The importance of TestOps
Continuous development, integration, testing, and deployment have become the norm for modern application development cycles. With the increased adoption of DevOps principles to accelerate release velocity, testing has shifted left to be embedded in the earlier stages of the development process itself. In addition, microservices-led application architecture has led to the adoption of shift right testing and testing individual services, and releases in the later stages of development, adding further complexity to the way quality is assured.
These challenges underline the need for automated testing. An increasing number of releases on one hand and an equally reducing release cycle times on the other have led to a strong need to exponentially increase the number of automated tests developed sprint after sprint. Although automation test suites reduce testing times, scaling these suites for large application development cycles mandates a different approach.
TestOps for effective DevOps – QA integration
In its most simplistic definition, TestOps brings together development, operations, and QA teams and drives them to collaborate effectively to achieve true CI/CD discipline. Leveraging four core principles across planning, control, management, and insights helps achieve test automation at scale.
- Planning helps the team prioritize key elements of the release and analyze risks affecting QA like goals, code complexity, test coverage, and automatability. It’s an ongoing collaborative process that embeds rapid iteration for incorporating faster feedback cycles into each release.
- Control refers to the ability to perform continuous monitoring and adjust the flow of various processes. While a smaller team might work well with the right documentation, larger teams mandate the need for established processes. Control essentially gives test ownership to the larger product team itself regardless of what aspect of testing is being looked at like functional, regression, performance, or unit testing.
- Management outlines the division of activities among team members, establishes conventions and communication guidelines, and organizes test cases into actionable modules within test suites. This is essential in complex application development frameworks involving hundreds of developers, where continuous communication becomes a challenge.
- Insight is a crucial element that analyses data from testing and uses it to bring about changes that enhance application quality and team effectiveness. Of late, AI/ML technologies have found their way into this phase of TestOps for better QA insights and predictions.
What differentiates TestOps
Unlike existing common notions, TestOps is not merely an integration of testing and operations. The DevOps framework already incorporates testing and collaboration right from the early stages of the development cycle. However, services-based application architecture introduces a wide range of interception points that mandate testing. These, combined with a series of newer test techniques like API testing, visual testing, and load and performance testing, slow down release cycles considerably. TestOps complements DevOps to plan, manage and automate testing across the entire spectrum, right from functional and non-functional testing to security and CI/CD pipelines. TestOps brings the ability to continuously test multiple levels with multiple automation toolsets and manage effectively to address scale.
TestOps effectively integrates software testing skillset and DevOps capability along with an ability to create an automation framework with test analytics and advanced reporting. By managing test-related DevOps initiatives, it can effectively curate the test pipeline, own it, manage effectively to incorporate business changes, and adapt faster. Having visibility across the pipeline through automated reporting capabilities also brings the ability to detect failing tests faster, driving faster business responses.
By sharply focusing on test pipelines, TestOps enables automatic and timely balancing of test loads across multiple environments, thereby driving value creation irrespective of an increase in test demand. Leveraging actionable insights on test coverage, release readiness, and real-time analysis, TestOps ups the QA game through root cause analysis of application failure points, obviating any need to crunch tons of log files for relevant failure information.
Ensure quality at scale with TestOps
Many organizations fail to consistently ensure quality across their application releases in today’s digital-first application development mode. The major reason behind this is their inability to keep up with test coverage of frequent application releases. Smaller teams ensure complete test coverage by building appropriate automation stacks and effectively collaborating with development and operations teams. For larger teams, this means laying down automation processes, frameworks, and toolsets to manage and run test pipelines with in-depth visibility into test operations. For assuring quality at scale, TestOps is mandatory.