A couple years ago I wrote that QA would be a natural mediator for DevOps discussions at it is traditionally between Dev and Ops, understands Dev’s speed and has concern for release quality that Ops respects. Two things had me convinced that this pattern wouldn’t happen. The first is the general lack of respect that the QA org is given in many shops. The second, was that QA teams were vanishing quickly – either having budgets cut brutally or being absorbed into development. That blog post was left behind when we moved blogs.
I’m starting to see some interesting signs of life. Release Management is often reporting through QA now and gaining respect and prominence. The best RM teams are playing the role of DevOps facilitator really well. The other trend is the rise of DevOps aware Quality Engineering orgs. One DevOps team I know reports through QE and cares for build automation, deploy/release automation, and helps dev teams setup their automated test harnesses.
The shift that seems to be working out is one Elisabeth Hendrickson (dir, QE @ Pivotal labs) talked about at the recent DevOps Enterprise Summit. Modern QE isn’t about rows of people following test scripts. It’s about the care and feeding of feedback loops. Because feedback loops and naturally cross-silo, the affinity with with DevOps is pretty clear.
Finally, we are starting to see this play out in the tools space. One of my favorite products is our MobileFirst Quality Assurance because while it has clever ways for testers to file bugs from within the context of the app, it also instruments the app to drive data-heavy feedback from users. We are seeing feedback from the field being included in the domain of a QA tool. Awesome. How many QA/QE teams are carefully tracking behavior in production beyond reproducing incident reports? The successful ones will include nurturing those feedback loops, not just the “tell the dev what they broke this week” loop.