Shift-Left Testing for Enhancing Software Quality

Agile and DevOps have changed the traditional ways of software development and software QA testing approaches by making the process continuous — continuous testing, continuous development, and continuous deployment. This implies that software testing is no longer an isolated activity that begins post-development; rather it occurs on a continuous basis, right from inception – the Shift Left approach.

Early introduction of the testing process offers flexibility to the development team to implement dynamic changes on a regular basis throughout software development based on testers’ reviews and reports. This assists in early detection and removal of bugs. Additionally, this approach is critical to continuous innovation and delivering products faster to market.

Let us focus on some of the practices that can help get the most from the Shift Left Testing approach.

Best Practices for Getting the Most from Shift Left Testing

  • Coalesce Development & Project Management with Testing: Clarify where and at what stages testing must be done. This will help estimate the actual time and effort required, avoiding any unnecessary duplication during execution.
  • Establish Quality Standards & Controls for different SDLC stages: This helps to determine if the development process aligns well with the QA & software testing process and to also check and fix any deviations from the SDLC promptly.
  • Make Quality a Shared Responsibility: Increased collaboration between software testing and development is essential to ensure that the responsibility of ensuring quality does not entirely fall upon the testing team. This implies that both testers and developers can sometimes take on each other’s roles during the SDLC.
  • Adopt Software Test Automation: Automation helps with better integration of processes and leads to faster delivery. Developers can focus on the task to build the larger automation testing framework, while testers can better focus their energy on bug detection.
  • Persuade Testers to Learn Basic Programming Skills: Most of the automation testing part can be left to developers. However, some amount of coding knowledge is useful in testing, especially when minor changes need to be introduced in the code, for dependency on the developers can thus be reduced.
  • Regular Auditing: Auditing critical code and tasks at different stages of the SDLC ensures that the application is bug-free and ready to move on to the next phase.

Advantages of the Shift-Left Testing Approach

  • Superior Design: Bottlenecks, roadblocks, and possible performance failures are detected early on in the SDLC, leading to a better design.
  • Early Bug Fixes: Early bug detection helps to tackle the bugs early-on in the development lifecycle, making the product cost effective and more reliable.
  • Enhanced Test Coverage: Since the tests get executed right from the initial stages of the development process, in a way, the software gets tested for each and every functionality and performance, in turn ensuring superior quality.
  • Need for Fewer Resources & Reduced Time to Market: Early defect detection assists in faster delivery using fewer resources— less time, money and effort, compared to what may be required at a later stage in the SDLC.
  • Effective Collaboration: As the testers get involved right from the beginning of the development cycle, it leads to better team dynamics and reduced differences, resulting in better collaboration among teams.
  • Superior End Product: The approach helps in delivering the product as per the market requirements— offering speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness. Early bug detection, shared responsibility and increased test coverage — all lead to a superior end product, in compliance with the best of software quality assurance practices.

Concluding Thoughts

Businesses endorse software testing approaches that bring in speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness along with reducing risks. Shift-left testing has thus gained a lot of preference; wherein testing occurs in parallel to the development process. When implemented aptly, it can reduce costs and risks associated with app failures by enabling detection of bugs early-on in the SDLC. This reduces the rework required at a later stage, allowing businesses to be more competitive and productive.

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