Shift Left Testing: Improve Your QA Process

Organizations across the globe have implemented DevOps model of software development to keep pace with the rapidly changing market dynamics. However, they are still struggling to keep pace with their digital transformation initiatives with testing being the biggest bottleneck. As per Gitlab Devsecops 2021 survey, testing is still the biggest bottleneck in achieving continuous delivery of software.

The reason being software testing is still one of the most manually intensive processes. Although organizations have embraced DevOps, they’re still highly dependent on manual testing. It means that testing is separated from development rather than baked into the development process. The disadvantage with this approach is that testing is considered as an end part of development activities. When testing is performed late, bugs are also found late. To fix them, you need a lot of rework, redesign and rethinking of strategy. This adversely impacts the time to market.

This problem can be addressed by incorporating shift left testing principle. The “shift left” testing is all about pushing testing to earlier stages in the development pipeline. This approach involves identification and resolution of bugs as early as possible in the development process. With shift left testing, you not only improve the software quality but also keeps your software development cycle within timelines.

How to Implement Shift Left Testing Approach?

Let’s find out how you should implement shift left testing approaches.

  • Coding standards: The first and foremost thing is your development team should bring in some coding standards so that all the developers must follow the same guidelines and remain on the same page. This practice will ensure high quality build.
  • Implement testing during the development phase: You need to integrate testing during development. For this, the testing team must be involved from the beginning. Testers should be involved during the requirement analysis and gathering phase so that they’ve better understanding of the product. The QAs should have proper understanding of what bugs would likely to emerge and what would be scenarios of user journey to create better tests.
  • Embrace test automation: Since shift left testing is all about incorporating testing during development, you need to bring in test automation. Incorporating automation testing solutions will ensure quick feedback as redundant but necessary steps will get automated to speed up the testing process.

Benefits of Shift Left Testing

  • Reduce time to market: If you’re into the IT industry, you must be aware that big software projects like ERP implementations have a poor reputation of being within timelines and budgets. By incorporating shift left testing strategy, you automate some of the repetitive but necessary tasks in testing, remove opacity and speed up innovation. 
  • Low costs: According to IBM the cost of fixing bugs in production is 15X than fixing during the design phase. Shift left testing helps you to identify and fix bugs early in the design phase. Thus, this will significantly bring down the development costs. 
  • Improved quality: To implement shift left testing approach, you need to set up coding standards and test automation. Coding standards ensure high quality codes while test automation considers more parameters while designing test cases than are humanly possible to ensure adequate testing. Test automation is a more logical way to check uncertainties or risks.
  • Enable DevOps: Since DevOps is all about releasing early, shift left testing ensures faster feedback loop with the help of automation. You can build faster, run more tests and roll out updates faster.