The need for faster time to market and superior quality is getting intense in the software development process. Software trends for 2017 suggest that DevOps will grow as a trend and become more widely accepted across enterprises. Organizations are reaping the benefits of DevOps approach and are incorporating the rules within every aspect of software testing. A case in point: DevSecOps—security testing integrated with DevOps—is an emerging concept and is being considered by enterprises to execute application security testing.
The underlying objectives of adopting DevOps are to make the testing and development process more collaborative, ensure software quality and to help launch the product faster to the market. This makes quality assurance (QA) a key component in the DevOps methodology. New-age applications need real-time changes and updates to meet the growing demands of the consumer. This requires continuous testing, continuous development and continuous delivery/deployment. DevOps enables teams to constantly upgrade and deliver.
In 2016 a number of enterprises adopted DevOps. According to industry experts, 2017 will see more defining moments for DevOps. The idea of accepting DevOps is to consider a cultural shift and not just a technical shift. As digital transformation expert Jeff Sussna says about DevOps, “The key to following the continuous delivery path is to continually question your own assumptions about what’s possible.” Currently, DevOps is on the route of being questioned and defined at every level. It will result in bringing more value to the methodology.
Every enterprise and its style of working differs. The way they would adopt DevOps will differ, too. But digital transformation and the need to be available for customers all the time with new updates is transforming the way enterprises adopt new practices and methodologies. Every enterprise has to evolve in a sustainable manner, so quality is at the core of every practice, including DevOps.
Why is QA Integral to DevOps?
In the DevOps scenario, QA integrates into the testing and development process and takes the collaborative approach. Quality is ensured throughout the testing and delivery cycle and both the testing and development teams are responsible for it. In the traditional pattern, quality creeps in toward the end, but with DevOps it comes in at every level.
In terms of code development, the QA team pushes the new development code into production and DevOps facilitates to ensure a seamless deployment of infrastructure and tools. Thus, it helps in releasing a code on a consistent basis and the responsibility to ensure quality is not just limited to killing the bug; it is built in the overall application release.
In the current scenario, hourly releases are required to meet the demands of the consumers and deal with competition. Web/mobile applications such as an ecommerce or financial services application need to be updated frequently. It is a key business requirement. DevOps helps to make this possible, but with QA involved, the quality of the release is ensured. Moreover, with DevOps, the reality check can happen in real time rather than taking the code offline and testing it.
On the whole, the popularity of DevOps over the years has intertwined quality into every engineer’s responsibility, which is a positive sign. This helps in addressing the needs of the market and ensure that customers do not suffer. QA further enables and directs teams to check the application for performance and quality before it is delivered.
The role of QA in the current software development process is changing, where the customer comes into focus and the needs of the customer are brought into perspective while delivering the application. Releasing new and functional builds at any point through the application’s life cycle can become a disaster if quality is not ensured constantly. Automation of tests plays a critical role to guarantee quality and bring speed.
Building a QA strategy with the necessary best practices is essential for organizations that are embracing the DevOps movement. This will help in delivering effective software development and operations to achieve user experience. DevOps practices are adopted to improve the regularity of the releases and reduce the defects. It is a methodology that boosts rapid, short, iterative development and deployment of applications.
So, the idea of incorporating QA is to ensure continuous improvement in the delivery process. DevOps helps digital enterprises to meet the needs of the competition and enable overall business growth. As a result, enterprises are able to streamline and pace up the delivery of applications with changes and innovation.
Best Practices for Incorporating QA in DevOps
The key aspect to consider while merging QA with DevOps is that the QA and testing teams must team up with the technical teams. In this way QA becomes an enabler for ensuring quality in the software development cycle. In addition, it is important to define tangible aspects of the quality that are expected from the project/application. This helps in achieving results within stipulated time frames.
Putting down the quality metrics is absolutely critical in DevOps, which helps teams to identify bugs early in the development cycle. Defining the metrics also enables teams to integrate them within the organizational culture at various levels. In this way, quality is ensured at every level and development teams also get enabled.
The idea of DevOps is to make the developer think in line with testers and constantly check the code for potential errors. On the other hand, a tester who holds the responsibility to test the application/software with various testing tools and methodologies also needs to fix the code. In this way, enterprises with an inadequate QA or testing strategy cannot ensure continuous testing and continuous delivery.
The application scenario is changing and it is getting very complex. DevOps can speed up the development, but what can you expect without a robust QA strategy? QA is absolutely integral to the DevOps process. Continuous development and delivery is impossible without a comprehensive QA/testing strategy.
About the Author / Komal Lopez
Komal Lopez works with Cigniti Technologies and is instrumental in helping enterprises take better decisions related to Quality Assurance products, tools and services by leveraging research and content. She specializes in writing about technology trends, testing trends and has been in the Marketing and Communications industry for over a decade. Connect with her at [email protected]