Technology has made customers’ loyalty under constant threat. How quickly and effectively you can engage with consumers via this new technology is often the determining factor in fluctuations of market share and profits. So, how do you turn this threat into a business opportunity?
Answer: Prime your software delivery process for continuous improvement. And yes, that means finally stepping away from traditional, mostly manual testing or solely looking at automating the regression cycle.
In a time period dominated by agile and DevOps initiatives, a “continuous improvement” mindset is the common denominator of success. But how do you take that same mindset and apply it to testing? You do it through Continuous Testing. This is where software testing is strategically automated end-to-end in order to accelerate the feedback cycle on any potential defects and business risks associated with any given release. For instance, with Apexon’s Continuous Testing Services, we integrate optimized testing within CI/CD pipelines to achieve greater agility, efficiency, and quality. Rather than focusing on just one or two aspects of the testing ecosystem, such as test execution or test maintenance, Continuous Testing addresses the entire testing process. It requires integration and coordination between each stage of the test/QA process to produce the greatest efficiencies and highest quality end product. This is achieved by giving organizations the ability to dynamically provision their testing to know where they should (and shouldn’t) automate.
When organizations implement Continuous Testing, the focus needs to be on putting the systems, processes, and automation in place that will make the most impact for clients. Each stage of the QA process presents its own particular challenges. Here are a few examples of obstacles that might arise, and how organizations can address them.
Planning Stage: Align requirements, testing, and outcomes
When we talk about changing the mindset, the first step is setting expectations. During the initial phase of the test cycle, requirements and test cases need to map directly to the desired business or consumer outcome. Otherwise, the disconnect between what we are trying to achieve and what we are doing can lead to an extremely frustrating testing process. For example, if you are updating an account profile app to work with Bluetooth, there is no reason to test run web interface tests for those types of account profiles as well. To ensure the traceability from testing back to intended outcomes is in place, we recommend an expert assessment of the current test environment and framework, and the protocols and tools being used to carry out the testing. This allows for development and testing operations to work in a lean and efficient manner by clearly defining the scope at the earliest stage possible.
Approach Stage: Automation as a critical KPI
The majority of organizations still automate less than 25 percent of their testing, according to our own research into The Impact of Digital Transformation on Testing & QA. If Continuous Testing is to succeed in your organization, higher automation levels are critical within every activity. This means from test data management to environment provisioning and result feedback analysis, an approach that incorporates automation needs to occur. By seriously striving for the appropriate automation levels and further augmenting automation efforts through the use of AI-powered bots already in the market today, it becomes possible to optimize, automate and accelerate the entire test cycle.
Execution Stage: Re-evaluate how you are testing what you are testing
We all know automating test execution and corresponding regression cycles is often the first step in improving testing. However, many companies don’t have the necessary processes and tools in place to execute test automation and regression testing effectively due to a misalignment in planning. It’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole – it can work if you make the hole bigger or the peg smaller, but then you aren’t using your resources efficiently. According to Gartner’s “3 Key Best Practices in Buying Application Testing Services”, the first key activity is verifying the automation framework. Luckily, we have been able to take our own internal IP created from years of expertise and apply to the leading solutions in the market. We have even gone as far as licensing this IP out to QMetry for the creation of their automation framework, but to deliver the best outcome for our customer we’re equally at home with all the leading automation solutions on the market – Appium, Cucumber, MicroFocus, Perfecto, Protractor, Ranorex, IBM, Tricentis and Selenium. This helps clients scale their automation efforts and significantly cut time-to-market.
Result Analysis Stage: Meaningful feedback
Real-time reporting is key to effective future testing. Detailed root-cause analysis, for example, and the insight that can be captured from quality and build metrics are vital parts of the feedback loop that enhances the continuous testing process. Using a real-time dashboard to monitor and measure the output generated by the correct test automation will pay dividends in further optimizing the overall test cycle.
As you can see, Continuous Testing is key to remaining competitive because of the many benefits, but to realize these benefits organizations need to enable the right systems, processes, engineering, and automation to be put in place. If you have questions or are experiencing challenges with time-to-market, efficiency, quality, or cost, we’d love to work with you to pinpoint how you can get Continuous Testing working for you. Submit the form below to contact us.
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