In today’s competitive market, being able to meet customers’ expectations and demands is the key for your organization to become the market leader among the competition. That is the reason why more and more companies are now making their move towards shift left testing and applying it into their product development processes.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the basic tenets of shift-left testing from a beginner’s perspective, plus the best practices to help you efficiently execute shift-left testing into your product development cycle.
What is Shift Left Testing?
Shift-left testing is a methodology mostly seen in software testing practices, however, its definition and functionalities remained confusing for many people.
On the surface, shift-left testing is usually defined as “test early and test often” — but this is not an entirely accurate definition. In fact, shift-left testing is only the first half of the maxim “test early and test often.”
Simply put, shift-left testing is an approach that helps to perform testing earlier in the product’s life cycle. In other words, as the name suggests, shift-left fundamentally shifts the testing phase to the left of the development process.
Unlike the traditional testing approach where testing is brought in at the end of the development process, the idea of shift-left testing is to involve the testing teams earlier in the process and to think about testing at all stages of the process. So, instead of dealing with a whole load of bugs and critical issues post-development, shift-left testing allows teams to prevent defects and mitigate risks as early as possible.
Why Shift-left Testing Matters?
This approach should matter to you as well as your organization as it emphasizes the test-early principle. It is a key determinant of reducing both costs and risks, increasing efficiency and quality, and gaining a competitive edge for your product. By adopting shift-left testing, companies are able to enable rapid and constant releases while remaining high-quality customer experience.
Additionally, with shift-left testing practices in place, the product team is now incorporate testing early in their pipeline, thus advance faster, seamlessly improve and win over the competition in the market.
The Advantages of Shift-left Approach
The use of shift-left testing yields the following advantages:
- Test early, test often: By involving testers sooner, developers will catch problems earlier in the development process, generating more time to correct found issues and preventing compound errors. Since defects and errors are discovered earlier, less effort is wasted into working with a flawed implementation.
- Testing continuously: Testing continuously again and again with a shorter feedback loop will help avoid having to resolve defects in the end.
- Faster time to market: By adopting shift-left testing, companies can take an all-inclusive approach for their development. This, in turn, will lead to a faster time to market.
- Lower development costs and better software quality: Shift-left testing allows the development teams to detect and fix bugs faster, which over time means lower development costs and better software quality.
- Better ROI: By addressing issues at the point of origin, shift-left testing clearly achieves better ROI.
Importance of Test Automation in Shift-left Approach
Test Automation and Shift-left testing are a great combination for meeting the demand to effectively deliver software products in a much shorter time. By utilizing test automation, testers and developers can automate testing across all stages and processes of the systems development life cycle (SDLC) such as development, production, test, deployment, and so on. Here are focus should be showing the testing pyramid and show what all testing can be done in different.
Best Practices in an Agile Environment
- Integration: Integrating testing into all development and project management processes will save the team’s time and effort to complete the testing cycle and prevent duplication of tasks significantly.
- Adopt more test automation: While automation is not a requirement of shift-left testing, it does help the process run must faster, boost continuous delivery and drive more confidence in each release.
- Create test cases: It is recommended to create test cases that broadly cover either functional processes or operation patterns to reduce the total number of test cases to be created in the future and also speed up the SDLC.
- Continuous feedback mechanism: Setting up a continuous feedback mechanism will help testers to give feedback to developers consistently, and as such, the chances of errors will be reduced.
- Specifying quality standards: Having a clear view of quality and non-negotiable areas will help testers in applying the right spin, key, and rigor to the code – whether it is done early or later in the pipeline. More best practices could be found here.
After all, the idea behind shift-left testing is to apply critical testing practices earlier in the development lifecycle. While shift-left testing might sound like the perfect approach to help you in the testing process before rolling out new products, it can also be very challenging. So make sure that you are aware of the barriers to shift-left testing, or you will find yourself headed for disasters.