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Best Practices for Reducing Testing Time and Effort

DZone's Guide to

Best Practices for Reducing Testing Time and Effort

Learn to improve your testing practices by shifting left, syncing teams, and more.

· DevOps Zone ·
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When it comes to quality assurance and the delivery of software and application changes, every industry has unique challenges that can slow or limit the process. One industry that’s seen it’s fair share of challenges is the aviation industry, where quality is important not only for the airplanes and airports, but for the backend systems that align the majority of airlines across the world – specifically, 280 airlines across 120 countries.

The governing body responsible for regulating airline affairs worldwide for such a large, globally dispersed organization, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), needed to ensure there were no defects affecting its organization whenever change was needed. And unlike some organizations that may have slower seasons due to consumer demand, the aviation industry’s operations are always in demand, and change is a required constant in day-to-day operations.

The IATA needed a way to handle these changes, and keep up with the rapid pace of moving pieces in the airline industry. However, the IATA lacked a standardized testing tool, making application changes for business process updates sometimes complex and tedious. With change so inherently business-driven, it became increasingly difficult to continue to rely on and monitor difficult-to-manage Excel and Word files housing change requests and test planning and execution. Finally, without a centralized platform to manage and view testing status, application change delivery, and testing were considered both costly and time-consuming.

More and more, this seems to be the case with enterprise IT companies – and not just the aviation industry. Overall, enterprise IT is moving toward implementing agility, which means companies need to adopt modern ALM solutions that are collaborative enough for their globally dispersed stakeholders and teams – business, development, QA and release teams – and which offer end-to-end visibility in real time or near real time. Here are a few ways to best approach finding a solution that works to ensure any enterprise can be truly Agile and ensure change management is handled smoothly.

Find a Solution for Technical and Non-Technical Users

Sure, the IT guy can understand and handle business application changes and updates, but it’s important that non-technical and business employees also understand the changes taking place. To meet delivery with quality, IT and business need to work together to enable the right changes without compromising business process quality. It’s important that enterprise IT teams find a solution that can strategically align demand streams with the overall business strategy. If they do align, this ensures that both tech and non-tech users alike can get the visibility they need into ongoing projects, features, and requirements that are clearly lined up with the value provided. This cross-functional collaboration helps accelerate test execution, so everyone wins.

Ensure Your Platform Provides Real-Time Insights

No one wants to be left scratching their heads trying to figure out the root of a problem when something goes wrong. Built-in notifications and real-time dashboards can help provide full test visibility and tracking at the test and business process level. Not only will this help manage the overall testing process, but the real-time insights will ensure the platform can provide teams with the documentation and tracking they need for an audit. Business and IT teams also now have the information and details in place to meet compliance needs, and internal and external quality standards.

Implement Shift-Left Delivery

Because DevOps teams are often focused on accelerating releases while reducing risk, many companies have started to implement a Shift Left mentality. Shift Left for the testing process means enterprises are actively implementing testing and integration much earlier in the development process. Rather than scramble just before updates are released, this ensures IT teams can address any issues early and find a solution to meet that need. While this is now becoming a far more common approach to testing, it’s important to manage risk early with ongoing impact analysis, code quality review, risk-based testing and real-time risk assessments. Ideally, development teams should find a way to address testing so that it’s conducted in conjunction with development. Doing so will ensure testing time is greatly reduced given code is already defined as “ready to test” in adherence to predefined Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) standards.

Unite the Users, Regardless of Location

Give your dispersed teams a way to sync around the test scope so they can gain a comprehensive view into the delivery risk and quality while factoring in scope, time, and quality. As a result, teams can better map tests and defects to business change requests and development requirements. This will not only help to reduce the amount spent on change requests but will increase quality and business assurance for all change.

By employing these best practices, the IATA successfully upgraded its outdated systems on-time and under budget. The organization also shortened project duration and effort by more than 50% (2,394 to 1,139 hours – which was a savings of 1,255 hours). Due to the hours saved and more efficient work practices, the IATA significantly reduced disruption to its day-to-day business, especially in comparison to a traditional project.

And while the IATA is just one example, these best practices are a great place to start. Here’s a quick breakdown of what enterprises should remember:

  • Find a solution that anyone can understand – and one that allows you to visualize and manage the ongoing requests development teams receive in one place, with visibility and traceability into assigned projects and scheduled releases.
  • Ensure the solution can provide a business process-centric approach with complete test management and execution; manage risk early with impact analysis, code quality review, risk-based testing, and transparency with real-time risk.
  • Shift Left isn’t just a catch phrase – implement it now so that you’re not left with bigger problems much later in the dev process.
  • Give your global workforce a platform that can unite the teams, which will help them better map tests and defects for change requests, while also increasing quality and business assurance.

Interested in Kubernetes but unsure where to start? Check out this whitepaper, A Roundup of Managed Kubernetes Platforms from Codeship by Cloudbees, for an overview and comparison of Kubernetes platforms. 

Topics:
devops ,shift left ,qa ,testing ,software delivery

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