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InfoQ Homepage News Reliable Continuous Testing Requires Automation

Reliable Continuous Testing Requires Automation

Automation makes it possible to build a reliable continuous testing process that covers the functional and non-functional requirements of the software. Preferably this automation should be done from the beginning of product development to enable quick release and delivery of software and early feedback from the users.

Alexander Velinov spoke about continuous testing and automation at QA Challenge Accepted 2022.

We see more and more organizations trying to adopt the DevOps mindset and way of working. Velinov stated that software engineers, including the QA engineers, have to care not only about how they develop, test, and deliver their software, but also about how they maintain and improve their live products. They have to think more and more about the end user.

Velinov mentioned that a significant requirement is and has always been to deliver software solutions quickly to production, safely, and securely. That’s impacting the continuous testing, as the QAs have to adapt their processes to rely mainly on automation for quick and early feedback, he said. They also have to develop and introduce more automated validations like performance, security, and accessibility, he argued.

Automated testing in the continuous delivery process has always been the key to delivering quickly and with high confidence, Velinov said; we cannot respond to the market needs competitively if we don’t have a continuous testing process in place.

Velinov advised to start building all the repetitive and reliable processes sooner rather than later, preferably at the beginning of their product development:

It requires a great level of discipline where the team can simultaneously complete the development of both features and the required automated tests. It’s not an easy thing to do, but in the end, it will make a difference and enable the quick release process.

Of course, to deploy with confidence requires having a good and mature delivery pipeline, Velinov concluded.

InfoQ interviewed Alexander Velinov about continuous testing and automation.

InfoQ: What are the trends that are impacting continuous testing in the enterprise world?

Alexander Velinov: Nowadays we see more and more enterprises trying to solve complex issues with their products. A lot of companies are migrating to microservices, micro-frontends, and as a whole to an event-driven architecture, so that they can decouple their code, manage it in smaller chunks, and improve the maintainability, development, and delivery.

All this requires a very good level of automation, and this automation is now part of every single step in the process of development, testing, delivery, and operations.

InfoQ: What’s your view on continuous testing? What’s needed, and why?

Velinov: I’ve worked with organizations that needed months to deliver new relatively simple features for their live products. A high percentage of this time was spent on the testing process, which was taking weeks, due to a lack of proper automation testing coverage of both functional and non-functional requirements. The mature automated delivery process and pipelines were also partially or completely missing. These organizations typically were losing competitive advantage and some market share, because of this.

InfoQ: What’s your advice for building mature delivery pipelines?

Velinov: Maturity comes with time and experience. But implementing most functional and non-functional tests as part of the delivery pipelines helps you get closer.

Of course, this is not enough. I know companies that have a lot of automated jobs, but don’t have the continuous process set up. My recommendation is to identify your must-have tests and checks for each environment (try shifting to the left of course) and enforce them in your pipeline (fail your pipeline if the corresponding tests/scans are failing).

Prevent deploying to a higher environment without having a 100% pass rate of your automated test if your quality gates are not met, if you have a performance degradation, or if you have new security vulnerabilities and issues. In time, this will make your process mature and will help you release with confidence.

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