Shift Left Testing: Approach, Strategy & Benefits
In the world of software testing, there has been a shift towards shift left testing. This approach involves shifting testing activities earlier in the software development process, starting from static testing of the requirements and moving towards acceptance testing. The shift left approach ensures that issues get addressed before development starts, rather than detecting them at the end of the software development lifecycle. In this article, we will delve deeper into the shift left concept, its benefits, strategies, and how one can get started with shift left testing.
What is shift left testing?
Explanation of shift left testing
Shift left testing involves bringing testing activities earlier in the software development process, which is why it is termed “shift left”. The idea behind this approach is to test early, test often and involve testing teams as early as possible, to catch flaws or defects at the earliest stages, before they become more expensive issues.
How shift left testing fit into software development lifecycle?
The shift left testing concept is a modernistic approach that challenges the traditional left-to-right development and testing approach. Shift left is an iterative process that cuts across different phases of the software development process. The process involves starting from the leftmost (design and requirements) phase and moving towards the right through development, testing, release, and maintenance.
What are common testing activities in the shift left approach?
In the shift left approach, testing activities involve conducting static testing, unit testing, and functional testing of requirements. Input from testers in this early stage of development can help developers identify potential problems early and improve the code quality at the onset of the development process.
What are the benefits of shift left testing?
Improved software quality
By identifying issues early in the development process, testing teams can work with developers to make adjustments before they become more expensive issues including defects and downtime. With shift left testing, software quality improves as issues are identified and addressed earlier, resulting in code that functions more smoothly and with fewer defects.
Faster delivery of software
By running tests early and often, testing teams are better positioned to communicate issues to developers early in the development process when they can still be quickly and easily addressed. This leads to faster delivery of software which is essential to business stakeholders and users.
Reduced cost and effort in fixing defects
Defects are expensive, the cost goes up as they are discovered later in the development cycle. By adopting a shift left approach to testing with early testing activities, defects can be found earlier and addressed before they become expensive. As a result, businesses can avoid costly downtime, development delays, and business disruptions.
How can I get started with shift left testing?
Identifying the right automation tool
Automation tools are essential for shift left testing, as they facilitate faster, easier, and more accurate testing. However, not all automation tools are created equal, and selecting the wrong one can result in wasted time and effort. Researching and selecting the right tool is an important first step toward successful shift left testing.
Shifting left: How to introduce shift left approach in an organization?
Introducing shift left testing requires teamwork and coordination between development, testers, and management to gain buy-in from all stakeholders. It involves educating the software testing community and development team on the benefits of the shift left approach and providing appropriate training for the right skills at the right time.
Testing earlier: Why and where to start?
It is important to start testing earlier in the software development process, preferably at the requirements phase. With well-defined requirements, testing teams can conduct static testing, and developers and testers can work together to begin building test cases before coding starts. This is an effective way to identify issues early when they are easier and less expensive to address.
What is the shift left testing approach?
Shift left approach: How is it different from the traditional testing approach?
The traditional testing approach involves testing at the end of the software development lifecycle, also known as a “waterfall” model. It involves shifting testing activities later in the process, performing integration and acceptance testing, after code is developed. Shift left testing, on the other hand, involves testing activities earlier in the software development process, even before coding starts.
Shift left approach in Agile and DevOps
The shift left approach is well suited for agile and DevOps development. Testers work collaboratively with developers and the team ensures that testing activities do not hinder development velocity. It is critical for both agile and DevOps teams to have regular and frequent checks and balances in place to maintain code quality.
How does shift left testing automate testing?
The shift left approach adopts test automation as a critical component in testing activities. Automation tools are used to reduce the effort and complexities of testing, enabling testers to focus on more critical areas. With automation, testers can run a large number of test cases, identify issues and bugs more quickly and accurately and get results faster. This saves time and effort, reducing the testing phase duration and improving the quality and efficiency of the entire software development process.
What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous Testing: How does it actually work?
Continuous testing is a process that helps to integrate testing activities throughout the software development process. The aim of continuous testing is to ensure that code is functioning correctly from the beginning, providing early feedback to avoid issues and delays down the line. Continuous testing is a key component of the shift left testing approach.
Why it is essential for shift left testing?
Continuous testing is an essential part of shift left testing. It ensures that testing activities occur early, and occur often, through automation, faster feedback loops and by ensuring the entire testing process is integrated.”Continuous” testing means testing is continuous throughout the entire software development lifecycle, from the beginning to the end.
What are the different types of testing in Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing involves multiple types of testing including static testing, regression testing, unit testing, functional testing, and UI testing. Testing activities not only occur often but are also supported by automation testing tools to reduce overhead and time lag from manual testing.
In Conclusion, Shift left testing is critical in today’s software development process. It helps to identify and address issues early in the development process before they become more expensive defects. Testing teams, developers, and business stakeholders can all benefit by implementing the shift left approach.
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