How to assess and improve DevOps testing

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Agile has become the norm for the software development industry, and it is expected to play a large part in shaping the market for the foreseeable future. Numerous subsets and supporting practices have emerged, including DevOps, which focuses on bringing together two disparate teams for the betterment of product quality and efficiency. This initiative builds on agile's emphasis of people over processes and nurturing teams to be a well-oiled collaboration, rather than siloed parts.

DevOps obviously has a lot of jurisdiction over a project as it's being created and pushed out to production, but it also must work well with quality assurance professionals and agile testing methodologies. How can teams evaluate their DevOps testing and lead to meaningful advancement in their processes? Let's take a closer look at assessing and improving DevOps testing.

Examine current processes

In order to go through any sort of evolution, you first have to understand where your practices are currently at. One of the best ways to do this is by meeting up with stakeholders, developers, testers and operations engineers, according to StickyMinds contributors Bob Aiello and Leslie Sachs. Asking these individuals what they feel is being done well and what isn't could provide crucial insight from the people that are intimately involved with these projects. Your assessment should also involve key practices required in the industry, such as compliance with laws and other established regulations.  

Aiello and Sachs noted that there are a few areas that are more likely to see problems than others. These include source code management, environment monitoring and distinguishing the difference between DevOps continuous delivery and continuous deployment. Test automation integration will be a critical asset to many teams as they seek to support and improve upon agile environments and DevOps testing initiatives.

"DevOps will fail without comprehensive automated application testing," Aiello and Sachs wrote. "DevOps should enable your organization to deploy code very quickly — even for large systems — on a daily or even hourly basis. Robust, comprehensive automated testing is required to avoid inefficient manual tests that slow down DevOps functions."

Use DevOps capabilities

When it comes time to start making improvements, use DevOps principles to help the team achieve its goals. This not only will boost quality, but also enhance testing capabilities across the board. Gallop noted that by bringing once disparate entities together, QA will be much easier to predict with the proper tooling, cooperation, and data collection. DevOps teams also have the unique advantage of using these collaboration opportunities for earlier problem detection and defect resolution. Eventually, DevOps teams should be able to release software on demand without sacrificing the quality that users expect and build an atmosphere of centralized information to create better understanding across all stakeholders.

Understand QA's role

DevOps is a major shift from the traditional development efforts of the past, and it makes sense that QA is not going to have the same type of role or responsibilities that it's always held. DevOps requires a high level of coordination across every part, and that includes testing. Software Testing Help contributor Aniket Deshpande noted that QA will be expected to align with DevOps practices by automating as many test cases as possible and achieving nearly 100 percent code coverage. Here, it will be integral to understand that not all tests should be automated and that QA will have to give careful scrutiny in this assessment in order to improve DevOps testing efforts.

"To achieve such speed and agility, it is important to automate all the testing processes and configure them to run automatically when the deployment is completed on the QA environment," Deshpande wrote. "Specialized automation testing tools and continuous integration tools are used to achieve this integration. This also necessitates the building of a mature automation testing framework through which one can quickly script new test cases."

DevOps has already made a name for itself across the software development industry, but how are teams to know if their setups are performing correctly? By following these tips, keeping an eye on metrics and utilizing test management tools, DevOps teams can assess their strengths and weaknesses as well as improve upon their testing efforts. This will be an important effort to pursue as more organizations go agile with their operations.