As companies look for new ways to streamline their iterative processes, interest in developer-driven testing has begun to grow. In part, this trend can be attributed to the shift towards DevOps methodology and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. However, the role of QA in DevOps is significant and irreplaceable. A dedicated QA team is essential for securing quality and accountability in the testing cycle. In the following article, Copado will take a closer look at the role of QA in DevOps—and how you can support it.
What is the role of QA in DevOps?
If DevOps methodology is the bridge between development and operations, QA is the support beam that makes it safe to cross. In short, QA verifies that the development team is delivering the technical requirements needed to satisfy the operational team’s goals. Often, the name DevOps is taken quite literally, with implementations focusing solely on collaboration and communication between development and operations. However, DevOps should also help eliminate misunderstandings between development and QA. For example, the age-old dilemma of “it works fine on our end.” An effective DevOps strategy should help QA understand developmental requirements and vice versa.
It’s about more than just bugs.
Aside from avoiding product-breaking bugs, QA contributes generously to the overall quality control of the product. The role of QA in DevOps is to verify that the product aligns technical requirements with business goals. QA teams understand products differently because they can take a step back and look at the big picture without the biases of engineers or operational managers. This outlook is especially important for enterprise-level companies that utilize enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for business process management—like SAP 4 HANA technology.
1. A Fresh and Necessary Perspective on Builds
Developers often have a vision of their finalized product in mind. Accordingly, they’ll also have an idea of how the end-user is meant to interact with it. Without QA to reel in this idealized view, developers could find themselves stuck in a happy path testing mindset. The more eyes on the product throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC,) the better. QA brings a broader perspective to the product by eliminating blind spots. The result is a more durable product that can better stand up to actual user behavior.
QA Allows Developers to Prioritize New Features
The extra set of eyes QA provides also means that developers can shift their prioritizations for the good of the product. Instead of having to revisit previous commits, they can focus on pushing new features. For this reason, QA is an essential element of any innovation-focused company. With QA’s support, developers can focus on finding new ways to advance business goals and ensure their product retains its competitive space in the market.
2. Faster Delivery with Parallel Testing
Parallel testing is the practice of testing multiple layers, versions, or subcomponents of a system simultaneously. Essentially, it’s the polar opposite of sequential testing. When performed properly, it can reduce test execution time exponentially. The role of QA in DevOps is perhaps most apparent in parallel testing practices. QA supports developers by testing new iterations in real-time, easing the product pipeline by performing continuous quality checks to keep the testing cycle running smoothly.
Further Enhancing QA with No-Code Test Script Automation
Parallel testing at scale requires the help of a cloud-based automated testing solution for QA. It’s important to note that not all testing solutions are built the same. Some may be better suited for supporting the role of QA in DevOps than others.
3. Testing Strategy Improvements
Let’s examine the role of QA in DevOps from a strategic standpoint:
- QA enables better collaboration between development and operations teams. Validating the product’s ability to meet objectives from both sides helps each team better understand the other’s intentions.
- Developers can begin to think more like testers and vice versa, further streamlining the release cycle. For example, developers can continually check their code for potential QA problems. This would drastically reduce the amount of time QA must spend on fixing avoidable defects. On the other hand, QA can take the initiative to resolve code issues or use automation tools to identify their causes.
Many companies view the role of QA in DevOps as a gatekeeping position. Before the product is finalized, they’ll use QA to validate it before it moves from development to the production environment. Unfortunately, this strategy fails to take full advantage of the potential QA has to enrich the product and the testing process as a whole. Early QA involvement helps mitigate testing failures, establish control over the product, and validate the success of your DevOps testing practices.