Speed-to-quality has become a norm in the software development industry. To achieve faster-time-to-market with greater accuracy, organizations are leveraging DevOps. The primary objective of adopting DevOps methodology is to closely integrate the process of development and software testing to enable faster release cycles.
To meet the ever-evolving demand of customers, DevOps is enabling businesses to release real-time updates through continuous testing, continuous development, and continuous delivery/ deployment. With accelerated digital transformation initiatives and the need to deliver round the clock service to the customer, organizations are becoming more dependent on efficient QA to achieve customer satisfaction.
Why is QA Crucial?
Unlike the traditional approach where all the quality checks typically came in at the end, DevOps ensures quality throughout the development and delivery cycle. QA is deeply embedded in the development and testing process to ensure flawless delivery.
In a traditional scenario, the QA team gets a build that is deployed in the required environment for regression and functional testing. However, all these steps change in DevOps.
Here is how:
- QA teams are required to align efforts with core development in the DevOps cycle
- Ensure all the test cases are automated and capable of achieving almost 100 percent test coverage
- Make sure that the test environment is standardized and the deployment on QA boxes is automated
- Automated cleanups and pretesting tasks are aligned with the Continuous Integration Cycle
To enable DevOps, QA and development teams are required to have seamless coordination between all the functions of the delivery chain. As a result, boundaries get blurry among different roles. DevOps encourages all stakeholders to contribute to the delivery chain. Hence, a developer is able to configure deployment, and deployment engineers are enabled to add test cases to the QA repository.
Test Automation and DevOps
To achieve greater speed and agility, it becomes crucial to automate the tests and configure them to start running automatically after the deployment is complete in the QA environment. QA teams leverage continuous integration tools and specialized automation tools to achieve such a level of integration.
To support DevOps and achieve uncompromised quality at a faster pace, organizations need to have a robust automation testing framework that is capable of instantly scripting new test cases.
Here is the sample efficient DevOps testing strategy:
- Identify the test cases required to be executed for the specific build
- Go for a lean test execution
- QA and Dev teams should work closely to earmark the areas affected by a particular build and execute related test cases including sanity test pass
- Execute configuration of specialized code analysis and test coverage tools to ensure 100 percent code coverage
- Formalize the strategy to test new features, supply interim builds to the QA who would write test scripts and execute automation tests until the code is stable and deployment worthy in the production environment
- Standardize all the required testing environments and automate the deployments
- QA should be able to run automation tests through cross platforms and multiple browsers environments
- Parallel execution of tests to reduce time-to-market
- Create exit criteria for each test run to ensure a go/no-go decision to production can be taken instantly after the test results
- Ensure reporting and fixing of blockers or critical bugs. Pass them through the same steps before the deployment in the production environment
In DevOps, it becomes imperative for QA teams to detect and report bugs early. To achieve this efficiency, you need to set up a monitoring framework for the production environment that is capable of detecting bugs before they cripple the application.
QA teams need to set up specialized counters including CPU utilization, response time, and memory among others to get actionable insights from the customer experience.
Let us take an example here for better understanding:
For instance, if the average response time on the login form is continuously increasing for various builds then QA should be able to proactively report the issue for better optimization of the login code. Failing to do so could lead frustrated customers to abandon the application due to higher response time.
QA teams can also periodically execute small subsets of already available test cases of high priority in the production environment to monitor the environment. This will enable test engineers to identify and fix bugs like “Cannot Reproduce” and “This bug appears sometimes” to make the application more stable and achieve greater customer satisfaction.
However, you need to configure these monitors to run automatically with rich reporting including screenshots of failure and logs among others.
In a nutshell, DevOps is synonymous with keeping the application deployable all the time while working on new updates/ features. It demands a cultural shift for all stakeholders and works closely to achieve a common goal of enabling reliable, nimble, and repeatable processes. It encourages operations and development teams to work as a single unit to achieve greater business value across the IT value chain.
For efficient DevOps projects, QA teams need to gain expertise in various continuous integration and automation tools to ensure automation efforts are lean and able to add value. Moving forward, more automation will become the core of every successful DevOps cycle. However, QA teams need to be vigilant and decide a limit to automation to ensure uncompromised quality.