What is Continuous Testing & How Does it Work?


Sep 22

What is Continuous Testing & How Does it Work?

As the industry gets more competitive, the need for organizations to provide superior digital experiences in each software and product release is no longer an option. There are risks associated with software assets, and leaders adapt to continuous testing to enhance digital transformation and overall operations.

Continuous testing usage is growing rapidly, over 16% every year. As a result, organizations can evaluate every stage of the development life cycle and monitor bugs or risks associated with the module, release, or product. This allows for smarter release decisions and higher-quality code while enabling faster delivery of web and mobile applications. This is the opposite of the traditional process wherein testing involves handing off the software over another to undergo quality and development assurance phases.

While manual testing still works, it requires ample time and effort to ensure that the software quality is prioritized over the project schedule, which does not cut in today’s fast-paced business environment. Conversely, continuous testing allows the software change to move continually from development to testing and eventually deploy while maintaining the desired quality. This article will discuss continuous testing, its benefits, and how you can perform it to accelerate software delivery speed.

What is Continuous Testing?

Continuous testing is the process of using automated feedback at multiple phases of the software development life cycle. Traditionally, software testing has taken a toll on speed and innovation due to its slow and costly process, resulting in delayed releases. However, developers can accelerate the development life cycle through continuous testing by enhancing code quality, eliminating expensive bottlenecks, and fast-tracking DevOps processes.

Technically, continuous testing generates key insights that determine whether a release is too risky to continue through the delivery pipeline. In doing so, developers can establish a safety net to prevent software failure and thus avoid negative impacts on business processes. It also allows team members to learn about their product continuously and determine what can be done to supercharge reliability and quality.

Benefits of Continuous Testing

  • Promotes Risk-Based Feedback: Teams encounter customer and organizational risks throughout the development process. By testing continuously, they can discover and fix critical defects while developing the code to ensure that the software is ready before release. This instant feedback also provides developers with insights to make better design decisions while giving project managers all the information they need to assess a release properly.
  • Ensures Stable User Experience: Achieving a stable user experience is one of the reasons why continuous testing is important for DevOps. With continuous testing, teams can fix any faulty code to prevent it from reaching users and disrupting their experience. This, in turn, helps maintain your brand and reputation once the software is ready for release.
  • Improves Test Coverage: The advantage of continuous testing is that it begins at the initial development stage of implementing a new code, quickly evaluating features and possible errors. By identifying the errors ahead, you can prevent any issues during the integration process and reduce the cost of defects in the development lifecycle. This is especially important considering that defects from software testing can significantly affect the organization’s return on investments depending on the severity of the defect.

How to Implement Continuous Testing?

It is not uncommon for software release cycles to get shorter in today’s increasingly fast development environment, resulting in DevOps teams adjusting their processes to keep up with the changes. Here’s how you can implement continuous testing within DevOps to ensure that the development moves forward without any difficulty and the highest quality software is released.

1. Recognize the Challenges of Continuous Testing:

To maximize the benefits of continuous testing tools, it must initially recognize the challenges of the process. Although constant testing is a dynamic asset in software development, there are several challenges that software development teams must be aware of to remain on top of their projects. For instance, continuous testing requires development teams to update the testing strategy constantly to ensure that the project is completed.

Moreover, they must also ensure that the test environments work within their code repository base to ensure seamless testing of the latest available code. While this may not seem like a big deal, developers who do not evaluate test environments increase the likelihood of defect issues and incompatibility.

By recognizing the challenges of implementing continuous testing, you can eliminate the disconnect between testing, development, and operations. It also allows you to merge siloed teams to enhance enterprise efficiencies while expediting time-to-market. Likewise, it enables teams to create agile and reliable software and processes since they have anticipated challenges before, they hit them.

2. Develop a Test Automation Plan:

After recognizing these challenges, developers can now develop a comprehensive test automation plan. A rule of thumb is to centre the test automation plan on all testing components, including user interface testing and API integration testing. Although choosing a particular area can be beneficial in some situations, organizations must always equip themselves with an in-depth plan that can work seamlessly with all types of testing as and when the need arises.

It is also essential that their test automation plan is strong enough to bear all changes’ variables and impact during the testing process. In other words, test automation must be designed to operate efficiently while providing consistent, reliable, and reproducible results. By establishing a comprehensive test automation strategy, you can speed up deployment and reduce the risk inherent in continuous delivery.

One of the key elements of continuous testing tools in DevOps is its ability to provide developers with key insights into the process. This way, developers can easily identify whether the software is ready to enter the delivery pipeline and immediately determine the risks involved in a software release.

3. Embrace Shift-Left Approach:

With the continuous adoption of next-gen test automation processes and the leap towards digital assurance becomes more apparent, delivery teams have to innovate their testing methods to accelerate releases and ensure quality. Therefore, embracing the shift-left approach in continuous testing is vital in maximizing the results. Technically, the shift-left system of quality engineering encourages teams to perform tests to find bugs early and fix them before they become production issues.
These defects can become much more complicated and expensive to fix if not found earlier. By embracing a shift-left approach, teams can increase their testing reliability and avoid bottlenecks in the process. This way, teams can generate more frequent, practical, and holistic tests with functional information.

It is, however, important to note that incorporating the shift-left testing approach can be difficult because it requires additional quality control. Therefore, creating a shift-left testing plan and training project managers to incorporate it into their processes properly is essential to ensure a smooth transition. Furthermore, reducing silos in the organization is also critical to provide immediate feedback to fix issues quicker and more efficiently.

Achieving Effective Continuous Testing

With most organizations across all sectors seeking to enhance their digital transformation efforts, the need for continuous testing becomes more apparent in navigating cloud migration and risks paired with software assets. This emphasizes the importance of hiring professional software and web developers (some of the highest-paid information systems career pathways) in your organization.

Another way to achieve effective continuous testing in DevOps is by utilizing powerful test management software platforms such as CloudTestr, enabling constant automated release validation and testing. CloudTestr offers powerful features such as automated impact analysis, auto health checks, and cloud plugins, in addition to its quote-based pricing. CloudTestr is an end-to-end testing automation platform that supports simplified test cycle management, automation, and execution.