How Digital Assurance & Testing Help Build Agile Enterprises?

Digital assurance and testingPokemon Go has been creating buzz since July 2016 post its launch in select countries and is by far the most popular mobile game in the US history. Numbers and popularity charts could be working out for Nintendo, however, some enterprise-level IT security managers have a different take on this app. While the trend of getting hi-end mobile devices and related accessories at workplaces continues, gaming apps like Pokemon Go are fizzing concerns around Server hacks, unauthorized permissions, and more.

Though Pokemon Go seems like a recent and peculiar threat, industry enthusiasts opine that any such application loaded on a personal device within an enterprise can pose a potent risk.

There is a chaotic hustle around making enterprises/workplaces more Agile and flexible to drive productivity and ease of operation for employees. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is considered as a catalyst for making enterprise more user-friendly, flexible and more responsive. While we say so, the major challenge is for the IT security teams with issues concerning the overall implementation of policies and effective security measures to determine and manage security lapses.

As they say, Bring Your Own Device; Not your own Virus!

Ready for an Agile boost?

The Agile Manifesto published in 2001 by a niche group of IT leaders evaluates the core principles of an Agile set-up for any enterprise. Fundamental question posed, Is your enterprise ready for the Agile run?

The underlying principles mentioned to asses or determine the impact of Agile implementation within an enterprise are organizational culture, working style and overall attitude, which will prove to be a digital enabler in the current high-speed, competent, and self-made digital economy.

With phenomenal changes across world economies and overall customer experience, businesses and organizations are being pushed towards the edge of the profit churning cycle. There is a growing need to redefine the way the workforce operates and delivers. Policies and processes that enable speed and better accessibility will gain momentum in serving their customers (both internal and external) better.

Thanks to the changing dynamics of consumer expectations, businesses are getting more flexible and robust with their systems at the same time.

Getting ‘digitally’ Agile

A recent Gartner research infers that almost 42% of organizations are expected to increase the spending on mobile app development by an average 31% in 2016. Digital technologies are today connecting enterprises, redefining the work dynamics, and addressing almost every aspect of the business operations.

At a recently held ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2016 in Vientiane, Laos, President and Managing Director of Bosch Southeast Asia Martin Hayes said, “We need effective leadership to overcome the challenges in an uncertain environment. Both business and political leaders should possess the knowledge and capability to be agile, adaptable and resilient” The session was based on the theme ‘The Future of Technology – Focusing on the Digital Economy’.

As the work environment gets digital and more connected, there is a focussed requirement for flawless user experience and robust security measures. What integrates and orchestrates every digital element together is ‘Digital Assurance’.

Digital Assurance enables every device, application, Web / Mobile platform to interact seamlessly within the ecosystem. The ultimate outcome is smooth and undivided user/ customer engagement that leads to the desired action. At the same time, the user should be assured about the data and system’s security from any probable hacking attempt.

Taking into perspective the security aspects and user experience, the need for Digital Assurance and testing has taken a massive leap. It is a critical piece in the overall Digital Transformation and Digital Assurance jigsaw.

With digital technology touching every aspect of the business operations, Digital Assurance & testing has got highlighted as a front-end function that is rapidly influencing the product / application’s design and development.

Digital Assurance & Testing for sustained and secure growth strategy

In 2015, Starbucks faced a major software glitch due to an ‘internal failure’, which resulted in 60% of stores in the US & Canada getting shut down. The failure took place during a routine refresh, where stores were unable to process payments and at a point of time even gave away the coffee for free. Practically, the registers were used to place orders and store cash. Eventually, it accumulated extensive data to carry out tasks like processing credit cards, placing orders at kitchens and keep a track of the loyalty programs.

Instances like these can cause nightmare for international brands that are digitally connected and depend on the digital platform for their survival. Assuring the performance of such systems with robust testing strategy is indispensable.

 An enterprise can get Agile, but at what cost?

Answer to this ever-provoking question is Digital Assurance. Understanding the implications and benefits of Digital Assurance & testing in an organization’s digital landscape is critical and definitely the need of the hour!

Concurrently, it is important to ensure that the right testing strategy is adopted to get required results. Here, we try and address a few of them:

  • Quality models for the digital era:

The Digital era is redefining the role of testing in the overall development landscape. With new age methods like Shift-left, testing is taking a holistic view and understanding various dimensions of consumer experience. Resultantly, there is a growing need to adopt the best and contemporary testing technologies to check issues/bugs within the digital sphere.

  • Omni-channel testing:

Omni-channel application testing focuses on the ensuring enhanced digital experience of the users. Aspects like performance, ease of use and functionality play a key role for any successful user experience. Omni-channel interactions work profoundly for connected devices and multiple digital touch points.

  • Testing solutions for agile projects:

Within an agile environment, the testing needs have to align with the intrinsic requirements. Test Automation with Service Virtualization work effectively to minimize the glitches and minimize downtime.

  • Cloud for testing:

Cloud and virtual environment for testing are increasingly getting effective for testing applications / solutions that can accelerate performance and ensure seamless integration. So, there is a growing demand for cloud-based and virtualized environment for testing large scale enterprise applications.

Enterprises are getting more connected with the sole push to get more agile. Digital Assurance is an ever-rising need for ensuring performance in this connected environment. In terms of testing strategy, there will always be a compulsive need to bring quality, automation and foresight while deploying business critical applications.

Gallop has worked with enterprises of all shapes and sizes and has brought them to speed in this digitally charged and connected ecosystem. Global enterprises have leveraged Gallop’s frameworks for continuous test automation and performance testing to improve their Quality Assurance and Testing practices.

Connect with Gallop experts to get your business digitally Agile.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

10 Emerging Trends in Software Testing: Predictions for the next decade

10 Emerging Trends in Software Testing

The last decade has seen an overwhelming evolution of the software testing industry giving way to greener pastures. This rapid scale of development is keeping not just the developers, but also the testers on tenterhooks, making them to continuously strive to upgrade their skills. Even businesses today need to be even more aware of what is best in terms of performance and security. This disruption has been caused by the new technologies, and it is always challenging for testers to overcome the new issues posed by these upcoming technologies.

2015 saw the acceptance of testing as an early activity in the software development lifecycle. This was predominantly due to the widespread adoption of Agile and DevOps methodologies by organizations across the globe. The goal was to get their apps faster to the market. 2015 also saw an increase in the use of virtualization and service oriented architecture along with cloud computing that led to many testing tool vendors vying for the market space in the testing arena.

This post summarizes the Top 10 emerging trends/predictions for the next decade that may change the landscape of software testing. This is based on our observations and experience with leading Fortune 500 enterprises and industry analyst research reports. It is interesting to discover each of these trends and to know how enterprises as well as testing professionals can get leverage these trends, re-strategize or re-skill themselves.

  1. The Future belongs to Open Source Tools: The next decade (may be more!) will see a lot of Open source tools in action as more and more organizations will adopt them for proper implementation of Agile, DevOps, and Test Automation. Support communities for the open source tools can only become more and more involved and active.
  1. Quality @ High speed is the new mantra: Everyone wants the best products in the fastest possible time. This is making organizations focus on providing the best user experience along with the fastest time to market. The speed is only going to increase (and the quality better) with the latest technologies and tools at the disposal of teams.
  1. Software Development Engineers in Test (SDETs) will be in huge demand: SDETs have been existing among us since almost a decade, but their role was very different from traditional testing roles. That said, by early 2020, almost all testers will need to wear an SDET hat to be successful in the field of Test Automation, that is going to become mainstream.
  1. Agile and DevOps will rule the roost – TCoE is dead: According to Forrester, organizations are not looking at having centralized Test Centers of Excellence anymore. Test automation developers today are now a part of the agile teams. The erstwhile testing arena is making a shift towards quality engineering, and testing is intended to become more iterative, progressive, and seamlessly integrated with development.
  1. Digital Transformation is here to stay: With a majority of organizations making a foray in the digital world, the need for digital transformation will require a huge shift of focus towards digital testing. Robust strategies for digital assurance will be required for focusing on optimizing functional testing across channels.
  1. BigData Testing will become really BIG: We are sitting atop an explosive amount of BigData today and need to have a very strong strategy around BigData Testing. Testing datasets requires highly analytical tools, techniques, and frameworks, and is an area that is set to grow big.
  1. IoT: Heralding an era of Connected Devices: With IoT growing in leaps and bounds, more and more customers rely on IoT Testing before using the products. If the products are not tested, their functionality, security, and effectiveness – all will come under scanner. According to a HP study, 70 percent of devices in the Internet of Things are vulnerable to security problems.
  1. DevOps will drive Quality Engineering: DevOps ideology is based on seamless collaboration and integration between the different departments of an IT Organization – developers, quality professionals, and IT professionals. Testing plays a business-critical role as developers are involved not just in the correctness of their code, but also in the testing and overall Quality engineering aspects. DevOps thus is propelling businesses towards greater speeds of deployment and quality assurance and is thus helping them realize higher returns on investment and faster time to market in a cost-efficient manner.
  1. Performance Engineering is replacing Performance Testing: Repeating a cliché – “A good user experience is the key to a successful product”. Consistent performance across diverse platforms, OSs, and devices defines how much of a market can a product really capture. The need to provide the best experience to users is making organizations change their strategy. They are now moving away from just providing Performance tests to providing Performance engineering.
  1. The best news is that Software Testing Budgets will continue to grow: It is but obvious that with such huge focus and demand for high quality products, and with major IT trends such as BigData analytics, Cloud Technologies, Mobility, and Virtualization, Testing has become more than just a need. This will push the organizations towards allocating a bigger chunk of their IT budget (around 40%) for software testing and QA.

About Kalyana Rao Konda

Kalyan is the President & Global Head of Gallop Solutions Inc. With 17+ years of experience in IT Services, specifically software testing, Kalyan has led large QA teams of 2000+ people at AppLabs as VP-Delivery and had been in QA leadership roles with Virtusa&BaaN earlier. He has a rare mix of high technical understanding with a pragmatic approach to testing services delivery. A strong proponent of Testing-as-a-Service (TaaS) delivery model, Kalyan is a thought leader with hands on expertise in building large scale test automation suites, executing and maintaining them. He has a patent pending with USPTO for ‘iGenerate test Scenario’ and ‘Web Services Validator’ filed last year. Kalyan is a speaker at various testing conferences including DevOps East, StarEast& Agile Testing Conference in Boston. He was recently awarded the prestigious “40 Under 40 Award 2016” from the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Do not forget to access the On-Demand Webinar on Testing Trends here:

http://www.gallop.net/webinar-on-10-emerging-trends-in-software-testing

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Successfully Implementing TDD/BDD to Enable Shift-Left Testing Approach

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Today, when developers are using tools like J unit/N unit for testing their code, approaches such as test driven development (TDD) and behaviour driven development (BDD) focus on improving the quality of the code that is being written. Though the approaches require a different mind-set, the objective remains the same.

Usually Behaviour driven development is focused on the business behaviour of your code: the “why” behind the code. The focus is usually on the intent rather than process. It supports a team-centric (especially cross-functional) workflow. BDD works really well when a developer and either the agile product owner or a business analyst sit down together and write the pending specifications:

  • The business person specifies the exact functionality they want to see in the system.
  • The developer asks questions based on their understanding of the system, while also writing down additional behaviours needed from a development perspective.

Ideally, both parties can refer to the list of current system behaviours to see if this new feature will break existing features. This way quality comes first and the entire product is understood which decreases the defect entry into the development related to requirements or functionality of the system.

Test Driven development on the other hand focuses on implementation of the system. For example, writing a better quality code that helps in maintaining the health of the code with no nonsense into the system.

Approaches like TDD/BDD are used to understand the requirements clearly without any ambiguities and help developers to write tests in a way that makes code execution successful. These methods enable testers to think of solutions using a bottom up approach that helps prevention of defects in the later stages. This approach also helps clarify any ambiguities in the requirements early on in the software development lifecycle, before coding actually begins. With an increased level of understanding of the features and requirements, developers know what exactly needs to be coded, as also what needs to be included or excluded in the code, thereby preventing leakage of defects into the code in the later phases of development lifecycle. The mindset and ability to focus on producing quality product with minimum to no defects from inception/upstream process is enabled by these methods that complement the shift left approach.

While the development teams like this approach, the project teams blame the TDD/BDD process for slowing down the software development process. However, it has been realized that implementation of TDD/BDD practices in the initial development phases enables organizations face lower defects in the later stages. This helps in the maintenance of the code, increases the defect removal efficiency, and also reduces the time to market of the product. The TDD/BDD approach is also best suited for applications where the requirements undergo progressive elaboration. The frequently tested code has lesser defects and enables faster delivery of working software to the clients.

Practices like unit testing and adopting TDD/BDD provide high code coverage coupled with faster feedback regarding unexpected defects/surprises/issues and thus becomes an additive element in the reinforced process.

TDD/BDD practices also enhance practices like requirement management for covering the finer topics like requirement elicitation, requirements acceptance criteria, and requirements review prior to the development process. Requirement traceability is also enhanced when test cases are traced back to the requirements giving a picture of test coverage functionally.

A seamless implementation of both approaches identifies defects early on in the SDLC process, reduce risks, and reduce cost of rework which is a significant cost in software development process. TDD/BDD helps align the mind-set to the left focussing on quality from concept-to-cash for building the right product with the right intent in the best possible way.

In a nutshell, the BDD/TDD practices enable the following:

  • Move defect identification and prevention to the left (early stages of SDLC)
  • Reduce issues/surprises/incidents in the production
  • Help teams stay focused on Continuous Delivery
  • Compliment the agile/iterative development
  • Improve the overall build deployability by reduced lead times and increased quality
The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Practical Approach for Improving Agile Testing Maturity – Part 2

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Continuing from where we left off in Practical Approach for Improving Agile Testing Maturity – Part 1, let us deep dive into the remaining critical factors for improving an organizations’ agile testing maturity. As explained, the 5 steps to improve your agile test maturity are:

  1. Discover and Document
  2. Analyze and Benchmark
  3. Develop a Roadmap
  4. Transformation Approach
  5. Continuous Process Improvement

We discussed the first two steps in the previous blog. Let us now see what the remaining steps entail.

Develop a Roadmap

Based on the results and inferences that can be made from the Analyze and benchmark phase, a transformation agenda can be generated. This agenda, if adopted, will act as a roadmap to convert your goals into reality. The Vision and Mission must be clearly drafted and put in place. The roadmap should contain both long-and-short term strategic objectives that are aligned with achieving the business goals.

At a very high-level, the roadmap should include the objectives being targeted, the low-hanging fruits, quick wins, and the potential benefits. Usually a roadmap must be proposed against a set of focus areas or business objectives governed with a strategy, reference models, and enablers that complement the mission. In a testing environment, the organizations can focus on the following focus areas including, but not limited to Testing in Agile Environment, Test Coverage Enhancements, Improving the Testing Lead times, and focusing on the elements that enable the transformation. Organization can do a quick cost benefit analysis, prioritize the areas for improvement based on the value proposition, the business impact, and return on investment (ROI). Categorizing the improvement areas will help teams to stay focused and resilient. Usually efforts invested in enhancing customer satisfaction, quality, and product alignment take precedence over efforts being made on improving the operational efficiency.

That said, a roadmap without a proper transformation approach is as useless as trying to reach a destination without a proper route map to reach there.

Transformation Approach

Transformation approach is another vital aspect for converting Vision to Mission. A Target Operating Model has to be designed that sets the tone for transformation. This model can be developed with all the intended and implied needs of customers or clients. For an organization invested in, is following agile development, and is focused on improving its testing maturity, the following focus areas may be considered:

  • Test Organization
  • Functional and Non-functional test coverage
  • Test Efficiency
  • Test Tools Management
  • Transformation levers such as Knowledge base, Skilled resources, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), infrastructural needs etc.

In essence, the Target Operating Model is a low level framework and a workable solution with the finest of the details in the transformation strategy.

In the later stages, transformation can be noticed in the re-baselining of processes, training the associates on improved process, piloting the improvements in a phased manner, collecting the feedback and then re-optimizing the processes. This is an everlasting, continuing loop that organizations should tend to adopt for meeting the ever increasing demands and needs of their clients/customers.

Continuous Process Improvement

Having discussed the roadmap and transformation stages, let us get now get an insight on the process improvement journey. A continuous process improvement requires formal self-assessment/Independent audits/Third party audits to be put in place with the help of industry accepted frameworks, or customized and home grown frameworks.

The incessant demands and needs of the customers force the organizations to adapt new changes and improve existing processes. Hence, the entire ecosystem we spoke about earlier comes into scope and is again applicable.

Audits and assessments give us ample opportunities for finding the shortfalls in the system against the current business needs or prevailing conditions, thus enabling us to focus on the new improvement aspects. The shortfalls are addressed by taking corrective actions that enable improving the existing agile testing environments. This never ending journey helps organizations keep on their toes and motivate them for making continuous improvements to their process according to the changing demand scenarios created by their customers. These changes and improvements help come up with better, and user friendly features that make the product more popular and stable, thereby bringing about a much desired increase in the demand.

Organizations that try to follow and implement these 5 steps to improve their agile test maturity will definitely see a marked positive impact in their business outcomes.

If you are a large organization trying to implement an Agile test automation strategy, contact Gallop’s team of test automation experts. Our tool agnostic test automation framework consists of a huge library of keywords that help you build your tests quickly and efficiently, and seamlessly integrate with leading commercial and open source tools.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Practical Approach for Improving Agile Testing Maturity – Part 1

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Today, a lot of software is being developed (and tested) in increasingly Agile environments for accelerating the product delivery with uncompromised quality and ability to manage the ever-changing priorities. Boundaries between diverse functions are shrinking and roles and responsibilities are undergoing a big shift. Organizations aspiring to be competitive still find it challenging to adapt to these changes. It is only with an increased level of understanding about Agile testing, its impact, and its methodologies, that the Agile practice attains a level of maturity and acceptance, that organizations will be able to grow and expand.

The number of organizations embracing Agile methods has been steadily increasing even though there are a number of obstacles. However, the good news is that more and more organizations are becoming confident and show growing levels of maturity in applying Agile testing processes.

What is Agile Testing?

Agile testing, per Wiki, “is a software testing practice that follows the principles of agile software development.” It involves cross-functional agile teams whose members are usually testing experts responsible for delivering the required business value at frequent intervals.

A few challenges in Agile Testing:

  • Lack of comprehensive testing approaches that may fit with existing agile environments
  • Applying test automation to agile projects poses another challenge
  • Improper identification of the focus areas of focus
  • Unavailability of testing tools for creation of reusable test sets
  • Unavailability of skilled agile testing expertise

What is Agile Testing Maturity?

Agile Testing Maturity refers to the level at which an organization has implemented the best practices using Agile Principles and models like SCRUM, SAFe. However, a practical approach to improve the maturity level is to follow a model like CMMI or TMMI which provides a staged approach for improving the maturity.The Agile testing maturity model (ATMM) acts as a Team related maturity model that helps you measure the current levels of Agile maturity.

5 Steps to Improve Your Agile Test Maturity

  1. Discover and Document
  2. Analyze and Benchmark
  3. Develop a Roadmap
  4. Transformation Approach
  5. Continuous Process Improvement

We will cover the first two steps – Discover and Document & Analyze and Benchmark in this blog. The remaining steps will be covered in the next blog.

Discover and Document

Based on the goals and objectives of your organization, use this step to clearly define where you want to go. Use customized questionnaires and inventory templates to capture the AS-IS state of the Agile maturity in your organization and document your goals, constraints, timelines, risks, and the key focus areas.

Analyze and Benchmark

The best way to go about improving the Agile maturity of an organization is to know exactly where you stand. Using this as the starting point, assess where you are in terms of the existing implemented processes and People, Test Automation & Performance, and Tools, Environment, and Test Data practices around agile implementation. Develop an end-to-end Agile Test Assessment Framework using models like TMMI, TPI, Agile, DevOps and ITIL, and prioritize key focus areas per their maturity levels and benchmark them against industry.

The following sample image depicts the various components involved in providing Agile Test Maturity to an organization:agile testing, agile principles, agile models, scrum, agile testing maturity model, agile project management tools, agile test environment, test data, test automation, test automation framework, gallop solutions, software testing, software testing services, quality assurance testing, software testing company, gallop solutions review, Agile-testing-maturity

The components are described below.

People

People form the backbone of any system that aspires to become huge. Agile values and principles strongly voice them. Hence, cross-functional skills, motivation levels, learning appetite of the resources becomes critical success factors within organization. Agile testing also in similar lines needs people who are competent, skilled and versatile in testing various platforms.

Following are some commonly found stages of agile team formations:

  1. Forming: At this level, the Team starts to perform as an Agile team with roles and responsibilities fully understood.
  2. Agile Bonding: At this level, the Agile team starts getting accustomed to the new rules and starts to work in tandem as a well-knit team.
  3. Performing: At this level, the team is a fully-functional Agile team that has understood the concept of Agile and SCRUM.
  4. Scaling: At this level, the Agile Team is mature enough to develop its own methods of working based on continuous improvement.

Processes

This covers the multiple processes that support and complement collocated and geographically distributed teams. A set of customizable practices and lean processes need to be implemented in the projects for producing quality products with accelerated delivery.

Agile Project Management Tools, Test Environment, and Test Data

These crucial set of elements need special attention. Agile Project Management Tools such as Atlassian – Jira, Microsoft-TFS, Rally, and Version One go a long way in helping organizations improve their Agile Testing Maturity. Using these tools, geographically distributed teams can access real-time updates, thereby improving the transparency and information. Continuous integration and continuous deployment also increases the rate of feedback and provides space to teams to react and fix the issues/bugs instantly. Testing teams should be provided with agile test environments that closely resemble the production environment. This instils better confidence with regards to product performance and delivery in the real time scenario. Today a lot of licensed and open-source test environment provisioning tools help teams to have test environments set up with a push button, saving a lot of time and effort. Similarly, automation is being used for test data management wherever possible to cater to the needs of testing, thereby reducing manual intervention and ensuring accuracy and timeliness for test data provisioning.

Test Automation & Performance

While delivering products at sheer speed, the delivery pipeline needs to be robust and flexible enough to meet the continuous demand without compromising on the quality of the product. There exists an opportunity with modern set of IT tools for organizations to automate certain amount of manual tasks. This results in reduced manual efforts due to the improvements the in terms of testing the products performance. Automation strategy for testing helps expedite the process of delivery and quality checks with minimum effort and maximized ROI.  Test Automation framework is the key factor to get beneficial out of test automation.

Amature Agile Testing approach adds a lot of positive business benefits such as reduced time to go-to-market with a product showcasing the complete understanding of the customers’ requirements, helps teams to feel appreciated and valued which makes them want to contribute further and add more value to the organization.

Read on for the remaining steps – Develop a Roadmap, Transformation Approach, and Continuous Improvement – that will be covered in the next blog.

If you are a large organization trying to implement an Agile test automation strategy, contact Gallop’s team of test automation experts. Our tool agnostic test automation framework consists of a huge library of keywords that help you build your tests quickly and efficiently, and seamlessly integrate with leading commercial and open source tools.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Putting Quality First Through Continuous Testing

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The one thing that can make or break an organization in today’s competitive age is the Quality of the products it creates. To meet, and then beat the severe competition, every organization must be able to showcase excellence in their offerings and deliver quality, robust applications.

Delivering a Quality product implies delivering a product that provides the best performance according to users’ requirements, and is bug-free.

To meet this requirement, every organization is scouting for newer, yet proven ways of working that can help their teams work in a seamless manner to produce the most reliable product. In their search for well-established processes, a lot of companies are making an effort to adopt DevOps as part of their culture.

DevOps creates a culture that helps in achieving the goals of quality and time to market by employing the following means:

  • Collaborative Development: Or shift-left to increase the understanding and collaboration between cross-functional teams
  • Continuous Integration (CI) & Continuous Testing (CT): While Agile suggests continuous integration and testing, it does not call it a mandatory function. In a DevOps environment, however, both Continuous Integration & Continuous Testing are mandatory to be performed. This has a huge impact on the quality of a product.
  • Continuous Release and Deployment: With a shippable product ready after every integration, there is a marked increase in the frequency of product release and deployment
  • Continuous Monitoring: Continuously monitoring the performance of a product helps improve the quality multifold.

So once you begin your shift-left journey, and things become more streamlined across functions, CT of your product is what needs to be planned for, and implemented.

CT, per Wiki, is “the process of executing automated tests as part of the software delivery pipeline to obtain immediate feedback on the business risks associated with a software release candidate.”

There should be a mechanism to check for feedback at the end of each phase to check whether the product is all ready for the next phase – or it requires some corrective actions before moving ahead.

CT aims at delivering go-to-market ready, high-quality, robust working code at a frequency and ensures quality at every phase of the app’s development. It comprises Unit tests, API testing, Integration testing, and System testing at each phase of SDLC, thus incorporating consistent quality checks at every step of the SDLC process starting with design, building the app and through all phases of production. An effective testing and quality process enables faster time to market, constant releases and minimizes risks in the post production phase. For instance, in the Automobile segment, Continuous Testing at every phase of the production process is inevitable.

Following is a list of the fundamental objectives of Continuous testing:

  1. Get a holistic view of the application / product
  2. Ensure efficacy, quality, and robustness
  3. Flawless delivery
  4. Faster time to market

So how exactly does Continuous Testing help promote Quality?

Continuous Testing facilitates and empowers you with an automated, seamless way to obtain prompt feedback on the business risks associated with the application / product. This helps maintain quality, but ensures effective entry in the market place.

Following are a few activities performed as part of the CT process that help create – and promote – Quality of a product:

  • Use a Version control system for the automation test scripts: Proper, centralized management of test scripts makes it easier for everyone involved to use the critical asset. This helps provide anytime access to all the latest test scripts that need to be executed. Removal of ambiguity with regards to the latest code builds and accessibility has a direct impact on the speed of test execution and the generation of the quality results as expected.
  • Integrate the build deployment tool with an automation suite: Integrating the build deployment tool and the automation suite helps centralize the execution of tests and the reporting of the results. This helps increase the speed of test executions, thus reducing the go-to-market time. Again, centralization of the activities will help testing everything – thus creating a more robust and reliable product.
  • A few typical tests run at each checkpoint are the health checks (- if the services are up as required), smoke tests (- if the key features are operating as planned and there are no critical defects), and regression tests (- controls the feedback time by executing automated tests in parallel via multiple threads or machines).

In case of any failure, all deployment must be stopped and the entire DevOps team – developers, testers and operations staff – starts taking the required corrective action. These continuous, frequent feedback loops help create a stable, quality product.

For example, with the consistent innovation and demands in the segment of Mobility services, continuous Quality checks related to performance, usability and security are a must to create high quality mobile apps across various development platforms.

While testing is often ignored when it comes to DevOps – it may actually prove to be a major blow to your dream of achieving true success. Gallop Solutions helps you realize the gains that DevOps can bring with a proper automated testing framework in place. Integrating automated testing with your DevOps is the best thing to do if you want to save on time and money, while increasing quality and time to market. To take your testing & QA needs to the next level and know more about performing Continuous testing, contact us at info@gallop.net.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

5 Drivers of Differentiation which you must test

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Risk-free businesses don’t exist – not even in the wildest of fantasies. If you have a business to run, it will have risks involved, and to survive – and thrive – you will need to face and overcome these risks. Next generation product and services industry will heavily focus around Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and more importantly, Internet of Things and Virtual Reality.

Let us try to understand a a couple of these which are already contributing to an organization’s growth, sustenance and differentiation. Subjecting these to intense, planned testing is what is needed to ensure the sustained differentiation.

  1. Mobile Apps: There’s hardly any industry left today that is untouched by the presence or use of mobiles. It is only obvious the kind of risks this involves – all features of all products must function seamlessly across all types of all mobile devices on all platforms at all times. One can only imagine the kind of risks involved in keeping all these activities running smoothly.
  2. Digital Transformation: The need to go digital and have a global digital imprint is making organizations resort to a lot of online activities that leave a big scope for hackers to make hay. More so, in the hands of the wrong people, digital security-related records of governments can pose a big security threat.
  3. Big Data & Analytics: A lot of companies are making a foray into the world of big data and analytics today. This is helping to generate a lot of statistical data that can be utilized for creating a better standard of life. Just imagine what may happen if the data collected – or analyzed – is incorrect, and the same data is implemented. Big risk, right?
  4. Automation: Automate everything seems to be today’s buzzword. Newer and better versions of automation tools and automated products are hitting the market every day. As long as the tools and products behave in the manner expected, it’s great. But what if the automation tool goes wrong and actually breaks a product? Effort will be lost, time will be lost, and go-to-market and ROI delayed.
  5. Internet of Things: With the increasing adoption of IoT there will be a tremendous opportunity for IoT testing (devices and software) in 2015 and years to come. Technology analysts Gartner suggest that IoT is currently at the ‘peak of inflated expectations’. IoT has also been identified as one of the emerging technologies in IT as noted in Gartner’s IT Hype Cycle.

So how do we create a risk mitigation plan for dealing with the challenges that come packaged when running either of the businesses listed above? Having a specialized team of experienced testing professionals with experience in each of these testing domains will ensure you leverage industry best practices in Quality Assurance.

In essence, if organizations use either in-house talent, or approach specialized independent testing service providers for performing thorough testing of apps, tools, or devices, they can take care of most of the risks.

Get in touch with us at Gallop to get further guidance on getting your products tested for a better ROI.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Testing is a Process, not just a Phase

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Should Testing just be another Phase?

We all accept that Testing forms an important part of the software development life cycle (SDLC). However, the reason why a lot of organizations fail is the fact that they segregate testing as a single unit – a phase. When Testing is treated as just another ‘phase’, the implementation of this business-critical task suffers. Organizations try to club all sorts of tests and try to test their product for all possible areas at the fag-end of the development cycle. This naturally is impacted by the looming deadlines of the product launch, as also other pressures due to which the testing is not fool-proof. A product that has not been tested fully will naturally not be robust. There will always be a doubt regarding its security, performance, and functionality. So what can these organizations do to improve their testing process?

The answer is actually fairly simple.

Instead of trying to overburden the tester to test for completeness just before launching the product, plan your test related activities. While planning the product development phases, identify the types of tests you need to execute for your product. Then, allocate specific time and resources for performing tests related to the different phases. This also helps verifying and validating the product, as also drastically reduces the number of bugs that may otherwise be found later. Performing tests specific to a phase helps save a lot of time and efforts of the developers as the issues found are far easier to fix.

In essence, if we treat Testing as a process that supports the entire development process – instead of just a single phase – we can ensure products that are far more dependable and robust.

What to Test under each phase?

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Based on the common experience shared across industries, following are a few tests that can be executed under the different phases:

  1. Requirements Gathering phase: The main focus of this phase is to gather the business requirements such as who will use what type of data in what manner. Thus, it is only common sense to test and confirm (read validate) the basic requirements for the creation of a product before actually starting the development process. This ensures that we create what we initially planned to create – and not something else that got created while on the way due to unclear and ambiguous requirements. The output of this phase is a Requirement Specification document that acts as the guideline for the product development.
  2. Design phase: The Design phase uses the Requirement Specification document to prepare the layout of the system and software design. If a comprehensive and end-to-end test plan and strategy is thought of and implemented in this phase, it will help build a stable system architecture. Testing the ease of design will also help establish what and how to test in the product.
  3. Development phase: As the name suggests, the development phase involves the actual writing of code for the different modules. As a lot of code is generated in this phase that covers implementation of different features, it makes sense to test the features being developed. It also is a good time to implement regression testing on the code generated so far to verify that the software being developed performs correctly even if it is modified or interfaced with other software.
  4. Deployment phase: The deployment phase usually has two sub-phases – Beta-deployment, and Final Deployment. In the Beta-deployment phase issues are caught before a product is launched to the market. This is the time when you can implement tests related to product usage analytics, Real User Monitoring, & Automated smoke tests. Based on the results of these tests, and the other issues reported, the development team will make the final changes before the final deployment of the product.

As seen above, if Testing is implemented across all the phases of SDLC, the end result will be a product that is stable, reliable, and supports features and functions that will grab the attention of the end user. It is no surprise that the more a product is liked and appreciated, the better ROI an organization gets.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Accelerating Time to Market through Next-Gen Test Automation

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Accelerating time to market has become the standard requirement for the organizations across all verticals and domains. With Agile and DevOps taking the center stage for the software development process, it is becoming very important to assure higher quality to the applications. Next-gen test automation can provide the necessary catalyst for the organizations looking to achieve their goals in the era of CI, CD and CT.

Quality is the most important factor when it comes to gauging the success of the software application as it is directly related to the customer experience. Continuous delivery and agile execution strategy for your software application need to have software testing as the central element to ensure that your goal is met.

So how do you achieve this?

Agile and DevOps has made it easy to a certain extent by bringing developers, testers, operations team, product owners and the business on the same discussion table. As the features get decided by the product managers, the quality and risk of those features are also being discussed and developers and testers can decide on the right unit testing and test automation framework needed to have that perfect deliverable. You surely do not want to Ship the broken code quicker to market right. That’s when the Next-gen automation framework helps you achieve your goal.

It becomes really difficult for the organizations to go the manual testing way if they want to adhere to their goal of Quick time to market. Creating, executing and maintaining manual tests can be a real pain especially at scale. Also with consistent pressure for the business to deliver the features quick, it can be a really stressful situation for the manual testers and the end result cannot guarantee the result which is expected. This puts test automation as the central element of your Continuous delivery approach towards quicker time to market.

With plethora of testing tools available in the market, it is important that your test automation framework adapts to the needs of the software application requirement. It needs to be dynamic and flexible at the same time to deliver the ultimate goal. The right test automation framework binds all the elements together and makes sure that the various CI, CD and testing tools are integrated to handle the large volume of data, test results as the application grows. It should also give quick insights into what is going wrong, why it went wrong and how to fix it without spending significant amount of time.

The right test automation framework encompasses various factors like scope of test automation, scalability of the approach, extent of reusability, and more importantly the metrics to measure the success of your test automation. At the same time, it needs to be comprehensive enough to encompass the code analysis, unit, functional, performance, regression and stability tests, usability analyses for the all the features of the software application or app.

At Gallop, we strive hard to achieve this by having a 35000 feet view for the CIOs of the company as well as various other stakeholders. Below is the typical screenshot of the typical metrics we measure for Test Automation with our In-house CIO Dashboard tool.

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Going forward, Agile & DevOps are going to be de facto standard for the software development process. With this, the next-gen test automation framework and IP led accelerators will drive the testing transformations across industries. At Gallop, we have a continuous test delivery platform and right test accelerators to ensure you meet your goal. Contact us if you are looking to Accelerate Time to Market for your next-gen application or mobile app.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

How can I Reduce Feedback Latency using Continuous Integration Testing?

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Before we get into the main topic, let us first understand the basics.

What is Latency?

Latency, in common terms, is the delay/time lapse between input and output (stimulation and response), or, cause and effect. Considering the fact that any delays in the area of communication adds on to the cost of developing a product – both in terms of time and efforts, it is very important to keep it under control.

What is Continuous Integration?

Continuous Integration (CI) is a paradigm shift in the world of software development that lays huge emphasis on communicating the changes that have been made by the developers. CI requires developers to integrate code into a shared repository several times a day while an automated build verifies each check-in for any problem.

Benefits of CI

Agile teams deliver quality software fast, without death marches or heroics. CI makes this possible.

A properly implemented CI environment usually provides the following benefits to an organization:

  • Helps in the rapid integration of complex systems that helps improve the process efficiency across the board, accelerates growth, promotes user-driven innovation, and saves significant IT efforts.
  • Helps reduce instances of ‘Big Bang Integration’ wherein all units are linked at once, resulting in a complete system. Testing an instance of Big Bang Integration is very complicated because the errors found cannot be isolated as the interfaces across individual units are not verified properly. As the defects are identified at very late stage, the probability of missing out on some critical defects is very high.
  • Helps maintain a state of Constant Readiness that leads to a better CM Control.
  • Helps promote and manage early automation, and makes it more efficient and repeatable.
  • Helps provide a robust, stable environment that supports continuous execution of tests.
  • Helps reduce the number of Deadlocked Test queues, reduces the amount of work categorized as ‘work-in-progress’, and also reduces wastage of resources.

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How Does CI Help Reduce Feedback Latency?

In most organizations, multiple developers use a Version Control System to “commit” or “promote” their changes frequently.

If you are a developer, you must have at least once faced the situation wherein you downloaded the latest source code only to realize that cannot compile or had a major issue. Frustrating, is it not?

In a CI environment, a Build Integration Server watches the Version Control Server, and using build scripts, continuously ‘runs’ these committed files. Once these committed files are executed, the Build Integration Server provides a quick feedback in the form of a Build Status report. This report explains whether or not the new lines of code written work properly. In short, a project is built as soon as a change is committed. This not only takes care of the irritating scenario discussed above, but also reduces the latency that will otherwise creep up.

This dynamic environment thus not only saves efforts worth hours of work, but also lets the entire development team quickly get an overall view of the final code. Developers, apart from keeping track of the impact of their code change, can also have a clear view of the changes being incorporated by their peers.

CI, apart from making sure that the code compilation is successful, also checks whether or not the code is performing the tasks as required. Add the functionality of Test Automation. CI, when used with a properly implemented test automation environment ensures and validates the quality of the build generated.

CI servers help reduce any delays by building the code frequently and providing prompt feedback to the developers about the code changes submitted. These continuous integration servers help populate the changes to the build server, initiate the build process, and generate a report explaining the outcome of the tests performed.

CI servers, with all their benefits, are rapidly making waves and are being adopted as a key technology process as part of the Shift Left movement. Organizations can use CI to reduce rework, improve quality, and thereby improve their ROI.

Organizations today, more than ever before, realize the criticality of communicating the results of the builds to the entire development team. CI systems can use flexible means as e-mails or intranet to display build results. A display of the build report helps developers promptly respond to the build results and reduce the latency issues that are usually faced with nightly or weekly integration builds.

 

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The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.