In the Age of Agile or DevOps Reviving Software Product Quality Assurance

Agile/DevOps Reviving Software Product Quality Assurance

Software product ‘Quality Assurance’ or ‘Testing’, as the popular terminology goes, traditionally is one of the most unappreciated jobs. It takes place at the conclusion of the software development lifecycle in the Waterfall methodology. Often developers are of the opinion that the tester’s job is to breakdown the code that they have worked really hard to create.

However, in this time of digitization software development methodology has drastically changed and so the role of the testers. Now, Quality Assurance is central to the software delivery process. Currently, Agile and DevOps present time-bound development and constant integration, which actually translates into briefer development phases and more recurrent releases. This results in repeatedly altering the software that poses inimitable challenges in QA procedure. Agile/DevOps involves testers at an early stage as the products need to be tested early and often, pushing Quality Assurance into the software product development lifecycle rather than leaving it alone as an end process.

Let us analyze how software product QA is being revitalized in this age of Agile and DevOps product development methodologies.

Different Approaches to Product Testing

The Agile methodology has steadily sustained its march, leading to innovative and more rational practices intended at providing the customers with the program that satisfies their requirements as swiftly as possible.

The traditional methods grounded on the “Test-Last” approach with unit tests written after the application code has evidently exposed its limitations. So, to eliminate such limitations testing has actually moved up the ladder in the software development lifecycle. In fact, there are testing strategies that consider testing as an opening point. Let us take a look at certain testing strategies –

  • Test-Driven Development

    One of the significant methodologies of Agile QA is Test Driven Development (TDD), which implements a “Test-First” tactic in which unit tests are written prior to code. TDD successfully merges programming, unit test writing, and refactoring. This aids in a structuring exercise that allows obtaining a clean code, easy to change and responding to the articulated needs which certainly remains the primary priority when developing an application.

  • Acceptance Test-Driven Development

    Acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) is a testing strategy that stresses on interaction between the business clients, the developers, and the testers. In fact, it concentrates on user acceptance testing, authenticating that the product functions as a customer (user) expects it to. ATDD involves acceptance testing but highlights writing acceptance tests prior to developers initiating their coding process.

  • Behaviour-Driven Development

    This particular testing strategy intends to promote improved communication between team members, nurture a better understanding of the client expectations and encourage nonstop communication with tangible examples.

Dependence on Various Innovative Testing Strategies

Since Agile/DevOps enables rapid software product delivery, there is hardly any scope to form a comprehensive testing plan. Despite this deficiency, the product quality can never be at the receiving end. So, the Agile team depends on wide-ranging testing strategy (which is actually a part of the test plan in case of smaller projects) to set guidelines that describe test design and fixes how testing requires to be completed. The various mechanisms of Test strategy comprise of purposes and possibility, documentation presentations, test procedures, team reporting structure, client communication plan, and others. This is precisely the technique by which testers can preserve their flexibility as they take care of shifting requirements. A sound test strategy also aids in reinforcing the team’s obligation to product quality.

With Agile/DevOps multidisciplinary approach coming into play, there is an increase in testers participation in non-traditional parts like operations testing, performance testing, security testing, and the monitoring and breakdown of the piece of software already in production. This enables them to have an all-encompassing assessment of product quality.

Changes in Test Execution by Expediting Quality Assurance Process

With Agile/DevOps software development methodologies, emphasis on QA has increased to a great extent. This focus, in turn, has amplified the number of test cases which, of course, means a greater amount of work. In reality, there is hardly any testing team that has the capacity and resources to handle such a big number of test case execution and that too without any bugs in the final released product in the market. Nonetheless, to ensure exhaustive testing, it is a prerequisite for the testing team to trust enhanced automation.

Automated functional tests, performance tests, and security or resilience tests are gradually automated to adjust with the rapidity of the delivery lineup.  Repeating these tests manually is expensive and laborious. On the other hand, automated software testing can diminish the time consumption to run repetitive tests from days to just about hours. Also, software tools like Selenium are crucial to support these fast-tracked testing activities.

In conclusion with DevOps/ Agile, shift left practice has become an integral part of the software delivery process. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of the software product by shifting tasks (testing) to the left as early in the software development lifecycle as possible.

Magnodipa Bhattacharya is Technical and Web Marketing writer at Kovair Software. She is always passionate about learning various aspects of Software Development (ALM, DevOps, Agile , Kanban, ETC.), Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and others. She also loves ideating and conceptualizing. However, outside her professional life, she loves travelling, reading, watching movies and a bit of sketching.

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