

■ Ops deals with production infrastructure, monitoring, and other related activities.

Choose the Right Automation Solution for CT

When selecting the right Automation tools, you need to keep in mind the different components that can guarantee Continuous Testing success. Factors to consider in the selection process include:

■ Budget

■ Maintenance

■ Support

■ Documentation

■ Technical Ability

Although it may be difficult to decide what is best for you, it is important to choose tools that can adapt to your skills. There are a myriad of proprietary source tools, and open source tools on the market.

Create Strong Requirements and Define Tests Early

This builds on the point that I mentioned earlier in #1, about devising a Test Automation strategy. Part of this strategy includes defining clear requirements from the start so that there is no wasted time nor effort in the process. Practices like static testing, Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), acceptance test-driven development (ATDD), Keyword-Driven Testing, Action-Based Testing (ABT), and usage of model-based testing tools can greatly aid to overcome requirements ambiguity and define tests early.

Create Virtualized Test Environments on Demand with Production-like Data

In order to create a virtualized test environment, this needs to be short-lived and destroyed after use with test data on demand. QA and Dev teams should be able to create an environment with CI/CD tools that will reduce waiting times and Ops dependencies. Test data needs to be as similar as possible to production. If not, it would be more difficult to find issues of production in the future.

Summary

The goal of Continuous Testing is to test early and test often; for organizations, the first step towards implementing CT is releasing great software code continually. Once this happens, CT will start providing great advantages to the business in the form of quality and minimized risk.

However, as you can see, implementing CT isn't as easy as just deciding to do it; it requires an entire rethinking of your testing processes and the culture within your organization. If you are looking to make the transition to CT but are unsure how, you can get expert help.

Michael Hackett is Co-Founder and SVP at LogiGear
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