Govind Ramachandran, Lead QA and Testing, Asia Delivery Services, Manulife Asia
It’s no secret that we are living in an era of digital disruption. The range of software and hardware that can power businesses as they move to digital platforms on display at the Asia Cloud Expo 2019 was phenomenal – and necessary.
Almost all companies are undergoing some sort of transformation, be it utilizing new technology or instigating new ways of working. Indeed, every company needs to be a technology company, and the fast-paced, digital-first environment is rapidly changing what people and customers expect from companies. By giving customers a best-in-class customer experience and enabling and empowering its workforce, and technology to be efficient, faster and cost-effective, companies can unlock new avenues for business growth.
It’s not all smooth sailing: companies are encountering many challenges on their transformation journeys as they lack the right resources. One of the key areas that get compromised during the delivery of software products especially is quality assurance and testing. And as companies undergo a transformation, the need for a strong digital quality assurance strategy is vital. Here are some factors to consider when designing a winning strategy.
Gone are the days when testing was an afterthought or the last phase in the software delivery lifecycle. Now we are in an era where delivery is iterative and on a two- or three-week delivery timeline. Testing should be done as early as possible and it should be continuous throughout the delivery process. Companies cannot afford to wait for a test phase to check for quality. The testing team should work in parallel with the development team using behavior-driven development or acceptance test-driven development. With iterative development, it is important to have regression tests. Executing regression tests manually takes time, costs more and needs additional resources, so automation is important. Teams will need to embed the functional automation in sprints so that an automated regression suite is generated that can be used for end-to-end testing.
With new tech stacks being utilized, there are more API and micro services deployed, so the teams need to fully automate these tests to ensure accelerated delivery. Since all tests are dependent on the right test data set, it is important that the right strategies are in place for effective test data management. Invest in an explorative phase to find the best tools and solutions to embed these in your delivery pipeline.
The rise of nonfunctional tests
Security and performance are major concerns for customers and businesses, so companies are including more tests in these areas for their digital platforms and products. It is essential to embed security as well as performance testing within sprint development.
There are many licensed as well as open-source tools that can perform static code scans, security tests, load and stress tests, monitor the environment when running tests and provide companies with detailed reports. Identify the right toolset and include them into your delivery pipeline so that it is embedded in the software delivery pipeline.
The power of data
Data can help us to streamline the delivery process. Using project metrics, defect leakage information and by understanding the functionality that is vulnerable to defects, the team can respond faster to improve their development and testing process.
Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence tools, it is getting easier to deploy bots that can absorb this data and learn, analyze, compute and provide companies with an automated test scope. Now bots can automatically provide the test scope that needs to be targeted. This is a very powerful tool for accelerating delivery. Coupled with automation testing, you can scale up quality assurance quickly.
Best-in-class customer experience
It is important that user experience is not compromised during delivery. For agile programs, product owners and businesses should work closely with the testing team to build detailed acceptance criteria for user stories and user journeys. For mobile and browser-based solutions, companies should ensure they have a solid plan around testing across various devices and browser platforms. It’s wise to invest in cloud solution platform providers that can ramp up devices and platforms to enable automated tests. Investing in a tool that automatically looks at the changes on wire-frame mock ups to the actual UI/UX is efficient and cost-effective.
Don’t forget your people
With new ways of working, the testing team also needs to adopt an agile mindset. Gone are the days when the testers were spoon-fed full documented requirements. Now the delivery mode is iterative, and the teams are more flexible and open to change, so there needs to be a shift in mindset. Collaboration with the development team is key, and they must be open to change, understand different views, and take a collaborative approach to quality assurance.
Quality assurance and testing play a crucial and critical role in any digital transformation journey. It is essential to have an appropriate digital assurance strategy by identifying the right tools, methodologies, and measures to guarantee the right digital customer experience and make quality assurance future-ready. By aligning tools, people, and processes, companies can thrive in the face of constant change.