As opposed to the traditional software development lifecycle (aka waterfall), today’s Agile and DevOps-based software development process is more outcome-oriented. The unrelenting pace of the changing market landscape has made the hybrid, Agile plus DevOps way of software development absolutely critical in addressing customer demands and staying competitive.
The focus on Agile and DevOps is necessary due to the high failure rates of traditional software development methodologies. These failure rates are mainly attributed to the glitch-infested, low-quality applications churned out by following legacy methodologies.
The failure rates had left many companies to bite the dust and brought the key role played by quality in ensuring customer satisfaction and ROI for the business into sharp focus. Also, the IT landscape is witnessing developments such as mergers and acquisitions, increased focus on risk and compliance, data and analytics, the fast rollout of apps and mobile commerce, among others. These have necessitated the software development process to become increasingly agile, streamlined, collaborative and flexible. The reshaping of customer expectations is letting organizations to go beyond shift-left testing or DevOps testing by transforming the QA process into one driven by quality engineering.
What Is Quality Engineering?
To meet the growing demand for quality software applications in double quick time, a mere tweaking of the software development process is not enough. What is needed is the adoption of software quality engineering process comprising optimal quality assurance, predictive analytics and monitoring of QA elements to reduce glitches to negligible levels. The process would involve a continuous cycle of feedback and quality improvement based on the same. The quality engineering process offers maximum test coverage in the shift-left scheme of things and ensures outcomes like functionality, security, accessibility, usability, performance and reliability of the software application. It complements Agile and DevOps methodologies and ensures their outcomes to remain consistent with the desired business objectives. Quality engineering, instead of identifying the inherent glitches in the SDLC, focuses more on preventing them altogether.
Shift Left and Strengthen Right
Quality engineering services cover the entire spectrum of the SDLC thereby yielding the maximum test coverage and delivering the best quality product. With DevOps testing shifting left, the quality determinants are incorporated right into the product build during the development phase. At the same time, DevOps-based QA focuses on the shift-right approach to ensure the last stage of the SDLC i.e., delivery goes on unhindered and customer feedback is taken in right way and worked upon. The ultimate aim of both shift-left and right is to create and deliver a glitch-free product that meets the requirements of the end-users. Here, since end-users are the ones who ultimately assess quality of a software product based on parameters such as usability, functionality and performance, among others, the feedback mechanism should be responsive enough to understand the issues faced by the end-users and remedy them at the earliest.
Quality Engineering as an Aid
Quality engineering (QE) helps to bridge the gap between development and deployment processes, which can arise due to the lack of agility. It harps on the successful strategy of “test early, test often,” to pre-empt challenges that businesses face when testing a software product. Quality engineering ensures the quality of a software application throughout the SDLC–right from the designing stage to its final delivery. QE can be incorporated into the development process by using methods such as Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), Test-Driven Development (TDD) and Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD) respectively.
Let’s find out what these methods are all about:
- BDD: In this software development method, the behavior of both the software and business outcomes are taken into consideration. Here, the right sets of tests are automated, leading to an increased collaboration among developers, testers and other business stakeholders.
- TDD: In this software development process, the QA team writes unit level tests before the development stage. This results in getting an early feedback and helps the development team to refactor its requisites.
- ATDD: This software development process focuses on writing an acceptance test even before the development phase. This helps the software to meet the acceptance criteria beforehand.
Quality Engineering and DevOps
QE, being an end-to-end testing methodology, can offer optimum solutions to businesses struggling with their legacy IT infrastructure. The solutions in terms of continuous testing and integration as mandated by DevOps, can be arrived at by integrating the QA process with the DevOps pipeline. This results in executing processes such as build, test, deploy and deliver in a seamless manner. QE complements DevOps and Agile by detecting glitches right at the beginning of the development process.
Moreover, QE’s focus on end-to-end testing helps the product to be developed and tested simultaneously. This approach adds teeth to the DevOps’s requirement for continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). No wonder, the successful implementation of quality engineering is underpinned on fulfilling the requirements of DevOps and Agile. It further consolidates the benefits achieved from implementing DevOps testing services and Agile testing services.
QE riding on DevOps and Agile can help businesses to scale up their operations without investing much resources and time. By implementing DevOps test automation and Agile test automation using a test automation software such as Selenium, Robitium etc., businesses can boost their SDLC. QE can help businesses to develop and deploy glitch-free software speedily and deliver enhanced customer experience.
The fast-changing competitive business landscape of today requires organizations to streamline their operations, increase productivity and fast forward the delivery of glitch-free software applications. To achieve these objectives, they need to make quality engineering as part of their development and testing cycles. However, QE ends up complementing the Agile and DevOps approach by achieving outcomes such as CI and CD. Furthermore, it leads businesses to get high ROI, better productivity, reduced cost of operations and enhanced customer experience.