Software Testing: Redefining the QA Process
- September 11, 2020
- Hiba Sulaiman
If you search through the last few articles that you have read on software development or testing, chances are that DevOps appeared more than once in every article. DevOps is an inevitable topic for discussion in the software development forum, and everyone is concerned about speed and quality. DevOps helps QA teams in releasing quality apps at a faster speed. But amid all the race to achieve quality, there are a lot of things that need to be redefined in the QA process. An independent software testing company may help the organization to successfully implement and achieve the benefits of DevOps.
When talking about DevOps, in order to learn more about it testers need to answer an important question as to how fast they need to move in a DevOps environment without compromising on quality?
Cultural and Mindset Shift
Well, with more emphasis on speed and quality, organizations are also more towards digital transformation. This has a huge impact on software testing processes and testers have become a part of the scrum teams. It allows them to work closely with developers. The responsibility to ensure quality no longer lies on the developers or testers alone, but all the stakeholders are involved too. This is a complete cultural shift that requires a different mindset and approach to achieve success.
DevOps Backed by CI/CD Tools
We can observe an underlying trend in the market where some firms do not believe in hiring testers and they look for independent QA teams that include testers, developers, etc. This role of QA teams is crucial for the transition from a waterfall approach to a DevOps model. This is essential not only for the developers and testers but for other stakeholders involved too. There are different types of tools and techniques that can assist in making this shift successful. Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Development (CD) tools, test automation tools, and frameworks are also helpful in aligning business goals with the QA process. Agile and DevOps work in a different environment, yet organizations customize and develop their own versions of Agile practices. This is where teams can face problems. If not implemented properly, the DevOps framework will fail at supporting teams, forcing them to practice the waterfall approach under the DevOps umbrella.
The Role of Automation
Of course, it is no longer to mention software testing automation. Test automation assists the digital transformation process in various areas in an organization that is still making progress. Gone are the days when test automation was optional. It has now become an integral part of the delivery process – another cultural shift. QA teams within an organization have their own automation tools and frameworks that suit their requirements. Automation does not fit one size for all. Test automation should not be standardized as it slows down the software delivery process.
Test automation is rapidly evolving, which means firms are introducing new tools with improved features to the market. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already earned the spotlight and tends to replace some testing roles in the near future. AI is also expected to play a crucial role in data mining and it will be involved in the overall QA process in the future.
We know the challenges every organization faces due to the test environment. They have a huge impact on speed and quality, as QA managers decide to cut down costs to overcome the test environment issues such as their availability, stability, etc. One of the most viable solutions here is to move test environments into the Cloud. This can help QA teams in developing an automated solution to set up environments and then shut them down when not in use. It is also essential to develop the skills of scrum teams to prevent minor issues in the test environment. An independent software testing company may also use service actualization to overcome integration issues. Service actualization is very useful in the unit and system testing when teams are testing with third-parties.
Although there are some challenges in building and maintaining test environments, such as data and privacy policies, etc. Since organizations hold sensitive customer information, they have strict rules on how to use that data for testing purposes. There are two ways to do so. One is sensitive data masking, and the second solution is to create new data instead of using the existing data in test environments. Test engineers can automate data creation that saves both, time and money.
Ensuring Data Privacy
A good QA team will never use the production data in test environments. However, if they should do so, it is important to mask personal data for privacy. It is also crucial for test engineers to block the test environment from the outside world in the cloud.
Future Market Expectations
There is a dire need for better test automation tools. Although most of the tools in digital testing are open-source, it is hard to say about the future of these tools. On the contrary, other tools are expensive and have limited capabilities. Implementing these tools can be time-consuming, and costly thus creating a need for solid tools. It is expected that there will be a lack of skills in new technologies and tools. As the software testing sphere is evolving rapidly, it is important to find people who have the vision to improve testing processes.
QA Team Structure Evolves
We know software testing is a part of the QA process. Execution and management are distributed to teams and the entire team will be responsible for quality. The role of testers will not be limited to testing but it is expected to move to development tasks. The developer will move right with test automation tasks. The role of QA managers exists in some organizations but their responsibilities are mostly limited to testing processes.