Agile

Continuous Development Evolves DevOps to DevTestOps

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In a world where technology moves at breakneck speed, most of us know the importance of keeping pace. That’s why traditional software development models are rapidly giving way to methodologies that are more dynamic.

DevOps is a partnership that emerged from this climate. The DevOps approach emphasizes communication, collaboration, and integration. And it does that by bringing your developers and your operations folks together.

But the term DevOps includes only development and operations in its name, and the reality is that we rely heavily on a third entity as well. To deliver software that’s up to today’s standards, you need to consider your testers an equal part of that equation. And so that’s what we’ll talk about today—why the term DevTestOps is a more fair and accurate representation of how companies deliver great software.

A Brief History

With traditional development models, software releases consisted of a series of handoffs. Specifically, developers coded to technical specifications and then passed their code to QA to test. Then, there was a final handoff to operations, who pushed the code into the production environment.

Now, you might notice that QA—the integral step between development and operations—isn’t reflected in the DevOps title. This is a problem. One of the primary components of DevOps is continuous delivery. And for continuous delivery to be successful, you need a substantial amount of testing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. When the tech industry shifted toward DevOps, it was a great thing. In fact, key findings from the 2016 State of DevOps report show the measurable benefits reported by organizations that have successfully incorporated DevOps:

  • Project teams deploy 200 times more frequently.
  • Teams spend 22% less time on unplanned work and fixes.
  • They also spend 29% more time on new features or code.
  • And finally, teams spend 50% less time on security issues.

The report says it best: “By better integrating information security objectives into daily work, teams achieve higher levels of IT performance and build more secure systems.”

Since many companies are eager to have results like these, we’re seeing an increase in DevOps adoption. After all, who doesn’t want the benefits of an accelerated development cycle? But for your software to be resilient, testers need to ensure that quality is built into the final product.

As you can see, DevOps, as it stands, is missing a key component.

Testers Pull Their Weight

If you’re not convinced that testers have earned their place among development and operations, consider this.

More data than ever is traversing the networks. According to DOMO, there’s an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created daily. And the world is releasing products at a pace that renders manual testing ineffective.

With all that’s going on, automation is essential. Testing such large amounts of data at fast-paced intervals necessitates it.

If you do smoke/regression testing, performance testing, and static tests, automation does the bulk of the work. That means more time for manual testing when there are subjective factors at play. We all know that sometimes you need human judgment.

However, this may prove to be a tall order. Over 70% of smaller companies have very little automation.

That means that the folks responsible for testing must deal with the challenge of test orchestration and automation on their own—either that or they must try to bear the entire burden with manual testing. Not only must QA teams ensure that code changes are fully functional and integrate well but they also must see that frequent releases don’t render the product unstable.

Yes, your developers and your operations folks are critical. But testers bear equal responsibility for the quality of the software you put out. With all these challenges, it would be hard to argue they don’t pull their weight just as much as the “dev” and “ops” in DevOps do.

Testers Help Break Down Silos, Too

Beyond logging defects, testers in environments work cross-functionally. Sound familiar? It’s what DevOps is all about.

Testers share the spirit of collaboration that defines the DevOps movement. They work to ensure that the entire system, not just an individual feature, is operating at an optimal level. From verifying app performance to validating output results from APIs, testing in continuous development environments covers a broad range of tasks.

And with the added responsibility comes greater visibility. Software testing is no longer limited to that of a supporting role. These folks are partners. QA and testing teams have come to the forefront as key players, in line with development and engineering. They’re breaking down silos as much as anyone else in a DevOps organization.

Based on this type of environment, you can see why the term DevTestOps is more fitting. The trifecta of development, testing, and operations are already working together as equals. In fact, just as the word DevTestOps blends three words into one, this approach blurs the lines between roles and responsibilities. And to a large extent, it also eliminates the need for those previously discussed handoffs—for developers to hand off to QA and then for QA to hand off to operations—in order to promote code into production. Instead, each discipline opens its communication channels and collaborates as one team towards a common goal.

One Final Reason to Put the Test in DevTestOps: Money

We’ve seen plenty of good reasons to call things like they are and adopt the term DevTestOps. The combination of development, testing, and operations brings about many benefits. But let’s get to the heart of why companies would want to make the shift in thinking.

The “test” in DevTestOps adds business value across the board, from rapid delivery to improved security. And herein lies an important point: revenue and profits rely on speedy development. So it’s imperative that you head off problems before they become major events. App crashes must be mitigated. Bugs need to be caught early. And we want the end-to-end user experience to be error-free.

QA is an essential part of making sure this is the case. You have to test in order to save yourself from costly problems like bugs. And the earlier in the development cycle you catch a bug, the cheaper it is to fix it.

So let’s give “test” the weight it deserves. Let’s move to the next step in DevOps evolution: DevTestOps. If we do that, it means we have our priorities in the right place, and we’re going to have more profitable businesses.

If we’re talking convincing reasons, this should be the most convincing one of all.

Moving Into the Future

Testers and QA teams champion their cause, influencing processes and decisions project-wide. A business’s concerns aren’t just matters for development and operations. As key players in continuous delivery, QA organizations have seized the opportunity to evolve, taking testing from error detection to error prevention. Now, it’s our turn to evolve from DevOps to DevTestOps organizations, acknowledging their equal importance in creating great software.

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