4 key elements of a successful continuous testing process
One of the biggest changes in software development in the last few years has been the speed at which teams are now asked to deliver. Some organizations that used to deploy new versions of software solutions twice per year now operate according to a monthly schedule. To meet their business objectives, teams rely on modular applications that evolve over time, powerful tools, Agile development methods and more gradual changes to the code base, allowing them to deliver different modules and functionalities over the course of several iterations.
To ensure optimal software quality, manual testing is simply no longer sufficient. To be successful and continue to be leaders in their respective markets, organizations must rely on a continuous testing process.
What is continuous testing?
In a traditional waterfall development process, testing only takes place at the very end of the development cycle. As a result, many errors, bugs and other issues can find their way into the live version of a software product, resulting in additional work and extra costs.
Continuous testing completely changes the development team’s relationship with testing. Instead of only taking place at the very end of the development cycle, testing now occurs early and often, allowing developers to test features and functionalities as they evolve. In the context of an Agile project, a continuous testing process can provide the development team useful data all throughout the development cycle, instead of only adding value at the very end. In a continuous testing process, developers are always asking the question, “Is it possible to test?”
The key elements of a successful continuous testing process
To put into place a continuous testing process within your company, you’ll need at the very least the following four elements.
1. A continuous integration tool
A basic continuous integration tool allows the team to integrate new code that has been deposited into a central repository to produce a new build of a software solution. Before depositing new code into the central repository, team members can work independently to develop a new feature or new functionalities without affecting the version used by other team members.
2. Environment provisioning
Having to create a test environment every time a team member wants to test a feature adds unnecessary steps (update the application, update the database if necessary, restart the services, etc) that slow the development team down and end up wasting a ton of time over the course of an entire project.
A platform like Docker can make this process much smoother and much simpler. Creating images requires an initial investment, but in the long run, you’ll likely save time. The container-based provisioning step can also be managed through the continuous integration tool as well.
3. End-to-end testing
Environment provisioning and a continuous integration tool allow team members to verify new changes faster and more efficiently. After that, end-to-end testing, which integrates test scenarios, test scripts and test automation tools into a single platform, ensures software quality by testing the application from beginning to end and generating detailed test results. Using these results, it’s very easy for developers to identify the source of an error or what caused software quality to regress, allowing developers to fix these issues quickly.
Moreover, test automation doesn’t leave room for human errors, which means test results are always reliable. Thanks to the power of end-to-end testing, teams can control the quality of the software solutions they produce much more easily.
The last key ingredient of a successful continuous testing process is very simple: teamwork! A continuous testing process seeks to integrate testers and quality assurance specialists directly into the development team, allowing them to work side-by-side with developers to elaborate test strategies together. In the end, the code that the team develops is much more solid, as the entire team is involved into the quality assurance process.
Implementing a continuous testing process
It’s important to remember that the technological environment, development methods and tools that an organisation uses will all affect the continuous testing process, meaning the specifics of how a continuous testing process is implemented will always vary from one organisation to another. If your organisation is not ready to put into place a continuous testing process, you can still start by integrating useful components such as a continuous integration tool or test automation into your projects. If you need additional help, Askida’s experts can accompany your team by reviewing your development methods and technological environment to make key recommendations that can help you develop better software solutions.