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Shift Left Testing Approach and its Benefits | Ultimate Guide

Navdeep Singh Gill | 07 April 2022


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Overview of Shift Left Continuous Testing

The goal is to automate as much of our application testing as possible, maximize our test coverage to the best of ability, and perform testing as early in the development pipeline as possible. As features for the application produced and automated test scripts are written, want to make sure that they integrate well with CI tool. Have the test scripts kept running during each build—and if they fail, then the build should fail. This will assure that no current features broken as new code developed.

The quality assurance and software testing process of software development is as necessary as the actual code had written. Click to explore about, Software Testing Best Practices

What is Shift Left Testing?

In traditional development, testing is performed just at the end of the development cycle. There is a cost correlated with testing, identifying, and categorizing issues, and pushing the development changes into the product. The prices may rise if the test/verification team comes across a matter of high severity (release blocker issue) toward the finish of the lifecycle.

Such issues could even slow down the whole release. With Shift-Left testing, testing never expands, performed in isolation by the test/verification team, but it has shown in sync with the product development. Shifting-left refers to the idea of acting earlier within a process. So, as it identifies to software testing, shift-left testing is the approach of taking the action of testing the software and moving it to the left in the delivery pipeline—or, testing the software prior in the development lifecycle than is historically typical.

What is Continuous Testing?

Continuous Testing is the procedure of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to acquire immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate as quickly as possible. Continuous Testing involves executing the right set of tests at the right stage of the delivery pipeline-without creating a bottleneck. The Continuous Testing process helps us to find the risk, address them and improve the quality of the product.

A methodology that allows continuous iteration of development and testing all through the software development life cycle. Click to explore about, Role of Automated Testing in Agile Enterprise

Why Shift Left Continuous Testing is important?

  • Improved design Through continuous Shift-Left testing and exhausting brainstorming sessions, roadblock areas, bottlenecks, and possible performance failures identified in advance. Even though these discoveries may lead to new design options, they are enhanced variants of the original idea.
  • Bugs are Fixed Early-On When we stop and consider how usually organizational executives admitted that they “should have” managed with the issue early on when it identified, we understand the significance of Shift-Left testing. It gives more breathing room to handle mistakes following they are spotted, removing the, “let’s come back to this once we finish the basic stuff” outlook.
  • Massive Time and Effort Saved When discussing the improvement of efficiency and increment in quality, it would be impractical to hope to accomplish those goals without saving our own time and effort! This is another convincing reason to shift testing left.

How Shift Left Testing Works?

“Shift left” refers to a practice in software development in which teams focus on quality, work on problem prevention instead of detection, and begin testing earlier than ever before. The objective is to increase quality, decrease long test cycles, reduce the possibility of unpleasant surprises at the end of the development cycle—or, worse, in production. Shifting left requires two key DevOps Practices:

Continuous deployment automates the deployment and provisioning of new builds, allowing continuous testing to happen rapidly and efficiently. Continuous testing involves automating tests and running the tests right on time and regularly as could be expected under the circumstances, along with service virtualization to mimic unavailable systems. The first and most obvious way to shift left operations is to work side by side with development in creating the deployment and testing processes. Failures observed in production often are not seen earlier in the life cycle. Many times these failures can be attributed directly to differences in deployment procedures.

Development may create its deployment procedures that are very different from those used by operations for production. Sometimes production procedures are much more manual and may even use different tooling. Operations and development need to take ownership of building standard deployment procedures. The deployment process is then practiced potentially hundreds of times in test environments before reaching production.

Another way to reduce the failure rate is to make all environments in the pipeline look as much like production as possible. This is almost impossible using traditional provisioning processes. Production environments usually are much more substantial and detailed than are needed by development. But by using cloud and pattern capabilities, you can get much closer. The capability to use patterns to describe consistent environments eliminates the failures that occur simply by configuration inconsistencies. This again requires operations and development to work together in creating the provisioning process, so developers create their test environments the same way they built in production.

Software testing is an important process that ensures customer satisfaction in the application. Click to explore about, AI in Software Testing

What are the benefits of Shift Left Testing?

As roll in the shift-left testing as a part of SDLC may understand numerous benefits. Below are the most beneficial ones -

Reduced Costs Involved in Development and Testing

In a typical SDLC, testing performed toward the finish of the product development cycle. As mentioned before, the cost and implications involved in bug-fixing would multiply based on the time when it discovered. Once shift left, testing is considered an essential part of each phase of development. Thus, testing is performed once every build so that bugs are caught and fixed at an early stage. Once the code size becomes increase, fixing simple issues could also take additional time and may cause some side effects. A shift-left testing strategy can diminish the overall costs of development, testing and fixing since bugs are found recent.

Early Bug Detection Ensures Better Code and Product Quality

Shift-left approach assures that there is a timely correspondence between various stakeholders of the project. Developers can cooperate on the development of unit tests, as well as system tests. Automation is a fundamental part of shift-left testing, and with automation scripts, test teams can perform testing a few times each day. Their item feedback in the form of bugs is again supplying back to the product development channel which helps in improving the code quality. This implies that the overall code quality would better with the stringent code quality checks, consequently assuring a more stable end-product delivered to the customer. This means that the overall code quality would improve with the strict code quality checks, hence ensuring a more stable end-product delivered to the customer.

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Effective resolution of bugs

As mentioned, Shift-left approach helps to bring more and more coordinated among development and testing. In this way, testing begins way ahead in the development cycle which opens up the software for review and correction directly from the beginning. This is one of the core benefits of the process, which recognizes bugs and fix them in time. It is essential to implement such approaches in a scenario that needs speed and sustenance.

Enhanced Test Coverage

Considering that the tests get executed directly from the origin of the development process, the applications can be evaluated for all their features. The application/software gets tested for each functionality and performance. Enhanced test coverage further helps in assuring the quality of the software.

Effective use of time and resources

Whenever bugs or defects fixed in time, it helps to deliver products within stringent timelines and allows effective use of resources. When testers work with developers, the overall process helps in making the application stronger by efficiently using the skills and delivering results. This further results in cost-effectiveness, which is necessary for sustaining profitability in the commercial arena.

A process to check the system accepts the requirements of a user or not. Click to explore about, User Acceptance Testing

How to adopt Continuous Shift Left Testing Approach?

  • Make automation priority Do not remove all manual testing tasks, but adopt an “automated first” mindset. Concentrate that on areas that will run more than once. Fundamentally, set up the plumbing first so that you can let the water flow later without any worry or concern about leaks. Map out your SDLC and identify automation opportunities.
  • Improve the relationship between tester and each developer Keep the teams little, encourage inter-team collaboration, and make reports simple to access and share online.
  • Keep track of everything Use measurements and set pass-fail criteria. Continuous testing is about immediately identifying if things are working or not, so make sure you can set that up quickly. Break work down into smaller increments that are easier to test after coding and design. This makes it easier to automate the tests, and it also makes things much more readily deployable.
  • Develop a system to display your results Do deep dives into results, because that’s how you will know if your code is working and where the gaps are. Define your KPIs and recognition criteria and make them quantifiable. Create dashboards to track the KPIs, including a baseline and subsequent changes.
  • Get the right continuous testing tools Find the tools that will help to develop, test and analyze regularly. Pick the best-of-breed devices that work together in a way that incorporates easily into the workplace. Keep tools that have community-based support where everyone shares their challenges, solutions and exciting use cases.

TDD is imperative to identify bugs and errors during software development and increase the quality of the product. Click to explore about, Test Driven Development Tools and Process

What are the best practices of Shift Left Testing?

The best practices of Shift Left Testing are listed below:

Identify & Plan Testing Life cycle

It is necessary for enterprises to identify and plan the entire life cycle before the beginning of the actual development process. Doing this will encourage developers and testers to understand the tasks, objectives and expected outcome from the project. One method of doing this is by identifying testing requirements directly from project planning and requirements specification stage.

Integrate Development & Project Management Process with Testing

Another fundamental step for beginning with Shift-Left testing is to coordinate all development, project management, and operations processes with testing. This will assist understand where and at which stages testing should occur. It will also help recognize the estimated time and attempt to complete the testing cycle and keep away unnecessary, and duplication of tasks in the process of performing Shift Left testing.

Define Quality Standards & Controls for All SDLC Stages

It is additionally recommended to determine usual quality standards and has quality controls set up for various phases of SDLC. This will help recognize whether the development process follows with QA and identify any deviations from the required outcome. This, in turn, will assist in taking corrective actions at the individual stage, which will eventually determine the overall well-being of the project.

Encourage Testers to Code

It is likewise advisable for testers to engage in coding knowledge since, with regards to testing in sprints, knowledge of code can help in understanding into a more in-depth analysis of the defects. Moreover, coding knowledge can end up being useful if testers need to make minor changes or modifications in the code or refactor specific methods rather than depending on developers which can turn out to be a time-consuming affair.
A type of testing in which individual units or functions of software testing. Its primary purpose is to test each unit or function. Click to explore about, Unit Testing Techniques and Best Practices

Plan Departmental Deployments

It is likewise advisable for testers to engage in coding knowledge since, with regards to testing in sprints, knowledge of code can help in understanding into a more in-depth analysis of the defects. Moreover, coding knowledge can end up being useful if testers need to make minor changes or modifications in the code or refactor specific methods rather than depending on developers which can turn out to be a time-consuming affair.

Define Continuous Feedback Mechanism

It is additionally advisable to define a continuous feedback mechanism so that the testers can consistently give feedback to developers during and after the development step. It likewise becomes easy to report defects and accomplish desired quality since with continuous observing and feedback, the chances of errors will be reduced.

Induce Developers to Code with Testability in Mind

Thinking about the shift, it is also necessary to induce all the developers to begin the development with testability in mind, in that, every developer should be made responsible for ensuring the quality of the code built. This will help during the creation of a testing system with reliability and additionally bridging the gap between developers and testers to quicken the testing cycle. Furthermore, developers would know about the solution directly from the development phase.

Engage in Test Automation

To profit the most extreme advantage out of Shift Left testing, it is suggested for enterprises to adopt test automation. With test automation, developers and testers can automate the whole build to test process over all the stages of the SDLC which will inject better integration between processes, boost continuous delivery and drive more belief in each release.

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The application consistently tests during each integration with the codebase, and before each deployment to another environment. Just testing each feature with each build in this manner establishes a specific level of quality in the application that will help to ensure an effective production release. It’s simpler to fix a bug if it’s caught before in the process, and having CI build run automated test scripts with each commit on the common codebase will help get bugs early.