Shift Left vs Shift Right: Top Key Differences

August 9, 2023Kiruthika Devaraj
Shifting Gears The Differences between Shift Left vs Shift Right

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In simple terms, shift left refers to moving testing and quality assurance earlier in the development process, while shift right focuses on testing and monitoring after the software is released. In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between Shift Left vs Shift Right and why they matter.

What is the Difference Between Shift Left and Shift Right?

Let me explain you in simple terms.

Shift-left testing starts testing earlier in the development cycle before the code is written. This type of testing narrows the gap between writing code and finding bugs. The goal of shift left testing is to find and fix bugs quickly and reduce the cost of fixing them.

Shift-right testing is the testing process later in the development cycle after the product is deployed. This type of testing focuses on verifying functionality and usability and finding and resolving customer-reported issues. Shift-right testing aims to improve the user experience and ensure the product is bug-free before releasing updates.

Test Automation Using Shift Left and Shift Right.

Use of test automation when you shift your testing left, or right depends on the state of your application and the state of your testing. When shifting your testing left, test automation would help if you have tests executed repeatedly or very complex tests that would give better results upon automation. The same applies to shifting your testing right. Automating your tests for shift right makes better sense as, at this time, the application is fully developed and is expected to be more stable.

Let’s discuss the tools that can be used for automating your shift left tests and shift right tests.

Shift Left vs Shift Right – Tools Used

Shift-Left Testing Tools:

  • Testsigma: Testsigma is an AI-powered automation testing tool that supports the Shift Left approach. The benefit of using Testsigma is it allows you to write test cases right from the design phase. So, whether your features are conclusive or not — you can start working on your testing approach even without the availability of the application or software. You can always add test steps without element details and fill them up later when the details are available. Testsigma, a codeless tool, is very easy and efficient for test creation. This helps you speed up your testing process many times.

  • TestLeft: As the name suggests, SmartBear’s TestLift is specifically made for Shift Left testing. With this tool, you can start testing right from the design phase; as soon as the UI features are ready, you can automate your tests.
  • JUnit: A unit testing framework developers use to write and run repeatable tests.

Shift-Right Testing Tools:

  • Testsigma: Testsigma can also automate shift-right tests for efficient and effective test automation and execution.

Shift Left vs Shift Right – A Summary.

Here is the summarized table:

CriteriaShift LeftShift Right
Definition Refers to shifting the focus of operations and tasks to the left of the traditional technology stack to develop or maintain software. Refers to shifting the focus from manual tasks and more technical tasks. 
Context Usually used when accessing & automating activities that are essential to producing software. Usually used when tasks consist of intensive repeatable processes.  
Benefits Allow for quicker and more efficient software labor costs.  Doing tasks through automating the processes can lead to a development cycle and reduces the increase in accuracy compared to manual labor and reduces people needed for a project.   
Impact   Reduced costs through automation and better processes.Increased efficiency in completing tasks by automating repeatable accuracy when developing software. 

Which One to Choose, Shift Left or Shift Right, or Both?

Alright, we’re all pondering whether to go left or right. Here are some tips to help you pick the one that’s right for you. It depends on the scale of the test and the specific needs and preferences of the organization. If you want to focus primarily on the early detection of critical bugs or other software development problems, then “Shift-Left” testing is your best choice; by performing tests earlier on in the development cycle, you can detect and eliminate problems more quickly and this can save money and other resources in the long term.

On the other hand, if you are more concerned with verifying the correctness of the application as it is being deployed, then a “Shift-Right” approach would be more appropriate; by postponing tests to later stages of the deployment pipeline, you can ensure that features and behaviors are sufficiently tested in the environments where they are being used. In some cases, it may be beneficial to use a combination of both approaches; the key is understanding your particular needs and objectives and selecting and refining your testing strategies accordingly.


So here’s the deal – there are two operations before you: shift left and shift right. Each has its pros and cons. Shift Left is about catching defects early in the development process, while Shift Right focuses on testing in production to ensure your app works well in the real world. It really depends on what your organization needs and wants. You must consider your company culture, development processes, and business goals to determine your best approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the shift left positive or negative?

Shift left is a positive operation.

What is an example of shift left testing and shift right testing?

Shift Left Testing: This testing operation occurs early in the software development life cycle. An example of this could involve unit and integration testing performed by developers and QA specialists before handing off the project to operations or the customer. Shift right testing is a testing approach that moves testing activities to the right of the development cycle, meaning it starts later in the process. An example would be having the customer perform user acceptance testing at the end of the development cycle to ensure the product meets their needs and requirements.


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