Rather than terming this post as Software Testing Trends to watch out in 2020, which is a widely discussed topic at this time, I would like to call this the Future of Software Testing – I want to start off saying the future is bright.
Quality is an important business consideration in all organizations now. Organizations are understanding the true meaning of “Move Fast and Break Things” – realizing that quality can co-exist with other business considerations of time and cost in an Agile world.
However, for quality to add true value to the product under development, an ongoing and dynamic set of considerations need to be worked on each year – whether you call these latest trends in software testing, emerging trends in software testing don’t really matter.
The core message remains the same for the organization to understand at holistic levels, top down, so as to customize a strategy to implement for themselves – this will differentiate a quality function as trend setters rather than trend followers.
Why Consider Software Testing Trends Every Year?
A new year – a new beginning – this holds not just for personal and professional resolutions but even for organizational charters. Sixty three percent of a study report quality as a blocker in a production process and twenty nine of the times quality is adversely impacted in a devops cycle. Only one in three organizations involve quality in the planning phase.
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Only one in five organizations test every time code is checked in – while quality is evolving with organizations understanding its importance at all levels, these data points are concerning. It all boils down to the value from a quality engineering effort – the value will create the right visibility across functions, draw the required investments, and creative a positive perspective for the fraternity at large.
So what really is a Value Driven Quality Engineering Effort?
As with any engineering or business function, the core for quality will also be value. This may be a beaten point that people may have seen in several software testing trends lists; it may even sound ambiguous on how to get to the desired state.
As long as the tester is continuously questioning the status quo, evaluating to see if what is being done can be done better, faster, how what he does translates into the longer term vision of the product, users and the organization and foster a mindset to think along lines of value, quality engineering will be seen and appreciated in a positive light by one and all.
Over the rest of this post, we will look at elements that will help bring in value in an actionable and objective manner – when this element of value is revisited periodically, that is what will define not just software testing trends, but trends is whichever profession we belong to – that said, let’s look at it from a quality engineering angle this point on.
Some of the biggest trends in software testing in 2020 are:
1. Balance in a Shift Left and Right Strategy:
The industry has been talking extensively about shift left strategy for a few years now. Different organizations are at different levels of maturity in adoption but at the core, quality is becoming more continuous, with increasing levels of automation enabling collective ownership, that quality is no longer just an end game activity. Today’s need is significantly different though.
To align with business and end users, quality engineers are also having to shift quality right – they are having to understand how to seamless fit quality into the business success criteria or KPIs, thereby picking the right quality goals to define the strategy. What this translates to is, not a hundred percent coverage for quality, rather an optimal coverage that balances quality with all attributes at stake and more importantly balance shifting left and right on an ongoing basis. Herein, the less known soft skills to build as a tester come of importance.
As a quality professional all my life, I am personally against tagging anyone as a manual tester or an automation tester. They don’t necessarily make sense, when value is held as the key evaluation criteria of the success of an effort. That said, automation as a practice will enable a tester bring in more value in today’s age of agility in software engineering.
Automation will empower everyone to take on quality in their own spaces – for example, a developer taking on API unit testing, a performance team taking on unit testing before an end to end run, a support engineer using scripts for initial debugging, a business person looking at behaviour driven development tests to ensure coverage, an executive looking at dashboards to understand the health of quality, amongst several others.
Automation of functional scenarios, along with test life cycle activities or processes, leveraging both automated frameworks and newer technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) will free up time for testers to think and act big.
This will continue to grow in prominence. Cybersecurity is a much spoken about topic today for the right reasons. Ethical hackers will be much sought after in the industry to help build a safe and secure cyber world.
Security professionals are conservative in saying, the moment you are on the internet, you are vulnerable. With IoT and an increasingly connected world, security engineering will be very important to invest in and security testers will have an important role to play than ever before.
Must Watch Webinar on IoT Security: IoT Security: Are We 2020 Ready?
There is a lot of awareness today on engineering for digital inclusiveness. It is welcoming to see the differently abled, more confidently use digital solutions in an independent and self-assisted manner.
However accessibility is moving beyond just addressing the needs of the differently abled. It has become important from an overall end user experience standpoint, from search optimization and online discoverability standpoints, from embracing newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) stands, for an area that has otherwise remained human centric thus far.
More cognitive automation and combinatorial testing is becoming possible in accessibility, which is a welcoming trend, given that it is an attribute of ongoing significance.
5. Agile and Digital Transformation:
These continue to be buzz words/catch phrases that the industry continues to talk about. What is important to understand here is Agile should be a mindset or a culture driven change rather than a set of guidelines to follow.
Also, in a digital transformation, the key is transformation rather than digital. This transformation has to be ongoing, has to embrace people and has to be supported by the right set of tools and processes.
An organization which understands these will set up not just the quality function but cross group practices for success.
Innovation cannot be understated or underestimated in an era where value is key. Whether it be process, product or for that matter innovation in any area will be welcome, even if it means an effort that is attempted without much success.
Such an effort will anyday be more valuable than innovation which has not been attempted at all. Innovation should be encouraged at all levels in the organization, not just an R&D level – outcomes measured, ideas implemented, technologies embraced.
These should be also be done with a goal of making the test effort more productive and exciting for one and all – this will give a new meaning for quality and again make everyone pay more attention to this function, let alone giving a new boost for the testers.
RPA herein is showing a lot of promise in the recent years – it will be exciting to reap its true potential in the coming years.
Webinar on IoT Security: RPA & Test Automation
7. Design Thinking:
This is an up and coming trend where all entities in a product team are encouraged on the path of design based thinking. When everyone understands the business need, the end user experience, the core value to be delivered, not just once, but on a daily basis, a larger and deeper understanding beyond engineering aspects emerge.
This will be a design and experience based thought process which will help the testers bring the balance between the shift left and right mindsets.
DevOps, increasing levels of automation that bring in engineering and business efficiencies within the umbrella of quality, embracing new technologies will all remain key.
Also Read: Why Integrate QE Into The DevOps Cycle?
But these not so often spoken about points discussed above, will give an edge to any quality effort and a new facelift to the testers, giving them an increased sense of pride of who they are and what they do.
I have written about the importance of role delineation between developers and testers several years ago for StickyMinds.
That topic will never age – it holds good today in 2020 and will down the line too – come what may in the engineering cycle, regardless of how tightly coupled we would get with the engineering and business teams, maintaining an unbiased stand will be important to balance quality with core business criteria, yet not compromising on it, thereby truly upholding end user interests in the product under test.