Test Automation by Functional Experts and SMEs for Continuous Testing in Agile and DevOps
Involving subject matter experts can add another layer to your test automation as part of your DevOps process.
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Redefining Roles for Continuous Testing
In Agile and DevOps, every IT function must be engaged earlier on to accomplish the overall objectives and goals of an organization while delivering quality software at speed. Along with this early engagement, a combined collaboration of different teams with diverse skills is also important to embrace new or redefined roles for a successful DevOps transformation.
Subject Matter Experts and Functional test experts are responsible for establishing and implementing quality testing and compliance processes for organizations. They provide guidance and subject matter expertise to teams on testing methodologies and processes and are expected to closely interact with IT leaders to develop and implement a well planned roadmap for each IT functional area, and work with the Development, Testing and production teams to develop, publish software testing plans and adopt the right tools to implement them.
Continuous Testing in Agile and DevOps
Today, Continuous Testing has evolved from just Testing to an approach in meeting the continuous delivery needs in Agile and DevOps and has become a must to release quality software faster. The importance of continuous testing in meeting the continuous delivery needs of Agile and DevOps has been discussed here - Extend Test Automation to enable Continuous Delivery.
Continuous Testing is achieved through Software Test Automation, which involves programming knowledge and a deep technical understanding. The contribution from the part of stakeholders and Functional Experts or SMEs who understand the application thoroughly is most important in a project as it affects the progress of the project to a very large extent. However, because of the lack of technical skills they cannot take part in the test automation process. Hence the participation is often limited to developers and automation testers with sound technical skills.
While the automation team focuses on delivering quality software faster, your team of Functional experts, SMEs and QA Analysts focuses on the quality of your software from a customer’s perspective. With both the efforts combined it will have a great impact on releasing quality products faster continuously.
If there is a platform that allows the cross-functional participation of teams and experts to supervise the development life cycle to work collaboratively and discuss on the ambiguities in user stories, automate them without any technical barrier, the quality of the software will be better without a doubt!
Why Involve SMEs and Functional Experts in the Process of Continuous Testing?
First, they understand the application functionality and customer requirements better than the Automation Testing team. If SMEs and Functional Experts are involved in automation testing, it would be a great value addition to release your software faster with great quality continuously.
A servant leadership culture in an Agile organization with the experts serving their team actively analyzing and contributing, unlocks the purpose and creativity of the team, resulting in an effective automation.
There would be lots of redundant efforts across functional and automation teams. With experienced leaders, lots of effort can be optimized and it is a huge time saver considering the time and effort needed to communicate the information across teams.
Functional test Experts can bring investigative and exploratory skills to the table. Investigative exploratory skills with Automation Testing will bring the best to the Agile development.
Timely involvement and effective feedback from the experts and a collaborative approach keeps the team aware of quality standards and procedures and offers necessary suggestions and scope for improvement.
What Restraints the Functional Experts and QA Analysts From Actively Participating in the Automated Testing Process?
Lack of Programming Knowledge
Automated testing requires scripting skills and knowledge in a particular programming language and may not be the same for the next project. Automation Testing is one that demands expertise in multiple programming languages depending on the type and complexity of the AUT.
If the SMEs/QA Analysts do not have a sound understanding of these programming languages, they may not be able to readily contribute to the project.
The need for expertise in multiple programming languages and tools is a constraint as the team and the subject matter experts need to be adept in these.
Need to Be Adept in Multiple Tools
Automation test tools provide a better alternative for executing a large number of tests regularly. Running several thousand tests, on different devices repeatedly using manual resources is a monotonous task.
Since most of the modern applications are built on micro-services architecture, and with more than one application type in a single workflow, multiple tools need to be set up. The Functional Experts and the SMEs may not have enough time to familiarize with these tools in a short time. To allow them to actively contribute to automation and track the progress of the automation testing process, a framework that allows easy collaboration will cut down the installation and management hassle making it easy to participate easily.
With growing number of end user devices, it is required to have enough realistic test environments for application testing. It takes significant time and effort to set the automation testing framework, tools and test beds. SMEs and QA Experts may not have sufficient time to set up the Test Automation ecosystem and maximize or minimize the essential elements as per the changing business needs.
Automation testing is not as straightforward as manual testing. It demands high technical expertise, time, and resource. Automation testing ecosystem is a combination of multiple tools, integrations, frameworks. One has to spend a significant amount of time to get started with automation testing because of the multiple elements involved in automation testing.
Check out the essential elements of the Test Automation ecosystem.
Platform to Shift Towards Continuous Testing
We saw the benefits of involving Functional Experts and SMEs in the test automation process for continuous testing. The continuous testing automation platform should allow for a smooth transition from Functional testing to Test Automation and allow for easy “changing of hats” to contribute to Continuous Testing in DevOps and guide the team with their functional expertise. For this, automation testing should be as simple as writing manual tests with an inbuilt test automation ecosystem.
Prioritize your tests, track progress and share valuable feedback among a cross-functional collaboration team irrespective of where you are with a unified continuous testing platform that does not require programming language expertise, suits every complex testing requirements and allows for easy collaboration of cross-functional teams will ease out the existing complexity and allow Function Experts, stakeholders and just anyone who can contribute to the application, ensure quality.
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