Lack of automation remains a barrier to end-to-end QA and Testing
It’s that time of year when months of hard work, research, analysis and interpretation come to fruition in the launch of our annual World Quality Report (WQR). It is fascinating year-on-year to observe the changes (or not, in some cases) across the quality assurance (QA) and Testing environment. This year is no exception.
At the heart of our findings for the 2019 report is the continuation of the transition to agile and DevOps. This has created a need for more testing as the quality of releases underpins key business drivers, such as business growth, end-user satisfaction, cost control, and security. It is thus essential for QA and Testing to be aligned with business practices and objectives, as well as with customer expectations. Indeed, ‘contributing to business growth and business outcome’ is the No 1 priority of QA and Testing for this year’s WQR survey participants. It is clear that this demands knowledge of how best to orchestrate and organize QA and Testing activities, but we see that this remains a challenge.
In search of speed
One hurdle hindering QA and Testing teams is automation – yet again. The move to higher speeds in the software development and release cycle is not being matched by automation. This is evidenced by 63% of respondents to this year’s WQR survey citing a lack of end-to-end automation from build to deployment as a technical challenge, up from 55% last year. This was the most cited technical challenge by a long way, with security validation coming in second at 52%. So, it is no surprise that 48% cited slow testing process as a technical challenge, up from 43% last year.
There is also evidence of a struggle to leverage new, smart technologies in the testing process, such as AI for predictive testing. Further, there is insufficient guidance on how to test intelligently to increase the rate of automated testing.
From freedom to anarchy
So, what’s causing these issues? I believe one reason is that in today’s paced-environment, not enough attention has been paid to setting up and enabling teams to operate at speed in the transition to agile and DevOps. Another root cause is the lack of orchestration that I mention above. There is too much disorganization when working in an agile model, with a clear struggle between giving teams the freedom they need to be agile and what is, essentially, anarchy. In this anarchic set-up, teams go their own way on a project-by-project basis, rather than viewing the development cycle from an enterprise-wide perspective. That’s not to say I believe in centralized control for DevOps teams, rather it’s about giving teams an underpinning structure on which the freedom to be agile can be built.
Evolving the QA and Testing landscape
The above offers a flavor of some of the findings in this year’s World Quality Report. As always, the report includes a set of recommendations for evolving and improving QA and Testing outcomes with key areas on which to focus and new or enhanced approaches. The following are this year’s recommendations in brief:
- Build a smart and connected testing eco-system deploying intelligent analytics
- Expand AI-related skillsets within the test team by onboarding data science, statistics, mathematics, and more
- Raise awareness and visibility of test environments
- Adopt a center of excellence approach for test data management
- Re-imagine test automation as a platform
- Raise the game on security.
Find out what challenges and opportunities QA and Testing teams face in areas such as skills, security, budgets, automation and test environments in the 2019 World Quality report.