The results are in: Quality assurance (QA) testing quality is going up while costs are coming down. According to the latest edition of the World Quality Report, the share of IT budget allocated to QA testing has been falling year-on-year for the last four years.
As the founder and CEO of QA Mentor, an independent software testing company, this trend isn’t setting off any alarm bells for me — on the contrary. Just as the report authors pointed out, this pattern is a sign that software testing has left the fringe end of the IT industry spectrum and burst into the mainstream.
One of the main factors underpinning this trend has been the growing symbiosis between DevOps and Agile frameworks and software testing practices. In the early years of DevOps and Agile adoption, fear loomed large that QA testing would go extinct, with developers expected to shoulder the lion’s share of testing efforts. As it turned out, this didn’t happen. QA testing has merely evolved to keep up with today’s technology and client expectations for faster delivery.
If you don’t believe me, here are three reasons why QA testing now costs less but yields better results than before:
QA sync-up with DevOps cycle is getting smoother
Quicker turnaround times, easier maintenance of existing deployments and superior quality are just some of the reasons DevOps and Agile provide better ROI. Software testing tools and practices keep pace with these new methodologies in a number of ways, starting with supporting continuous testing, integration and development — all necessary parts of DevOps and Agile.
As a result, QA teams gain essential insights into the performance of each testing stage, whether it’s unit, integration, system or acceptance. These insights translate into actionable data managers use to make faster, intelligent decisions that reduce time-to-market and shorten release cycles.
Another important feature of DevOps and Agile is the definition of metrics that ensure sprints are conducted efficiently. QA professionals test against these criteria to:
• Identify the most competent scenarios
• Determine if the conversion of source code files into standalone software products is being carried out
• Gauge if the tests are indexed to the client requirements
• Verify if the pass/fail rate of each sprint is justified and if the bottleneck of bugs is expanding or narrowing
On top of all this, test cases must be automated for 100% code coverage, environments have to be consistent and everything from pre-testing and planning to clean up and post-production release validation has to be automated and synced with continuous integration. The final result is smooth development without glitches that would otherwise corrupt your application or result in high rework costs.
The rise of virtualization contributes to better quality testing
The World Quality Report cited the growth of virtualization as a contributing influence in the proliferation of QA testing — and for a good reason. Virtualization is also part of the larger DevOps trend that enables firms to simulate interfaces and various resources that may not be available for testing due to higher capital costs, general overhead or other barriers.
It helps scale continuous testing, which reduces the time-to-market because QA professionals aren’t required to test every product module, and virtualization makes it easier to gain insights about the performance of associated components in an isolated, demo environment. Product quality goes up as well on the heels of live replicas of product deployment scenarios, making it simpler for QAs to find bugs and defects.
This means that the right virtualization tools speed up the delivery of complex test environments. Unlike before, virtualization makes it possible for teams to start integration testing earlier in the cycle, perform it more frequently, reduce dependencies and cut down setup time.
Finally, virtualization enables QA teams to create and access any environment needed to develop or test an application and work in parallel with developers. In other words, they don’t have to wait for the application to be completed to begin integration testing.
Cloud computing is a new territory for software testing
Performing software testing on the cloud is fast becoming the No. 1 choice of enterprises, and it’s easy to see why. When your number of users is volatile and there’s a lot of discrepancy in deployment environments, cloud computing becomes more cost-efficient. That’s because internet-based platforms aren’t hard on your hardware, you test on demand and don’t accrue as many software maintenance costs.
Most options are secure, but with a private cloud provider, there’s even less reason to worry about cyberattacks and other malware. It saves time for faster turnaround and wipes out setup headaches — the cloud subscription services enable QA teams to begin testing the second they open their browser.
Moreover, cloud testing enables teams to decelerate or accelerate as needs change and objectives get disrupted. Scalability is a zeitgeist of our time — without it, enterprises won’t be able to navigate the choppy waters of our transformation age.
While cloud-best testing has been on the rise, the pandemic has demonstrated that most organizations aren’t nimble enough to course-correct and adapt their business model in accordance with unforeseen changes. Lastly, the cloud allows firms to bounce from catastrophe, especially the loss of vital assets during migration or as a result of weak backup procedures.
The fact that enterprises now allocate smaller shares of their IT budget to QA testing is no cause for concern — far from it. It’s an indication that testing is so widespread that companies can’t imagine their release cycle without it.
With the burgeoning of DevOps and Agile testing, practices are advancing to enable quicker delivery with superior results while keeping costs down. Three main factors have contributed to this: QA’s painless coordination with new development practices, the growing popularity of virtualization and cloud computing exploding on the scene as the new frontier of software testing. That’s why QA is now taken as matter-of-factly with no signs of slowing down.