Major Advantages of Shift-left and Shift-right Testing in Agile

Major Advantages of Shift-left and Shift-right Testing in Agile

“Quality is everyone’s shared responsibility not just QA team”

Gone are the days when testing was solely the task of QA team. In the agile-first world we live in, there is little distinction between software developer and software test engineer, as everyone in the delivery pipeline should be responsible for quality. With the implementation of Agile and DevOps methods, there should be a high collaboration among teams but not many agile teams are doing it right. So, today let us talk about how testing right and left in the process can help you meet different objectives.

Do we remember old-school Waterfall?

To understand the concept of right and left, let’s first remember old-school project management paradigm – the Waterfall model.

As you may already be familiar, the waterfall model was and is a widespread project management model. Following this model, each activity is aligned in successive linear manner, which means, to start the next stage your team must complete the previous one and secure its deliverables.

Keeping waterfall model in mind, it’s easy to understand what shift-left means. In a linear approach it goes from left to right, so shifting something to the left means start doing it earlier. Rather than conserving the test phase until the very end of the development cycle, we perform it at an earlier stage = shift-left. And of course, the same approach can be applied to agile environments.

SHIFT LEFT – Test early for core functions and coverage
SHIFT RIGHT – Test post deployment to respond to user feedback

Agile is the natural choice if you value users’ feedback

More and more modern businesses are pushing agile to keep up with consumers appetite for constant updates, non-stop innovation and fast response. As proven, agile methods enable teams to deliver on a continuous basis allowing companies to publish new features more often.
Why shift-left testing became an essential part of agile? It is because it is useful to overcome bottlenecks caused by testing too late in the development cycle. Such as poor test coverage, time constraints, delay and longer time-to-market etc.

If your team hasn’t taken advantage of this practice, it is highly recommended as finding and fixing bugs as early as possible helps you introduce higher-quality code right from the beginning and you end up saving time and resources in the end. This way, you can ensure that only well-tested, highly functional apps are published, and allow your teams enough time to do their job like they are supposed to.

On the other hand, why do we also want to shift right?

It starts by asking question, how do we want to treat our product / application after deployment? Well Yes, of course we need to run recurring tests and listen to our users’ feedback after release!
By employing shift-right testing, we perform test based on usability insights and data signals, and carefully learn how launched product operates under real world situations when users actually use it.
The perks of shift-right testing is, we can narrow the gap between the QA team and the Operations team, to set up a continuous “feedback and improve” mechanism which is also crucial to product’s success.

Combination of Shift Right-Left Testing

To summarize, it is a reasonable decision to make testing an integral ingredient throughout your product’s lifetime. For maximum efficiency, responsibility is distributed across departments, and you can ship new releases to your customers in a timely and secure manner. We have to remind ourselves, even if your team carries out tests perfectly at every stage of the development cycle there is always room for improvement and pre-release and post-deployment testing are both equally important.

Lastly, in order to make testing even more efficient, we have to get automation into the equation. Manual testing causes new bottlenecks, and automated testing significantly increases the productivity by freeing engineers from recurring regression tests.

Hope this article helped you gain new insight into how highly established agile teams are actively testing out different theories from left to right.

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