A successful DevOps testing strategy begins with an agile best practice of Continuous Integration (CI), where developers check their code in a shared repository throughout the day. Each check-in is verified by an automated build, helping teams detect conflicts and errors as soon as possible. These teams can use automation frameworks and CI tools such as Jenkins and Bamboo to automatically build, test, and deploy applications to speed up the release processes even as the requirements change.
When development and operations work together, the cultural shift enables faster and more responsive software applications to meet more frequent deliveries.
An Agile model has four priorities:
- Individuals and interactions above processes and tools
- Working software above comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration
- Following the changes, instead of following a plan
Essentially, Agile takes a testing-first approach as it tests the codes in smaller increments of functionality. It means frequent interaction between IT and the users that aim to meet their changing requirements. Agile offers flexibility that ensures a streamlined SDLC.
DevOps takes it to the next level by extending the cross-functional agile team of software designers, developers, DevOps testers to include the operations team. This inclusion takes the working software to a complete software delivered to the customers.
When you build a continuous, two-way DevOps software pipeline, you’re creating a culture of collaboration that brings different teams together – business analysts, designers, developers, QA, operations, management, etc., as they are all involved in the software delivery. It reduces time, cost, and risk by allowing incremental updates to software applications in production. The teams produce the software in short cycles, which ensures that the software can be released reliably at any time.
The right DevOps testing strategy
While it is true that DevOps can speed up the entire SDLC, it is best to find the right DevOps testing strategy that will suit your business.
A vital element to a DevOps strategy is that all cross-functional team members have equal responsibility for the quality of the product or project. Therefore, testing is also done by the entire team, including DevOps developers, DevOps testers, and operations. In an agile environment, DevOps continuous testing is always on – early, frequently, and after applications are in production.
DevOps Continuous testing is a critical element of the DevOps testing strategy to implement the DevOps pipeline successfully. It is also called shift-left testing and is the practical approach where testing is done earlier in the SDLC to improve quality, shorten the test cycles, and reduce the possibility of software defects entering the production code. DevOps Continuous testing must occur simultaneously with continuous development, integration, delivery, and monitoring.
Continuous development in DevOps aims to build DevOps test automation and is the beginning of a continuous delivery in DevOps pipeline implementation. Test-driven development involves writing the unit tests for each piece of coding even before it is written. TDD helps development analyze each unit’s desired behavior, including inputs, outputs, and potential error conditions. Every new feature developed gets checked into a central code base before the software build, and this code base compiles the source code into binary code.
Continuous integration is when the developers use a version control system and integrate work frequently to the same location. Each change is built and verified to detect any errors in integration continuously. Build automation enables automatic software builds instead of waiting for the developer to invoke a compiler manually.
The continuous delivery pipeline is the last stage when the software has passed all the tests and is released to production. Continuous delivery allows delivery of each new functionality to users almost immediately, and instant feedback to the testing team will enable them to respond promptly. Continuous delivery is also helped with continuous monitoring tools as multiple teams work together.
Best practices in DevOps Continuous testing include:
- Automate only the tests you can
- Use pair tests on manual testing
- Shared responsibility in testing
DevOps is about automating and streamlining the entire SDLC and is more than a methodology or a suite of tools. It uses best practices in software testing strategies.
Automate only the tests you can
DevOps Continuous testing can be challenging when the software application in the pipeline is constantly updated because of continuous integration. A best practice is to use test automation to ensure that much of the risk from CI is eliminated. Continuous integration with automation enables easy testing of each new code iteration.
Use pair tests on manual testing
Pair testing is another best practice and is an efficient way to train team members to keep up with the DevOps pipeline velocity. Knowledge transfer from senior testers is critical to pair testing. A pair from the team testing work simultaneously, with one of the testing and the other analyzing the results. Pair testing does not necessarily mean only the testing team needs to be involved. Agile cross-functional teams allow for pair testing from any two participants taking turns.
Shared responsibility in testing
Shared responsibility is fundamental to DevOps pipelines to ensure high-quality delivery. DevOps Testing is done by the entire team or teams instead of only designated testers or members of the QA team. It is a way to ensure smoother collaboration with customers or stakeholders of the product.
It is a given that establishing a DevOps testing strategy is vital to maintain quality and deliver fast – the former through DevOps continuous testing, CI/ CD, and the latter with automated builds, testing, and provisioning of infrastructure for deployment. Organizations that put the DevOps test automation tools in the DevOps toolchain to use are likely to get the best results.
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