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Quality Assurance & Software Testing in the DevOps World

Aliya Khan

More than a process, DevOps is a cultural movement and a mindset. It strengthens and supports communication between software developers and IT Operations to enhance the speed at which applications are developed and deployed. Before DevOps application development, teams were responsible for compiling business requirements for a software program and writing code. The quality assurance and software testing was conducted in a separate development environment. If the specifications were met, later the code was released for operations to deploy. The deployment teams were further fragmented into groups like networking and database.

The problem with this process was that:

  • Development teams were often unaware of QA and Ops issues that prevented the program from working expectedly.
  • QA and Ops were working across several features and had a little context of the business objective and value of the software.
  • Each group had opposing goals that lead to incompetence and blame-game when something went wrong.

DevOps emerged as a solution to these challenges by building collaborative cross-functional teams. These teams together shared responsibility for managing the system that runs the software and equipping the software to run on that system with enhanced quality feedback and automation issues.

DevOps provided an improved collaboration between all stakeholders from planning through delivery and automation of the delivery process, thereby enhancing the deployment frequency, achieving faster time-to-market, reducing the failure rate of new releases, cutting the lead time between fixes, and improving mean time to recovery.

How is Software Testing Different in DevOps?

  1. Quality assurance and software testing teams are required to be a part of the technical teams. Moving beyond manual functional testing, testers are required to focus their efforts on automated software testing, and testing strategies.
  2. The quality assurance process needs to be well-documented in order to meet requirements. The responsibility of quality assurance and software testing is not about achieving perfection in software, but to create a satisfying user experience within the given time frame.
  3. Metrics that measure quality assurance and software testing have to be laid down. These metrics should detect software defects early in the development cycle.
  4. Getting specific requirements is crucial in the DevOps world. Quality assurance and software testing teams should proactively get involved in the requirements process to help and guide the development team in the right direction.
  5. In the DevOps world, quality assurance and software testing teams are required to focus more on automated regression testing on critical areas such as key software functionality.
  6. Quality assurance and software testing has to move towards leveraging automated testing tools to automate testing wherever possible.
  7. DevOps also demands a continuous testing process to be integrated into the SDLC. This is needed for a successful continuous delivery process.

DevOps demands seamless communication and collaboration between all departments- development, operations, quality assurance and software testing. DevOps focusses on improving delivery, efficiency, maintainability, predictability, and security by standardizing development environments and automating delivery processes. The DevOps ideals give developers a clearer understanding of the production infrastructure and provide them with more control of the production environment.

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