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An In-Depth Continuous Testing Guide QA / Software Testing

Aug 20, 2023 JIN

An In-Depth Continuous Testing Guide

Continuous testing is a software quality testing process where software or applications are tested continuously with automated tests throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to evaluate its quality, provide immediate feedback to mitigate any associated risks and keep the products delivered fast without compromising quality.

The continuous testing market has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years due to the rising demand, a testament to the increasing recognition of its significance in today’s software landscape. From a value of USD 1.15 billion in 2018, it is projected to reach a staggering USD 2.41 billion by 2023, reflecting an impressive annual growth rate of approximately 16%.

In an era where digital transformation has become the strategic mechanism for organizations across all industries, adopting continuous testing has assisted businesses in sailing their own transformative ship confidently and efficiently. Actively seeking ways to optimize their operations, enhance customer experiences, and gain their competitive edge in the digital realm, continuous testing has become the ultimate weapon for organizations striving to test early and consistently to minimize the inherent risks during software development and deployment.

In-house or Outsourcing

Is continuous testing essential?

According to the 15th State of Agile Report, Agile practices have been adopted by over 94% of the surveyed companies, of which 86% are in the software development industry. What is behind this high rate? The answer lies in the constant changes occurring in the market, software development processes, and end-user behavior patterns. Agile methodologies effectively address these dynamic challenges.

However, businesses aim for more than just delivering exceptional IT solutions. What if the objective is to achieve higher-quality products in a much shorter period while keeping innovation at the core? This is where the integration of continuous testing becomes crucial.

Then, when and how can a company start questioning if it’s the right time to do continuous testing? Here are three critical factors that should be taken into serious consideration:

Factor # 1. Highly competitive market

To thrive for the top in any field is always a rough battle to play it cool. You must stay constantly competitive, where organizations increasingly leverage AI, IoT, AR/VR, and other technologies to enhance customer experience and engage discerning users, especially in this digital era.

At the speed of today’s innovative advancements, it has been challenging for software quality assurance companies to not only catch up with the newest tech introductions but also have these breakthrough technologies integrated into their software products in a timely manner to be a trendsetter.

In order to make that happen, the practice of continuous testing is an absolute must for companies in a highly competitive industry. It enables early, frequent, and speedy testing, resulting in lightning-speed delivery while maintaining quality.

Factor #2. Following regular release cadence

Amazon deploys new updates every 11.7 seconds, setting a benchmark that other companies strive to match. Continuous testing empowers Amazon to lead this rapid pace, significantly reducing testing cycle time at remarkable production speed.

Therefore, continuous testing is your go-to whether you are developing applications, games, or any familiar products needing frequent updates.

Factor #3. Striving to enhance software quality

Companies continuously strive to enhance software quality to increase their chances of success in the market and attract end customers. Continuous testing plays a crucial role in establishing a comprehensive quality assurance process throughout the entire software development life cycle (SDLC), from early planning to production deployment. This ensures the attainment of high software reliability, performance, and security.

The five key benefits of continuous testing that are worth mentioning are:

  1. Early risk prevention: Timely feedback throughout the SDLC helps swiftly identify and resolve critical defects before they become dominant.
  2. Smarter software releases: Incorporating Agile and DevOps practices allows the creation of a highly flexible software development ecosystem with a continuous release cadence.
  3. Effective QA workflow: Continuous testing empowers seamless testing activities at any stage of the SDLC, ensuring necessary quality assurance tasks are performed at the right time.
  4. User experience enhancement: By conducting test activities and software testing automation throughout the SDLC, software code is closely monitored, minimizing the chances of glitches/crashes and improving the overall customer experience.
  5. Improved team integration: By assessing the quality of the project right from the beginning, all project members share the same value and goal of maintaining the quality assurance standard, eliminating siloed QA teams. This promotes effective collaboration, minimizes downtime, and results in exceptional code quality in production.

Creating a Powerful and Productive Quality Assurance and Testing Team

Building the 6-step plan of continuous testing

Now, you might get the gist and the hype on why continuous testing is getting favorable in businesses. How do you get this testing approach working in your organization? Take note of the following 6-step plan that shall get you prepared for the masterpiece:

Step 1: Implement exploratory testing

While test automation is a valuable option for verifying the impact of code changes on existing functionality, it alone cannot fully determine if the features meet the set expectations. Applying exploratory testing as an initial step to assess product quality beforehand, identify issues that may be troublesome to detect through other testing methods, promote effective collaboration among cross-functional teams, and uncover potential issues before implementing automation.

Step 2: Prioritize risks and conduct test design

Contemporary software testing solutions exhibit heightened complexity attributed to numerous core innovations. Consequently, the costs involved are prohibitively high, as even a single defect leakage into the production environment can have severe consequences. For instance, if the software is embedded in a medical device designed to save lives, the margin for error is virtually nonexistent.

To promptly identify issues, it is mandatory to establish a clear understanding of business risks, prioritize them accordingly, and develop appropriate test coverage. This coverage can then be gradually expanded to achieve a threshold of 90% or even higher.

Step 3: Implement test automation

Test automation works wonders in enhancing QA efficiency and expediting time to market while maintaining high software quality. According to the latest World Quality Report, it also delivers various benefits to businesses, such as reduced operational costs (47%), improved defect detection (49%), mitigated risks (51%), and much more.

To maximize the benefits of test automation, prioritize three key actions:

  • Selecting the appropriate toolset aligned with your business requirements, budget, and team capabilities.
  • Establishing a stable approach that provides real-time visibility into the current quality level.
  • Gradually expanding the test coverage over time.

Step 4: Establish the necessary infrastructure to support CI/CD

CI/CD pipelines are integral to the DevOps methodology, as they contribute to accelerating project velocity, minimizing manual tasks, and reducing the risk of errors during integration and deployment phases.

In order to ensure the release of dependable software, companies should have their infrastructures for CI/CD prepared carefully. This involves structuring pipelines, integrating them into communication channels, and implementing service virtualization.

Step 5: Develop risk mitigation procedures for business processes

Companies streamline procedure flows through a series of steps to further improve their standardization and reduce defects in production. Suppose that you are about to develop a new feature. First, you must identify the business risks involved and establish test coverage through detailed step-by-step procedures before proceeding to the development phase. This includes defining the scope of unit, component, and end-to-end tests. It also facilitates problem analysis during retrospectives, enabling efficient identification of underlying causes. This approach decreases the need for extensive QA budgets.

Step 6: Track progress

Facilitating the assessment of progress and providing valuable insights into areas where the implemented solution can be enhanced and optimized allows organizations to analyze the impact of such actions, reassess risks, and conduct retrospectives to improve themselves constantly.

Is Continuous Testing right for you?

Suppose you are experiencing one of the three factors mentioned earlier in this post. In that case, you are operating in a fiercely competitive environment, adhering to a regular release schedule, or striving to elevate software quality. The Continuous Testing approach might just be what you are desperately looking for to resolve the current chaos.

By implementing continuous testing, organizations proactively address risks early, deliver more intelligent software releases, optimize the quality assurance workflow, exceed the overall user experience, and foster seamless integration among teams.

It’s challenging and might be intimidating to stay ahead in the competitive landscape. Just hop on and ride the challenge with SHIFT ASIA. With the various solutions suites in different types of software testing and the aim to deliver the best quality assurance for the software industry, SHIFT ASIA’s experienced expert teams and ISTQB-certified testers have supported thousands of clients globally. Contact SHIFT ASIA today for consultations.


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