The following is an excerpt from a voke Research report on how organizations can reduce business risks across their applications and the SDLC. You can download the complete voke report here.
The software lifecycle is complex, global, and long overdue for modernization. As software shifted from being a business enabler to a competitive business differentiator, an increasing emphasis on software quality to protect the brand did not evolve. Consequently, the software delivered to the business is too frequently short on quality, innovation, and meeting business expectations. This translates to putting quality and its associated activities at the center of the software lifecycle.
Every team member is responsible for quality software. And by making every team member responsible for quality software, all team members must be able to prove that their work on the software is moving the finished product in the right direction. This means that testing is critical, ongoing, measured, and managed. Testing is not an isolated phase or a stage of the software lifecycle; testing is an integral and necessary part of every aspect of the software lifecycle. All team members must be accountable for quality throughout the software lifecycle.
Testing is often excluded from modern software practices and must be reimagined from a reactive isolated phase or stage to a proactive integrated, measured, and managed part of the software lifecycle. Testing must communicate vital information to technical and business members of the software lifecycle. Proactive software testing and the appropriate use of the information derived from a test is the difference between an application delivering valuable business outcomes and an organization struggling to align IT and business.
Without a development testing platform, executives and managers manually seek out information and potential risks about the application under development and test and make subjective assessments about the status of an application with the business. Manual practices are impossible to maintain and extracting the correct information from a variety of places is time consuming, chaotic, and unreliable.
Development testing solutions and platforms bring much-needed automation, aggregated information, and risk reduction to the software lifecycle. Through the use of development testing and a development testing platform, more is known about the software that is running the business and representing your brand.
The following are the most common lifecycle issues that development testing addresses.
Lack of Development Metrics
Of the core constituents in the software lifecycle (development, quality assurance, and operations), only QA and operations rely on and are held accountable to metrics. QA leverages a number of metrics including defect metrics and test coverage metrics. And operations teams are measured by uptime, availability, and service level agreements.
Development has yet to benefit from using productive metrics that provide insight to other constituents in the lifecycle about the software under development.
Development testing empowers development with automated test and analysis that identifies hidden defects and provides an objective risk assessment to the business regarding the quality of the source code. Development testing not only provides a mechanism to reduce application risks, but also provides key data points for understanding the overall progress of the next release candidate. Monitoring these data points will help the organization avoid unnecessary rework that may derail projects late in the lifecycle.
Integration of software from a complex and frequently-changing global software supply chain is one of the core issues software lifecycle teams grapple with on a daily basis. Integration is required across all types of applications, platforms, operating systems, and devices. Customers expect these integrated applications to work as expected. Integration poses a tremendous challenge for software teams of all types.
The complexity of today’s applications and the need for integration is a driver to adopt development testing solutions throughout the software supply chain. By implementing development testing solutions, the software supply chain is able to deal with consistent and predictable software.
Development testing platforms are capable of aggregating information from development testing solutions and identifying and mitigating business risks before seeping across the supply chain and possibly into production.
Software release cycles are accelerating for three primary reasons:
- The insatiable demand for software by the business
- The need to constantly provide defect fixes for poor quality software that was released to production
- The Agile dilemma, defined as the inherent risk and confusion created by the business desire for speed and flexibility misinterpreted as a mandate to participate in the developer-centric movement called Agile, which may not be appropriate for all organizations or projects
Software teams are not likely to have empirical information. This lack of empirical information about the state of the software leads to a never-ending cycle of uncertainty in the release.
Development testing tools and platforms enable software teams to know more about the software they are building, integrating, and releasing. Software teams need consistent and reliable data for measuring the readiness of the release candidate. With more consistent and reliable data, teams have empirical evidence to communicate the risk of shipping the software. Most software teams rely on instinctive behaviors to say “we are done” without having statistical evidence to support the decision of shipping. Development testing tools and platforms make releases more reliable and predictable. Reliable releases mean that software teams are able to focus on delivering valuable business outcomes versus constantly fixing and patching software.
Reduction of Production Defects
Defects leaking into production are a significant issue faced by all software teams. Defect leakage occurs because of a lag between the introduction of a defect and the identification of a defect. Insufficient testing, inadequate code coverage, or a lack of emphasis on defect prevention may cause late defect detection.
Development testing techniques, such as static analysis, help to prevent defects. Static analysis and dynamic tools analyze the code base for defects by covering the execution paths. Other techniques, such as code metrics analysis, help identify code that is becoming too complex and, therefore, untestable. By identifying defects prior to having an operating executable version of the source code, defects are prevented from leaking.
Many organizations are reluctant to adopt static analysis because developers believe it is added overhead to the development process. voke research shows minimal penetration of development testing tools, including static analysis. The benefit of static analysis preventing defect leakage far outweighs any additional overhead to the development process. Static analysis tools help developers build software right the first time.
Application security is the most frequently overlooked, non-functional requirement. Security is always perceived to be somebody else’s problem. Security vulnerabilities — defects by any other name — are unfortunately part of every piece of source code. The vulnerabilities are not intentional, but if exploited they can be catastrophic. The key point for security is prevention. Development testing solutions prevent security vulnerabilities from being introduced into source code. A development testing platform is capable of implementing and monitoring security policies for development and testing to make sure security requirements are defined and enforced from the earliest part of the software lifecycle.
The demands placed on software that runs the business means that automation must be employed when and where feasible to meet time-to-market and quality pressures. Increasing automation minimizes human error and enables software teams to focus on more strategic aspects of the software lifecycle. Most organizations lack effective automation and struggle with functional and nonfunctional requirements. Development testing platforms automate verification of key business expectations throughout the lifecycle. Leveraging modern lifecycle tooling mitigates risk and manages complexity throughout the software supply chain.
Maintaining and managing a sizable test suite is a challenge for every organization. It is often unclear which tests need to be run, what the status of each test is, and who the owner of the test result is. Testing is a challenging component of the software lifecycle and many organizations spend an inordinate amount of precious time and resources grappling with understanding test suites. Tests must be maintained along with an evolving code base otherwise tests degrade and ultimately erode confidence in the testing effort. A development testing platform enables software teams to associate tests with specific requirements, defects, and source code. A development testing platform takes the guesswork out of test management.