Software development has changed considerably in the past few years, adding new processes, considerations and possibilities to application projects. With the added complexity, many organizations are choosing to unite their development and operations teams for maximum benefits, including better quality. However, this is often easier said than done — the two groups have traditionally been siloed, and the shift can be a challenging one to pursue. When executed correctly, DevOps can be extremely advantageous; it just depends on your ability to support agile testing methodologies and other advanced practices.
DevOps teams are forming in efforts to combat tightening schedules and keep up with the fast pace of changing requirements. This initiative can lead to apps that achieve optimal performance from the start, and features that directly fit user needs. The danger is that there are a number of consequences that can come from not following DevOps best practices, including redundant workflows and missed defects. Let's take a closer look at how teams can ensure quality with DevOps adoption and get this effort right the first time.
Follow the Right Path
When pursuing DevOps, there's no single way to adopt the practices and integrate them into business workflows. Since every organization is different, decision-makers will need to evaluate which option makes the most sense for their needs and go down that road to adoption. IBM developerWorks noted that there are four adoption paths: steer, develop and test, deploy and operate. Each one focuses on a different aspect of how DevOps is working in the software development space and the company as a whole. Steer, for example, focuses on business planning processes to identify outcomes and resources required to test an app's value. On the other hand, Operate monitors performance in production and leverages feedback to help react in an agile manner to constantly adjust to new needs.
"DevOps provides organizations with a set of practices based on lean and agile methods," IBM stated. "With these methods, organizations reduce the risk developing software that does not meet requirements, and increases the effectiveness and efficiency of software development and deployment. Organizations can deliver innovations to their customers in a timely manner and rapidly apply customer feedback to enhance the innovations being delivered."
Establish Direct Communication
As discussed earlier, one of the biggest values of DevOps software testing is that it brings together long-siloed teams to collaborate on projects and share knowledge. However, old habits die hard, and some businesses revert to old ways of operating. Doing so can leave out significant benefits that teams gain from working collaboratively. TechTarget contributor Amy Reichert suggested that having quality assurance, engineering and operations on the same level will help save time, pain and effort when coordinating project details. DevOps helps establish support lines to ensure that assistance is ready during any part of the process. Everyone contributes to the final product and its success, making sure that everyone is invested and engaged in the project.
"The advantage of communicating with your own team members from start to finish is common sense," Reichert wrote. "It can only provide a more reliable product that works once it's installed. The company suffers less pain and looks good in the eyes of their customers, and everyone wins."
Have Capable Tools
DevOps teams have bountiful knowledge about development processes due to the amount of different collaboration efforts across projects. However, organizing everything can be a significant undertaking on its own. In order to ensure that everyone is on the same page and tasks are being completed, organizations can leverage enterprise test management tools and related assets. Although DevOps can deliver changes to production, for example, the rest of the team may not be able to handle continuous deployments, making it necessary to improve QA and testing functions with capable tools, TechWell contributor Bob Aiello stated. This will allow businesses to better handle the impact of these efforts and build in quality for each project. Test management also provides a portal to prioritize items, execute tests and view any notifications for potential defects. Having these resources on hand will help eliminate bugs, quickly react to necessary changes and create a product that directly fits stakeholder needs.
Automation is another popular tool that can boost quality in DevOps teams. Rather than writing and manually running test scripts every time, repetitive operations are coded once and saved in a central repository. From there, they can be scheduled to run as required and can even be assigned to multiple projects. This will save a significant amount of time, while still ensuring that defects are identified early on. Automation coupled with other software testing efforts will inherently lead to higher quality applications and help teams thoroughly evaluate each project before it goes to production.
In addition, automation supports agile practices through enabling devops continuous integration, deployment, testing and other ongoing processes. These efforts aim to ensure that a version of the build is always ready to go. The shorter iterations also give teams enough time to thoroughly vet each part and fit them seamlessly together. As software development becomes more demanding, automation will be a significant asset.
DevOps can be a particularly beneficial practice for businesses, but only when executed correctly. By following these tips, not only will you be able to have a successful DevOps initiative, but you will also build in quality for each project. With DevOps, you can eliminate defects faster and create the applications that stakeholders are looking for.