Enterprises are embracing DevOps underpinned by automation to ensure the quality of software across all digital touchpoints. In fact, automation has become the crux of continuous integration and delivery, the vital DevOps testing goals. Without automation, DevOps would become a distant dream, and businesses would struggle to keep pace with seamless delivery and integration. However, DevOps entails more than the implementation of the latest automation tool and demands a more holistic approach. It does so by bringing together processes, people and technologies under a shared vision. As defined by Microsoft, DevOps is the coalition of products, people and processes to facilitate the seamless delivery of value to the end customers.
DevOps is considered to be the latest advancement of the agile movement. It includes a greater number of stakeholders in the process of delivering value by linking the silo-based teams. It may not be the best practice, but it’s a discipline of people-centric management. Continuous delivery is the technical foundation of DevOps automation, which extends to the agile foundation as well. The close collaboration between the operations and development teams is known as DevOps, which is used to automate the delivery pipeline.
Role of Automation in DevOps to Increase Productivity
Since digital transformation has taken over the current business model, more and more companies are embracing the DevOps practice to drive the automated deployment of software. We are shifting toward an organizational culture in which development and testing take place simultaneously, quickly and more often. This helps maintain consistently high ratings on the quality of software with faster turnaround time. The main agenda of DevOps testing is to derive quality outcomes all along the software development life cycle (SDLC) and beyond. So, with the help of DevOps culture, a new code of development, testing and delivery is introduced in the overall SDLC.
The automation in DevOps empowers companies to:
- Enhance the reliability, re-usability and quality of all components.
- Save costs of upgrades and maintenance.
- Improve the rate of success for standardized processes to ensure the rapid delivery of applications.
Automate Everything — Is It Even Possible?
With the help of the DevOps approach, developers automate and accommodate operational activities, from the source code commit to operational productivity. The primary goal of DevOps automation is to remove bottlenecks in the pipeline by implementing automation in a single level of development. However, DevOps is not a fully automated process and is not operational without human intervention. It is the DevOps testing specialists who are responsible for the process to run flawlessly. Governance at every stage of DevOps testing is still indispensable in various processes undergoing automation. Importantly, human administration is still crucial in handling exceptions to complete the tasks of automation.
The Strategic Role of Humans in DevOps to Ensure a Continuous Pipeline
Remove the Boundaries of Roles
The primary feature of DevOps automation culture is about an enhanced collaboration between the operations and development teams. It has led to a cultural transformation at the organization’s level and inside the teams as well, to encourage continuous delivery. Since shared collaboration is an important aspect of the DevOps culture, it strengthens the collaboration within teams. Before the DevOps approach, the perceived lack of interest by the development team regarding maintenance and operations used to affect DevOps testing and business goals. However, this scenario has since changed due to an organizational shift toward automation and DevOps testing.
The gap between the silos of operations and development no longer exists with the arrival of DevOps. It has removed the boundaries of several organizational roles. Teams are required to focus on the shared goals of DevOps to enhance the end user experience, so the team members need to rethink every investment and decision around this shared goal, which requires human intervention. Automation cannot substitute the decision-making process of humans, for the latter has become vital across the organizational ecosystem as, and when, needed.
Omit One-Size-Fits-All Approach in DevOps Testing
Automation cannot be viewed as the eliminator of roles. The organization still requires expert knowledge and skill set inside your team. The focus should be on developing agile and cross-functional teams that are recognized for removing long-established stumbling blocks between the operations and development teams, and for facilitating collaboration. Developing efficient and functional teams would ensure the delivery of superior quality products.
Continuous Monitoring, Testing and Improvement
One of the key agendas of DevOps testing is to carry out a deeper level of monitoring. Since rigorous monitoring is needed at every layer of the testing process, from integration to infrastructure and transactions to components, it has become a crucial part of the road map of the DevOps approach. In this digitally connected world, monitoring and testing are no longer distinguishable. Continuous monitoring by testers offers a positive response to the user experience while eradicating pre- and post-production obstacles.
With the impetus in the growth of DevOps and agile practices in the past few years, testing has taken a new structure and form. It has evolved into a crucial discipline, and it’s not restricted to a phase of the development cycle anymore. It has become an essential part of the operational activities of production. So, is the role of a tester transformed radically from only a checkpoint to a crucial active participant in the DevOps testing? Teams need to cooperate based on the shared vision of enhancing augmented user experience. We need to understand the fact that automation is not an elixir to deliver on DevOps goals, but merely a part of the DevOps strategy.