We've covered the Toddler, Tweener, Young Adult, and Middle-Aged Provider mobile quality life stages. And now it's time for the "Elder Statesman." The elite teams at this stage have achieved Continuous Quality with a combination of DevOps practices, test automation, continuous integration (CI), performance, and user condition testing, and app monitoring.
Elder Statesman accounted for 11% of our survey respondents, the smallest percentage for all the life stages because, well, it's hard to be this good. Typically, Elder Statesman do app releases every week. They automate 75%-100% of their test cases and have a fully-automated CI process. These two features combine to support "unattended automation" – which happens when automation scripts are designed to overcome unexpected errors that block the CI process. Unattended automation is key to releasing high-quality apps on a weekly basis.
What also sets Elder Statesmen apart is the types of tests they do. They've gone well beyond basic tests of app functions to doing "non-functional" tests for app performance. A common performance test is for user load; the test validates that the app works well even when thousands of other users are using the app. Elder Statesmen do app monitoring once the app is live so they can proactively measure real world performance, get quick alerts about bugs and loop those back to developers for fixes.
Elder Statesman are keenly aware of the importance of testing against "real user conditions" such as switching networks, low memory, and apps running in the background. Elder Statesmen use personas modeled after their key customers and inject "persona traits" directly into their testing code. All of these tests are integrated into a fully automated CI test suite.
Finally, Elder Statesmen are a true DevOps organization where developers, testers, and IT ops work together to facilitate a constant code-build-test-deploy-monitor cycle. And to make this process as seamless as possible, Elder Statesmen use a cloud-based testing lab. They know the value of having a cloud lab that provides 24/7 remote access to real devices and platforms and also brings together a variety of test automation tools, IDEs, CI servers, and performance and monitoring tools. Elder Statesmen realized long ago that managing an internal lab comes with too many costs and inefficiencies.
All DevTest teams should aspire to be Elder Statesmen, but once you've reached this elite stage be careful you don't rest on your laurels. The digital market is always evolving and the speed of app development will only get faster. An Elder Statesmen can easily fall down a life stage if they don't keep up with market changes, test automation tools, and DevOps practices.
In a report entitled Are You Mature? 5 Life Stages of Mobile Quality?" we describe all the stages of mobile quality, point out challenges and discuss best practices for getting on with life.
The mobile quality maturity survey serves as a complement to Perfecto's Quality Maturity Model -- a service that categorizes mobile quality into five levels to help digital teams get the right training and resources.