A Fundamental Guide to Continuous

In this guide, you′ll learn how to streamline your software lifecycle, accelerate feedback, and enhance software quality continuously. Discover best practices, strategies, and tools to integrate continuous testing into your software release workflow.


What is Continuous Testing?

Process Of Continuous Integration

Continuous Testing is an automated testing that is implemented with an objective to provide quality related feedback continuously, at every step of the software development life cycle (SDLC). Via continuous testing, after every change that is checked in by a developer - a set of automated tests are executed and feedback on the quality of the build is provided in terms of the test results.

As modern application development requires quick and quality releases, implementing continuous testing along with continuous integration ensures quality checks at every stage of development and avoids any unwanted bugs during the later stages of development.

Under this methodology, the testing team aims to achieve continuous quality and improvement by testing the software early and more often.

The idea is to remove all the bottlenecks by executing the right tests at the right stages of SDLC. Incorporating continuous testing in an organization is not easy but with the help of a proper strategy and tools, the QA team can ensure a smooth integration in the process.

Testing is of many types and is broadly dependent on the software product or application type being built. However, one aspect remains the same - testing often and testing better. While this can be done in many automated ways, testing applications through data has remained the most widely accepted choice.

The information throughout will help you seek knowledge on what we call Data-Driven Testing (DDT).

Continuous Testing Definition: Key Points

  • The main objective of continuous testing is to achieve continuous improvement in software quality
  • Continuous Testing helps in assessing business risk coverage
  • Continuous Testing gives clarification on the risk of the code and whether it should be forwarded through the delivery pipeline or not
  • Continuous Testing can be easily integrated into the software delivery pipeline
  • Continuous Testing ensures that testing is carried out within the development process rather than at the end
  • Continuous Testing builds a safety net for an organization that help protect the user experience
  • Continuous Testing includes end-to-end testing to assess the end-user experience.
  • Continuous Testing is a process which involves continuous optimization of a test suite to maximize business risk coverage.
  • Continuous Testing gives a faster and efficient way of working among different departments in an organization.
  • Continuous Testing should be broad to easily catch the impact of change in a software application on its functionality.
  • Continuous Testing avoids unwanted delays and issues in the software release.
  • Continuous Testing helps evaluate each and every layer of architecture at many stages of the software delivery process.
  • Continuous Testing involves actionable feedback for each stage of the delivery pipeline.
  • Continuous Testing demands a stable test environment and valid test input data for every test run.
Process Of Continuous Integration

Continuous Testing Is Change

Continuous Testing has a significant impact in enhancing the scope of testing in software organizations.

With Continuous Testing, QA can test early, test more often, test faster and automate the testing process. Continuous Testing needs to be data driven which makes it faster, better, and cheaper.

It reduces a lot of effort put in by the developers and testers in deploying and monitoring QA programs.

Continuous Testing is a modern technique of testing which depends on actionable feedback at each stage of the software delivery cycle unlike the old techniques where the feedback system is irregular and test data management is not defined properly.

This benefit of Continuous Testing helps increase the development and deployment efficiency, without making any compromise on the quality, speed and costs.

As the consumer requirements and industry dynamics are changing continuously, companies demand from testing and hence this demand can be easily fulfilled with the integration of Continuous Testing in the QA process.

Importance of Continuous Testing in DevOps

Implementing Continuous Testing in DevOps can be beneficial in many ways. Some of the benefits are listed below:

  • Continuous Testing helps in evaluating business risks at each and every stage of the development.
  • Continuous Testing can easily adapt to the changing customer requirements.
  • Continuous Testing ensures the safety of the application from unexpected changes.
  • With Continuous Testing, testing is embedded during the early stages of the development process.
  • Continuous Testing can reduce the time and resources spent on finding and fixing of defects with the help of defect prevention strategies.
  • Continuous Testing helps provide all types of feedback at the right stage of the delivery pipeline.

Continuous Testing Methodologies

Continuous Testing methodologies aim to provide rapid feedback on the quality of the software being developed, enabling teams to detect and fix issues quickly.

Here are some key methodologies and practices associated with Continuous Testing:

Enhancing Quality Throughout the Lifecycle:

  • Shift-Left Testing: This strategy prioritizes early testing, integrating tests into the development process. This helps catch bugs and issues early on, minimizing costly fixes later.

Early Detection of Issues:

  • Smoke Testing: These quick and basic tests verify core functionalities work as expected. They are ideal for early builds to identify major flaws before further development.

Focused Testing for Specific Areas:

  • Unit Testing: These tests isolate and test individual software units (functions, classes) to ensure they perform as designed. They help catch logic errors early in development.
  • Performance Testing: This assesses an application′s ability to handle expected load and user traffic. It helps identify bottlenecks and ensures the system performs well under pressure.

Ensuring System Functionality:

  • Integration Testing: This verifies different software modules interact seamlessly and function as a cohesive whole. It identifies issues arising from communication between modules.
  • Functional Testing: This ensures the software behaves as per its specifications and user requirements. It focuses on verifying core functionalities to deliver the intended value.

Verifying User Experience:

  • Usability Testing: This evaluates how easy and intuitive the user interface is for target users. It helps identify areas for improvement in user interaction and navigation.

Maintaining Stability:

  • Regression Testing: This ensures bug fixes or code changes haven′t introduced unintended regressions (i.e., new issues). It involves re-running existing tests after modifications.

Real-World Validation:

  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Real users or a representative group evaluate the software in a simulated real-world environment. This helps identify usability issues and ensures the application meets user expectations.

Continuous Integration and Automation:

Continuous testing methodologies often leverage continuous integration (CI) practices. CI automates the building, testing, and deployment pipeline, enabling frequent testing and feedback loops. Additionally, many tests within this spectrum can be automated using testing frameworks, further streamlining the process.

By strategically applying these methodologies throughout the SDLC, development teams can deliver high-quality software that meets user needs and performs well in production.

Continuous Testing & Testing Automation

Continuous Testing is considered as highly valuable by the organizations as it helps in timely detection and fixing of bugs and critical issues but it can’t be achieved without automation.

Automating helps in finding bugs as early as possible as it tests every time the code is integrated.Automated continuous testing can help an organization save time, effort and money.

WithAutomated continuous testing , software organizations can meet the changing customer demands easily.

If organizations plan to move towards efficient continuous delivery from continuous integration then investing in a good automation tool is a must. Automating test scenarios helps save time, money and achieve increased agility and ability to respond.

Continuous Testing, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery & DevOps

Continuous Testing is a methodology which aims to continuous quality and improvement in the software development life cycle to mitigate the business risks.

Continuous Integration (CI) is a practice which aims to simplify the process of a software release. It focuses on checking whether the main application is working properly after the new commits are integrated into the main application.

Continuous Delivery (CD) on the other hand can be considered as an extension to the Continuous Integration as it focuses on making the new changes reach customers quickly and in a sustainable way. Continuous Delivery gives an option to automate the software release process and deploy the software at any frequency, be it daily, weekly, monthly or as per the business requirement, with just a click.

Overall, DDT revolves around how efficiently an Continuous Delivery and DevOps are two related yet distinct methodologies. They share common traits with a common goal to reach the market faster for new releases. However, the goal of DevOps is to merge the roles of a developer with an Operational guy in order to achieve common goals whereas Continuous Delivery works to ensure that any version of an application can be released with just a click.

Why You Need to Test Continuously

Continuous Testing can help businesses create high value via high integration level and automation of testing and deployment. By adopting the next generation Continuous Testing and test automation, the delivery teams can accelerate their releases along with maintaining high quality.

Here are some reasons why you need to test continuously:

  • With Continuous Testing and test automation , organizations can efficiently respond to the market changes as updates are developed faster and released more frequently.
  • Deploying Continuous Testing in the software development cycle makes sure that the development team gets faster feedback at each development stage which helps in getting faster releases with fewer defects.
  • Continuous Testing identifies and assesses all the potential errors very early at the initial development stage before the integration which helps in improving test coverage.
  • Continuous Testing plays an important role in giving error-free outputs by identifying and eliminating those errors early in the development cycle. This helps in reducing the overall costs of fixing the errors.
  • Continuous Testing can easily be integrated with the existing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipeline without the need of any new tool.

With Continuous Testing, organizations can make their software delivery more agile with high quality and fast releases.

The 3 Fundamentals of Continuous Testing

  • People : Each person in a team has a unique responsibility in the delivery pipeline for which he/she must possess the required skills. Transparent and regular communication between the members is the key to success.
  • Process : Process remains the key in Continuous Testing. Instead of automating everything, focus should be on test automation, code quality, stability, efficiency and providing timely feedback to the developers.
  • Technology :Technology should be leveraged to get a stable testing environment and build proper alignment between the team’s skills and software tools.

Continuous Testing Resources & Tools

Mastering continuous testing is not an easy task as it brings a lot of concepts in the software delivery. Using the right tools and resources for Continuous Testing would make a significant impact on the success of your software testing and software delivery.

Testsigma provides test infrastructure, various devices, Operating Systems, and browsers that are suitable for most of the teams. The tool supports and is easily integrated with several commonly used Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery tools such as Jira Slack etc.

Some more tools can be found in the article Continous testing tools List.

Automated Testing vs Continuous Testing

Continuous Testing is different from automated testing. Continuous Testing is a process of executing automated tests to get feedback on the business risks associated with the release of a software. automated testing , on other hand, is a process of executing specific tests via automation rather than doing it manually.

Both Continuous Testing and automated testing significant impact on DevOps and Continuous Delivery in their own unique way but together they can have a larger impact on the overall performance of an application.

Continuous Testing is considered as highly valuable by the organizations as it helps in timely detection and fixing of bugs and critical issues but it can’t be achieved without automation. Automating helps in finding bugs as early as possible as it tests every time the code is integrated. Automation continuous testing can help an organization save time, effort and money.

With automation continuous testing, the software organizations can meet the changing customer demands easily. Organizations should consider investing in good automation tools if they are planning to take delivery teams beyond the basic continuous integration towards the path of continuous delivery. Automating test scenarios helps save time, money and achieve increased agility and ability to respond.

Automation Continuous Testing not only helps in reducing test cycle times but also in improving the cost of testing per deployment as it demands lesser manpower for running redundant tests multiple times and helps give timely feedback to the developers thereby improving the build quality.

DevTestOps in Continuous Testing

Since its inception over a decade ago, DevOps has become a critical element in the success of many companies. But the quality of releases, feature delivery, and failure recovery was still not getting much attention. As a result, the concept of DevTestOps was introduced to focus on continuous testing at each and every step of the development process in combination with DevOps. Technically, DevTestOps is a combination of DevOps and Continuous Testing, which involves testing early, often, and throughout the software delivery pipeline. It follows a set of practices focused on reducing the time between committing a change to a system and the change being implemented into normal production, keeping the quality in check. Today, the majority of the organizations are adopting the shift left approach in testing to move testing earlier in the software development process.

DevTestOps is gradually becoming a new philosophy for agile teams as it helps in bridging the gap between developers, testers, and operations engineers. Most of the companies have now realized that DevOps without Continuous Testing can lead to the deployment of buggy software into the production environment. This is the core reason why DevTestOps is gaining popularity among the organizations to facilitate the culture of cross-collaboration among all the teams involved in the software development, including developers, testers, operations, business analysts, and project managers. This helps in significantly enhancing the speed of delivering high-quality software.

How to do Continuous Testing

Continuous Testing should be used at every stage of the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipeline by setting up an automated test suite. This test suite should automate all important test cases and should be executed whenever there are any changes, merges or releases in the code. This helps in reducing the time and effort on testing by running tests at a specific point rather than running every test at once.

Continuous Delivery can’t be done without using Continuous Testing. It gives best results when the most recent build is used in an isolated environment. Use containerization to replicate code outside the main code repository and make your continuous testing faster by using the best tools. Eliminate blocks and reduce wait times by providing complete test environments as test environments are critical in achieving Continuous Testing.

Process Of Continuous Integration

Steps to Perform Continuous Testing:

  • Create the test environment
  • Perform parallel performance testing

Key Enablers for Continuous Testing

Process Of Continuous Integration

Here are certain enablers which software organizations can apply to fully achieve Continuous Testing:

  • Keep the focus of testing to find bugs early in the development process to save both time and money.

  • Create a Continuous Integration pipeline and automation around your build to get the maximum from the Continuous Testing efforts.

  • Get rapid feedback within the DevOps pipeline.

  • Get your application into a container such as Docker, Mesos, or LXC which allows testing anywhere.

  • Manage your test data effectively. Pay attention to the data required for each test while designing it and make sure to tie that data to each test.

  • Remember to test early and often as you won’t be able to test continuously if you don’t start it early.

Benefits of Continuous testing

Here are some of the key benefits of Continuous Testing:

  • Continuous Testing ensures that almost all the errors and issues are found before being released to production.

  • Continuous Testing’s objective is to test early and test often throughout the development, delivery, testing and deployment cycles.

  • Continuous Testing helps achieve continuous quality and improvement.

  • Continuous Testing can easily and smoothly be integrated into DevOps processes.

  • There are many tools available in the market which supports Continuous Testing which makes the testing process faster, easier, and more reliable.

  • Continuous Testing helps in bringing complete transparency between different departments in an organization by eliminating gaps between the development, testing and operational teams.

  • Continuous Testing fasten up the process from delivery to production and helps get faster software releases.

  • Continuous Testing identifies and fixes potential business risks by a significant margin before they actually become big issues.

  • Continuous Testing helps gain customer loyalty by accomplishing continuous quality and improvement.

Challenges of continuous testing

While Continuous Testing has a lot of benefits for the organizations opting it, there are certain challenges faced by the QA teams while using Continuous Testing which must be taken into consideration:

  • The development and testing teams have to undergo cultural shifts in case traditional processes are being maintained.

  • Those developers who don’t generally get into the process of integrating their code on a regular basis may create defect issues with non-compatible code and duplicated coding efforts.

  • Lack of test environments is one of the biggest challenges with Continuous Testing. QA teams need to ensure that the test environments work within the code repository base to get a seamless testing for the latest available code.

  • To implement Continuous Testing, strong discipline is required among the test automation teams throughout the software development cycle to ensure smooth flow of processes.

  • The challenge to overcome with the low testing throughput and bulk of unexecuted tests in the pipeline due to lack of proper tools to automate the process.

How to Accomplish Continuous Testing

Though Continuous Testing has become a standard practice now, organizations face some unique challenges while accomplishing Continuous Testing.

Here are some steps to consider for successfully implementing Continuous Testing:

  • Clearly define test cases and create test scripts early to enable Continuous Testing at all the stages of production and avoid wastage of time due to lack of clear requirements.

  • Save time, money and resources by optimizing the testing processes and test coverage. Test only what you need to test and avoid unnecessary testing to maximize coverage.

  • Shift-left your testing, i.e. perform testing earlier in the software development lifecycle with the help of test automation. Then shift-right your testing, i,e, continue to test through and after production along with continuous monitoring.

  • Provide complete test environments to eliminate unnecessary blocks and reduce wait times.

  • Get robust test data with real-world characteristics to avoid delays in software releases.

Keys to a Continuous Testing Framework

The foundation of a Continuous Testing Framework comprises certain key elements which work together to make a strong strategy and get a fully optimized testing process.

  • Make a cultural commitment in the team towards collaboration and quality for effective Continuous Testing. Both the developers and testers should have a mutual understanding of the basic quality and efficiency levels to maintain throughout the development process.
  • Apply a broad range of tests throughout the testing process which includes unit testing, integrated testing, regression testing and production testing.
  • Scale your test environment to run tests in parallel. Make use of a cloud-based, cross-browser testing platform to reduce test times as much as possible.
  • Integrate analytics within the testing process which can generate right insights, throw light on the key functional issues and to check the consistency of the test results. A layer of analytic insights gives the developers a better understanding of the entire quality picture and initiates the required improvements in time.