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Low-Code Software Testing: How to Get Your Org on Board
Every business wants to mature rapidly. For software testing and QA professionals, terms such as low-code application testing, codeless tools and automation would definitely ring a bell.
From a market perspective, a product perspective, and especially, a tech stack perspective, everyone knows that ensuring quality is key in software development. However, very few organizations actually accomplish quick maturation at the tech stack level without serious growing pains, headaches, starts and stops, missteps, and lost or wasted money.
Test automation is one of the key tools available to any enterprise. The hope is to help accelerate their tech stack maturation journey without any of the usual headaches and miscues. But even with test automation, the journey can be very difficult. Getting any organization to adopt things at the developer level is tough and requires constant internal evangelism.
Here’s a quick guide on what it takes to get your organization to fully embrace low-code software testing and some of the common challenges involved in this process.
1. Adoption and Community-Building
The decision to switch from manual to automated software testing usually comes at a time of distress and overwhelm. DevOps teams get stretched thin and very quickly realize test automation is something that’s not just a “nice to have” but a “must have” if their role and its associated goals are going to remain tenable.
The problem is that getting the rest of the organization on board with test automation by showing its business value isn’t easy. Getting just a few other DevOps team members to buy in will not, ultimately, not help with the test automation adoption because you’ll just have a couple of people writing the scripts, which doesn’t add much value because you’re just building the capacity to write that particular script.
The key is to find a test automation solution that rapidly promotes the adoption of test automation within your organization by showing that people can really add value and save time if they use this tool. Your test automation solution should allow for easy adoption and adaptation and provide very quick time-to-value by requiring no extra time having to build scripts.
Codeless testing frameworks are key here, as these can help show value to business users and business leaders by showing that your test automation solution is truly adding ROI and doesn’t require the learning of an extra skill set to benefit the community.
Essentially—you want the “test automation bug” to spread quickly through the organization, and you want your colleagues to be adopting test automation not because they have to but because they want to and because it’s the easiest choice, such that everyone who adopts it also becomes a test automation evangelist and ambassador.
The ultimate goal is to build a test automation community with shared goals and best practices.
2. Shifting Left
There are a lot of talks these days about “shifting left”. “Shifting left”, if you don’t already know, is the practice of finding and preventing defects early on in the software delivery process. The goal is to improve quality by testing as early as possible in the development lifecycle.
The first key question here is: How can you fold the development teams, which are on the left of the QA process, into working with the QA team on the same framework and with the same tools? What you want is your development teams, who are writing the code, to be a part of the testing framework.
The other shift-left goal is to get the developer community to fully embrace a culture of unit testing.
For both of the above, the key is in how you treat your DevOps roles and best practices. Develop a core code repository and get your developer teams to continually check their code into that repository, and also make sure they’re all using the same tools for building and deployment so that your dev and QA sides are as unified and integrated as possible, instead of working in silos.
In the end, it’s all about working together and collaborating so that you don’t have two different teams talking to each other but one team working synchronously. You can save a lot of time (and money) simply by making sure everyone is on the same page via the use of the same tools and working in the same pipeline.
3. Incorporating the CI/CD Process
The CI/CD process comprises of how dev teams manage their source code and version control.
For the CI part of it and how it fits into test automation, you need to figure out how CI works end to end for multiple systems and not just one system. Also as part of the CI piece, you need to ask yourself: How do the unit test cases get involved and how does the coverage of the unit test cases get measured?
Then there’s the CD part, and the questions to ask for that are:
- How are packages being built or checked in?
- How are they getting deployed to various environments?
The key is to ensure that as your code gets deployed to various environments, the functional test cases that are being built and automated via the test automation team get picked up from the same repository.
4. Remember: Baby Steps
It’s important to remember that implementing test automation across an organization and making it foundational in an organization is a multi-step process:
- Select the tools you want to use
- Form your community of test automation champions (in the shift left, be sure both dev and ops, and testing)
- Mature your CI/CD process along with the automation side of the community
Automation isn’t magic. It requires champions within an organization to make it happen. The people behind it are just as important for its implementation as the technology itself.
Also—remember that it’s not just about automating the functional test cases; it’s also about automating the processes, and it’s very important to keep things simple. If you have 15 different vendors doing the same thing, you’re only adding more layers and compilations to the same process and it will get overly complicated. Keeping it simple usually makes it easier, as long as you have the right tools and integrations.
With all of the above, and by choosing the right test automation tool, you can seamlessly introduce and far more importantly embed test automation into your organization. It won’t be a battle, and you will very quickly reap the benefits of automation as reflected both in your workload and your company’s bottom line.
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