Living in a fast-paced Agile world of technology, where things are changing with the blink of an eye and with everybody just wanting quick results, it has become super essential to keep our eyes open and be susceptible to every change and hence be able to deliver quickly with quality .
All this requires strategic planning and careful implementation. It may seem like a daunting task, but with all the policies and practices in place for our Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), we can very well achieve that.
Gone are the days of mighty and rigid Software structures like – “Waterfall” which would go on for months or sometimes years even, where there were clear divisions between the development and the testing part of a product, where we had to patiently wait for the ‘SDLC’ phase to be over before we could move into the phase of ‘STLC’ (Software Testing Lifecycle).
With methodologies like – Agile, Scrum, XP, which come up with their unique styles of sprint systems, extreme programming, doing everything quickly, achieving the so called – ‘Definition of Done’ in a matter of weeks (say 2 weeks or 4 weeks depending upon the decided sprint length), we don’t have the luxury of ‘TIME’.
To follow this new and very ambitious work model, changes had to be made to the way things were being done traditionally. This accounts for several factors, but the most important one being – ‘Blurring the lines between Development and Testing Lifecycle and thinking in terms of Continuous Development, Testing and Integration.’
This requires the projects to follow the now very popular operating methods like – CI/ CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery). It all started when in 2009, DevOps was born, which was clearly a very radical idea at that time. All it did was to amalgamate the basic Development and Operations part of a Software Lifecycle, which meant that instead of waiting for operations part of the process to be activated later, it could be combined with the development itself. The idea behind it was – not to wait till the product release to find out its problems and shortcomings, but instead developing, integrating continuously, finding flaws, developing again, integrating again and delivering again.
Eventually, this very forward-thinking and practical ideology of ‘DevOps’ got very popular and today we do not see any job description whose Roles & Responsibilities do not ask the candidate for the knowledge of DevOps, CI / CD pipeline on LinkedIn or any other job search engine.
Discovering the advantages and efficiency of DevOps, the next logical step was to think about the QA part and merge that too within the SDLC, thus making the entire lifecycle one robust and successful application. And so originated – ‘QAOps’, with the goal – Not leaving QA as a standalone process.
What is QAOps?
QAOps is essentially a framework that functions with the basic fundamental of collaboration of the three pillars of – Software Development, IT Operations and Quality Assurance. These being the basis of a successful product development and release.
Now, along with the integration of Dev, we are also integrating the Quality Assurance into the CI / CD pipeline.
How does QAOps work?
In this framework, what’s being done is that –
- Developer develops the code and writes the test cases in parallel.
- It is integrated with the operations.
- Testing team starts the testing part (Manual & Automated).
- Testing Team discovers bugs, gives feedback to Dev.
- Dev Team monitors and fixes the bugs.
- Testing cycle -2.
- Code deployed if there are no issues or defects found. (else the cycle is repeated, till the time the code is defect free).
- Operations take over.
- Code Delivered.
How to implement QAOps?
There are several ways in which we can implement the QAOps, deciding the best approach depending upon the scenario.
- Automation Testing – Now, time being the most important aspect of these frameworks, there would be several scenarios which are going to be repetitive, time consuming. For these we could deploy an automation tool to take care of these tasks (keeping in mind the goal of Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing and Continuous Delivery), giving the test team more time to play with the underlying complex scenarios.
- Regression Testing – Regression Testing again being one of the most time-consuming tasks in the test lifecycle, as new releases can cause defects and bring up relatively new issues. Now imagine this happening after every release. It could be so messy going through all of it again and again. Now, automating this process with the principles of QAOps makes sense as it will save the man hours, efforts and be blended seamlessly into the process.
- Parallel Testing – With products being released for multiple devices and operating systems, it becomes very important that thorough testing should be done for all the devices and operating system versions which again requires time and effort. For this, we can implement the concepts of QAOps and accelerate the process.
- Load Testing – After a product is released, we get to know the reach of it and the usage. The number of people accessing the application / product which tells us how our product is performing under heavy usage or we could say different levels of load. This is also called as Scalability Testing. It requires the QAOps team to perform tests which target at the speed and testing the product with several phases of load testing.
Benefits of QAOps –
- The first and foremost reason of introducing the QAOps framework was – enhanced software quality. The Continuous Testing obviously makes for the best quality releases thus making the customer and the user very happy.
- It goes without saying that QAOps has helped in significantly reducing the time that is taken to test and deliver a product. Also, working with the approach of ‘One Team’ and collaborating early makes the life of Developers, Testers, BA’s, Operations Team and everybody else involved a little easier as each one is striving for the same goal – ‘An excellent quality product delivered within set timelines’.
- Continuous Testing involves having to test multiple times, which means a number of testing cycles before release. This guarantees very thorough testing and defect-free deliveries which save time, effort as well as money.
- With every party being involved in the process from the get-go, there is a clear communication and a similar understanding of what we desire and what we want to achieve.
- Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing and Continuous Delivery make way for timely deliveries and better customer experience.
Even though it is still a relatively new concept, but with time QAOps is going to become a trend-setter and a very important part of the working models being followed in the Software Organizations. As it goes without saying that Development and QA go hand in hand and we can root for perfection when both of these processes are well-integrated with Operations and try to achieve the common goal of – “A Quality Product”.