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Importance of Shift-Left Testing

Why incorporating testing earlier and earlier in the development process is beneficial to improving software quality.

· DevOps Zone

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In a shift-left approach, testing is moved to the left in the software development lifecycle. Instead of testing at the end of the delivery lifecycle, testing is performed during the early stages.  This allows developers to focus on quality right from the beginning rather than waiting for defects to be discovered late in the development life cycle. In traditional software development, the project requirements are kept on the left side of the plan, and delivery and testing requirements are on the right side of the plan, which means at the end of the project.  Traditional software development practices are not able to handle the changing expectations, and they are leading to business problems like increasing costs, quality not meeting standards, and increasing time to market. The shift-left testing model is one of the best possible ways to mitigate all these issues.

The emphasis of shift-left Testing is not only about bringing testers much earlier into the process, using automation, or purchasing a specific tool for the project, but also about combining the required methodologies, tools, frameworks, and proper approaches that focus on prediction, prevention, and identification of defects from the beginning of the project to the end. Testing is implemented right from the requirement phase to the other phases. Shift left enables project teams to test, provide feedback, and review on a daily basis, in order to evolve agility and boost productivity.  Most of the times, businesses face a lot of delays during the design and development phases of the application, which maximizes pressure to go live with or without minimal changes to the earlier planned dates. To explain in a better way, an inadequate customer experience can ruin the reputation that may have taken years to build. By embracing advantages of the shift-left approach to testing, organizations like e-commerce can retain the competitive advantage whilst reducing revenue losses caused by poor applications.

A study indicates that many defects arise during the requirement phase of the project than during the coding phase. In the traditional models, testing is performed when development is in the coding phase. It means that testing is targeted at the wrong phase of development, which might be missing many defects. The shift-left model demands attention to quality and increases the ability to identify and correct defects when they occur.

Testing should be started as early as possible in the Software Development Life Cycle. Hence, it would be easy to identify defects and fix while keeping the cost low. Identifying defects as early as possible can mean a reduction of many hours of unnecessary re-work.

The reduction of re-work provides much needed time for testers to analyze other requirements, focus on risk-based testing techniques in order to stick to the schedules. This model shifts everyone’s priority towards quality with less re-work and allows projects meet timelines and estimates. By proactively testing early and frequently, development teams would be able to isolate the defects sooner for faster remediation. Ultimately, it improves faster time to market.

Download “The DevOps Journey - From Waterfall to Continuous Delivery” to learn learn about the importance of integrating automated testing into the DevOps workflow, brought to you in partnership with Sauce Labs.

Topics:
software testing ,software development lifecycle ,quality assurance ,software development

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