The goals of any successful business fit into two broad categories: driving higher revenue and greater operational efficiency. Finding solutions to achieve both of these is an organization’s goldmine.
Considering the ease of access to new, alternate products from developers across the globe, competition continues to grow. In the software industry, customer expectations magnify cut-throat competition. Users expect newer features, faster releases and ever-improving optimal performance.
To achieve these core business goals, DevOps teams now develop software with a mindset of continuous delivery. This practice helps organizations achieve faster release cycles while delivering newer features to meet customer demand.
For most teams, there remains a major ongoing challenge: effective testing within this high-speed delivery cycle. Traditional (non-automated) testing methods became a bottleneck in the CI/CD pipeline mindset, forcing organizations to choose between quality and speed to market.
Continuous testing helps overcome this problem by weaving testing throughout the delivery cycle by leveraging automation. But what tests should be automated?
In late 2018, KMS surveyed 135 professionals who successfully implemented continuous testing, for their insights on the process. Of the organizations surveyed, the following tests were always automated:
- Unit tests (47.4%)
- Component tests (46.7%)
- Integration tests (45.9%)
- UI tests (38.5%)
- Performance and load tests (57%)
- Security tests (52.6%)
- User acceptance tests (34.1%)
We also found the top three focus areas of test coverage for continuous testing were:
- Integration tests (55.6%)
- Security tests (48.1%)
- UI tests (43.7%)
As a bottom line, businesses must successfully adopt continuous testing to keep their delivery pipelines in sync with development.
Despite several benefits arising from continuous testing, KMS found a few challenges for organizations that have adopted this methodology. Seventy-eight percent reported that continuous testing would have been easier to adopt with a directive from their executive leadership.
What’s more, 78% indicated they would have liked more team ownership of the initiative and 86% would have liked better team collaboration.
So, how do organizations get executive buy-in and rally the team to adopt the practice? By understanding and communicating how continuous testing directly contributes to achieving the two key business goals of increased revenue and operational efficiency.
Let’s drill down into increased revenue generation. After all, money is what keeps any business in motion. Businesses drive revenue by:
- Solving a pain point for customers.
- Encouraging users to adopt their solution.
- Having the agility to shift and meet changing consumer needs, with speed.
To achieve operational efficiencies, businesses focus on:
- Achieving shorter release cycles.
- Receiving feedback and ability to respond with agility.
- A more effective team, without increasing headcount.
With these goals in mind, there are three core business cases for adopting continuous testing:
Increased Agility and Confidence in Quality
Agile is the ideal delivery model for all software companies. True agility means organizations can shift focus quickly and respond rapidly to customer feedback or changes in the market. It also gives teams the freedom to explore new opportunities/solutions. Continuous testing enables this agility by supporting a shift-left philosophy that uses test automation in the earlier stages of the development cycle. Shifting left enables a continuous feedback loop that allows teams to respond to defects and establish better team communication.
By adopting continuous testing, 80% of professionals found fewer defects escaping to production. Reacting to feedback quickly allows companies to give customers the products they want. An organization can increase revenue by delivering market-disrupting features.
Automation tools also encourage a testing mindset in developers—80.7% of companies adopting continuous testing have found their developers doing more testing. This mindset shift is critical to achieving agility with better collaboration. It makes the quality of the software the responsibility of the entire team, truly aligning with the Agile Manifesto. As a result, product quality and user experience benefit, and happy customers increase revenue.
Faster Overall Speed
Keeping up in today’s market requires shorter release cycles. As I mentioned earlier, adopting continuous testing enables faster sprints by eliminating the testing bottleneck at the end of the delivery life cycle. In fact, 83.7% of companies have achieved shorter release cycles by adopting continuous testing.
Speeding up the software development life cycle pushes products to market faster. Getting features in the hands of customers before your competition gives your company a huge competitive edge. By adopting continuous testing, companies are not slowed down by antiquated testing initiatives. Speed enables them to compete on a global scale and disrupt the market.
Lower Operational Expenses
How do you balance speed and cost? Automation. Continuous testing automates routine tests. By using open source tools such as Katalon, teams can automate with minimal extra expense. This not only helps you test faster, but your team can be more productive—84.4% of companies have achieved better test coverage with the same team size and 67.4% were able to test with smaller teams. Either way, you get more done without investing in additional overhead.
However, automation is not here to replace testers. Automation in pre-production environments gives your resources the bandwidth to work more strategically: 53.3% of companies that have implemented continuous testing don’t test manually in pre-production environments. Seventy-four percent now have the bandwidth for exploratory testing in production. Use your team and resources where they are most effective, doing the work automation can’t. Ultimately, smart use of resources achieves a sought-after balance of speed and cost.
By exploring the business cases for continuous testing, companies achieve true agility. The methodology seamlessly aligns with fundamental business goals. Enabling continuous delivery, continuous testing will support revenue growth and operational success for your organization.