How to choose a tool when shift left testing is your requirement?
Traditional Software Development Life Cycle such as Waterfall Model relied on step by step movement from left to right in SDLC. It started from requirement gathering and moved towards the right one step at a time.
Evidently, testing came last in the cycle and any delays in it resulted in coinciding with the deadlines. That had the testing team stressed out because the bugs should be identified and fixed before the software release.
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What is shift-left testing?
Obviously, the traditional model cannot work with CI/CD and Agile methodologies. There is a need to identify, fix, and retest these bugs early in the development cycle to have good quality software delivered on time.
Shift left testing focuses on shifting the testing activities towards the left of the development cycle, i.e. start early. Here, the testing is in tandem with the planning and designing phase, reviews received are incorporated continuously.
The testing activities are automated. To quicken the automated testing process, organizations rely on automation testing tools. This created a need for automation testing tools that support the shift-left approach fully.
Advantages of shift left testing
- Faster software delivery because the bugs are caught early and fixed early.
- Cost-effective since the cost of bug fixes in later stages of development is always expensive.
- No critical bugs are found during the deployment and production phases, which reduces the pressure on the project team.
- Better quality due to lesser bugs, since the testing period, spans across a longer time frame.
- Better customer feedback and satisfaction.
- Provides better test coverage, due to extensive testing
How to choose a tool when shift-left testing is your requirement
When choosing a tool for shift-left testing, of course, the basic requirement is that shift-left should be explicitly supported. Below is how it can be translated in terms of features:
1. Supports Early Start of Testing
For shorter delivery cycles such as in Agile, the automation tool should allow test development while planning and coding are in progress.
Agile works perfectly fine with the shift-left approach because the development and testing commence almost together. Therefore, the automation tool should support the early start of testing by:
- Static code analysis – Many open source and licensed automation tools available in the market support static code analysis for bugs. You can either use these tools or else integrate them with your existing automation framework or tool.
- Unit tests – The tool should provide the developers with the capability to run the unit tests as soon as new code is created. In a CI/CD environment, this is already taken care of by the automation testing tool because without continuous testing we cannot think of DevOps.
- TDD (Test Driven Development) – In a TDD approach, the tests are created first and then the development starts. The tests are created to define what function the code should perform and are failed first. Then the development starts and it finishes off when the tests are passed. Therefore, if you are using a TDD approach then the tool should support Test Driven Development.
- BDD (Behavior Driven Testing) – Another method to have the testing started early is BDD. Here, the tests are created based on the business requirements rather than the functional requirements. The tests are created in natural languages so that everyone involved in the project can write, understand and execute the tests. One tool that supports this is cucumber.
- For BDD or NLP approach to work, test case creation should be possible without mentioning development-specific details. A tool that supports this approach is Testsigma
Examples of other tools supporting shift-left: Testim, SmartBear TestLeft
2. Collaboration of the whole team in testing should be possible
The lines between developers and testers are blurring slowly. This is because developers are performing testing and testers are learning to code. But then, some division is still there.
When talking about the shift-left testing approach, for its success – active participation from the whole team is essential. The testing responsibilities can not be dumped completely on the testing team’s shoulders. Developers need to proactively take a few responsibilities like unit testing, static testing, etc.
Additionally, the business people, managers, and other non-technical people involved in the project should be able to contribute their knowledge and expectations to testing. For testers to be able to begin testing early, the requirements and design phases also need to be coordinated well with testers.
Therefore, the automation testing tools should support collaboration between different members of the team. One such tool is Testsigma which provides a perfect team collaboration platform. Because it is very easy to learn – other members of the team can easily contribute to test creation and reviews.
3. Test Reviews are Supported
During the shift-left testing approach, providing and incorporating review comments is crucial. The automation testing tool should support reviews on the development and testing activities to improve the whole process. Below are the reviews which testers need to perform in the shift-left approach:
- Requirement review: The testers are involved in product development right from the requirement phase. In this case, the testers are expected to understand and provide their review on any inconsistent, vague, missing requirement. So that clarity can be sought before actually starting the coding and testing.
- Static code review: Code is no longer only a programmer’s responsibility. Testers also need to learn to code so that they can participate proficiently in static code reviews.
- Design review: This is an added responsibility in the tester’s bucket, they need to attend design and architecture-related meetings. If they think there are discrepancies and the design can be better, they need to provide their reviews. Also, after understanding the design they can work on the negative tests to break the functionality.
4. Supports Continuous Feedback
CI/CD needs continuous feedback to support continuous testing and development. It is always wise to invest in an automation tool like Testsigma which provides an all-in-one solution to all of your testing needs.
However, if that is not the case, your automation framework/tool should allow seamless integration with the shift left supportive tool for continuous feedback.
When developers receive continuous feedback/reports on their code, the bugs will be fixed faster and it will immensely enhance the quality of the code. Also, this will ensure faster time-to-market and customer satisfaction.
5. Ease of Use for Developers and Testers
No one in the project team will appreciate a difficult-to-use automation tool. Already they have their share of tasks and responsibilities. In this case, an automation tool that is intuitive and easy to use will help the team perform shift left testing efficiently.
Though we may conceive the concept of shift left as a linear process, in reality, it is not. Software development and its related activities can never be linear, it is a continuous process. Even if it is not about DevOps, testing is a continuous process and there is always a scope for betterment.
But we cannot do without DevOps and Agile in today’s competitive environment. Hence it becomes more crucial to choose a perfect automation tool for helping you shift left with ease and confidence.
Enable your team with a smooth transition to shift-left with Testsigma