DevOps and Agile are the two most relevant terms in software development today and their impact encloses a large area including design, coding, testing and operations. DevOps also plays a major role in ensuring business continuity, which is now more relevant than ever, the entire world battling a pandemic as we speak. An unforeseen disaster like the Covid-19 can potentially disrupt the functions of a business and without a proper business continuity plan, businesses can lose their footing altogether, without any hope of recovery even when the disaster is over.
Let us take a closer look at how DevOps and Agile are changing the face of software, especially in the area of Quality Assurance.
What is Agile?
Agile software development implies a set of software development methodologies where the focus is on the concept of iterative development. A collaborative approach among the different self-organized, multifunctional teams is very important in Agile as it encourages a constant evolution of requirements as well as their solutions. The Agile method ensure a faster delivery without compromising on quality or predictability, and it accommodates a much greater ability to provide necessary response to changes.
What is DevOps?
A combination of Development and Operations, DevOps is a software development methodology that aims towards integrating all the phases of development (basically from development to operations) in the same cycle. Naturally, this methodology requires a higher level of collaboration and cooperation among the different teams involved in different phases of development, including QA, development and operations.
How has Agile Development changed QA?
Since Agile development demands a more collaborative approach among the different stakeholders of the development process, it elevates the impact of the QA team in production of a product. The five ways in which Agile changes software testing include:
Continuous QA: Gone are the days of conducting QA testing at the very end of the development process. We no longer rely on physical media to access software programs and the scope of software has completely shifted on a virtual plane where websites and apps require constant updates. With the need for continuous delivery, continuous testing has become the norm, where one feature undergoes software testing while some other feature of the same print is in the process of development.
Automation: QA engineers rely more on automation in the Agile method. Testers are required to identify tests that can be further integrated into the test automation process that is already in place. But along with expanding the automation script, testers also need to up their manual testing game as the more complex features of a program still need to be tested manually.
QA influences design: In a successful Agile method, software quality assurance teams are given the space to provide their input on the design of products. The role of QA, along with other aspects of development, is much less compartmentalized and they all work together with much more fluidity to ensure the highest customer satisfaction.
Communication over documentation: In the waterfall development process, documentation is the primary way in which different stakeholders of the development process can access information regarding the different phases. However, Agile method replaces that with communication where all the teams, including QA, come together to discuss any new task, unsolved bugs and the fate of the product itself.
Beta testing: A typical feature of Agile, Beta testing is the extension of product development lifecycle beyond the product launch. It employs fresh users from the target market of the product to attain feedback and assess the consumer satisfaction, and whether the product is ready to be launched.
How has DevOps impacted QA?
In the traditional approach, the role of QA is to execute their Functional and Regression testing when a build is handed to them after being deployed in their selected environment. After running the tests for a couple of days, QA processes determine if the build is eligible to go into the next step of production or if it needs fixes. However, in DevOps, all this change radically.
The role of QA must be aligned with the DevOps cycle. A higher level of cooperation among different teams makes their efforts much more unified rather than rigidly boxed up. Software quaity engineers need to ensure that all the tests are automated and provide almost a 100% test coverage. The test environments must be levelled out and standardized. The deployment of environments also requires to be automated. Automation also extends into the scope of pre-testing and post-testing tasks as well as clean-ups and are in correspondence with the Continuous Integration Cycle.
One of the most relevant impacts of Agile and DevOps in software is their role in ensuring business continuity. They arm any business with the capability to evolve as changing scenarios occur- be it regulatory, technological, natural, or market related phenomena. This capability is achieved by the idea that a business should be equipped to design, code, test and deploy any technological changes into the market within a short cycle of two weeks or less. This adaptability helps businesses to regain their footfall into the market post any interruption and assures the stakeholders, resource providers as well as consumers and the employees involved with the product with the promise of stability in the organization.
Qualitest is the world’s largest independent managed services provider of quality assurance and testing solutions. As a strategic partner, Qualitest helps brands move beyond functional testing and quality assurance to adopt quality engineering practices, helping them introduce innovations such as automation, AI, and crowd-sourced UX testing.