Why Software Development and Quality Teams Need a Testing Platform, Not Just Tools
Quality testing teams face some unique challenges within software development organizations. They provide an invaluable and recognized service yet are typically the last dedicated resource to be added to new software teams. The quality, or lack thereof, that they bring to light is critical for customer/user satisfaction yet often they have to adapt to timelines cut short in order to make important release dates.
Quality testing teams are the defenders of quality. Everyone from developers to IT and operations teams are responsible for creating quality, but testing teams make it visible and are a critical part of maintaining continuous quality. There is a reason why DevOps experts everywhere know you can’t have DevOps without automated testing. There is no such thing as continuous improvement without continuous testing.
QA teams beginning to implement or expand the use of automated testing have to deal with a myriad of tooling challenges. For example, there are external challenges related to choosing automated testing tools from an ecosystem with varying perspectives, and internal challenges related to budget and purchase approvals of the various tools and services required to successfully integrate them into their respective software development pipelines.
As Agile and DevOps development methodologies have matured over the past decade, companies have made great strides in creating software development platforms that are open and integrated. These platforms have greatly improved the efficiency and collaborative capability of development teams. They have helped break down silos of work, improve communication and clarity, and provide visibility into all activities in software development. Yet often, that visibility does not include integrated feedback loops from continuous testing processes.
At Katalon, we believe that QA teams need a platform that focuses on their unique needs and integrates seamlessly into existing Agile and DevOps processes. QA teams have slightly different requirements in their process flows that go beyond simply automating tests and other conditions with respect to reporting and insights based on roles within the organization. Platforms that are open and integrated also empower collaboration and break down silos, enabling powerful capabilities such as self-service functionality. With all these desired capabilities, it's not hard to see why a "testing tool" isn't enough to deliver on continuous quality processes.
This raises the question: What capabilities should an automated testing platform have?
Capabilities of An Automated Testing Platform
Automation and Authoring
Ease of Use and Expansion
Creating automated tests is paramount to scale testing efforts and improve the quality delivered to customers. QA teams need a test authoring solution that is both easy to learn and use (e.g. low/no-code) yet capable of allowing experienced scripters the power to create complex automation. This will enable testers of all experience levels to work on the same tool generating test automation and developing a QA team that can grow in membership and capability.
Low Maintenance & Robust
The automation tool should also generate robust tests and not malfunction with subsequent software releases. This lowers the time required for ongoing maintenance of automated testing, lowering the amount of overall tech debt in testing efforts.
Orchestration and Optimization
Centralized Planning and Self-Service Scheduling
While orchestration is generally thought of as a DevOps or infrastructure capability, test automation teams also need it. The orchestration in testing processes is significantly less complex than rolling out entire application environments. Instead, it is focused on executing tests across certain platform types like mobile, web, API and desktop. Rather than relying on DevOps teams to engineer custom UIs for testers, an end-to-end testing platform should provide self-service scheduling and scaling capabilities for testing activities.
With proper reporting and visibility, testing teams can optimize testing processes, including identifying opportunities for running tests in parallel to reduce testing times or even something as simple as rapidly adjusting scheduled testing to allow for an emergency release test cycle. These tasks should be available from a centralized command and control view of automated testing activities.
Visibility and Understanding Across Testing and DevOps
A testing platform must provide a centralized location for reporting and automatically gather and analyze data from test runs to report on real-time results. Basic reporting is the start, but a platform integrated into DevOps and CI/CD pipelines can do more. It can gather and correlate information from Git repositories, test runs, and agile tools to provide deeper analysis into testing activities such as requirements coverage, release readiness, test flakiness, etc.
Role Relevant Reports and Insights
Whether you are an executive responsible for software quality or a test engineer, a continuous testing platform should provide the right information for your role. Having a platform that delivers information and insights for both the individual test engineer to executives becomes increasingly important as organizations grow.
Add AI to the platform. You can use the information to provide clear, actionable insights so that decisions such as release readiness or code coverage can be made with data instead of "a general gut feeling."
On-Prem and Cloud-Based
Testing teams need the ability to leverage both on-prem and cloud-based test execution resources. Running tests from the same desktop used to develop the tests is excellent when getting started. Still, it rapidly hits diminishing returns as every test run executed means time not spent creating new automation to grow the footprint of automated testing.
Testing Target Diversity
Whether on-prem or in the cloud, testing platforms have to be kept up to date and maintained. They are complex in their own right as they have to represent the variety of current platforms customers/users have available. This means some QA teams require multiple browsers, desktop OS, and mobile devices to be supported in testing processes. The testing platform should support cloud-based and on-prem test execution capabilities that support broad platform coverage for test automation.
On-Demand Testing Capacity
Cloud-based SaaS test execution solutions are incredibly useful to allow additional testing capability during critical business cycles throughout the year. Testing teams that have access to these solutions can instantly scale their test execution to support any number of parallel testing efforts for large organizations. All of this is achievable without taking time away from DevOps and infrastructure teams that will undoubtedly have their task lists full of their activities in support of the business.
A broad community of users supported by world-class staff can be the difference between a painful experiment in frustration or a successful implementation and a lifetime of value. While a testing platform can be built from many tools, having a platform from one vendor removes support runaround when an issue blurs the lines between tools.
The Katalon Platform
The Katalon Platform is the first end-to-end quality automation platform, providing solutions to meet users' needs across a spectrum of team sizes, the complexity of tasks, and budget capacity. Our platform is capable of integrating with all your favorite Agile, DevOps, and CI/CD tools to seamlessly support existing software development processes and rapidly improve capabilities and capacity in testing. The following are critical capabilities of the Katalon Platform:
Orchestration and AI-Enabled Insights
Reporting, scheduling and orchestration, and integrating Agile and DevOps tools to integrate your testing activities with all your development teams across large or small organizations.
Scale On-Prem or On-Demand
Run your tests on your systems or use TestCloud to test on-demand in the cloud securely.
Achieve all your testing goals with the expert backing provided by Katalon and a community of fellow testers!