The speed at which companies need to release new software applications, and then update them, is dizzying. With so many app choices and more coming every day, consumers are unlikely to stick with one that’s filled with bugs or doesn’t adapt quickly to changing needs.
But how do companies find a balance between releasing apps as quickly as possible and making sure they offer an optimal user experience? The answer is to switch from traditional quality assurance (QA) methods to an up-to-date system of continuous testing. Outsourcing to a testing services company that knows exactly what to do can facilitate this transition.
What Is Continuous Testing?
Continuous testing involves testing early, often, and at all stages throughout the software development process. Given the fast rate of speed it requires, the testing must be automated.
This type of testing provides actionable feedback early on, which allows developers to identify problems and correct them before moving on to the next step in the process. With this approach, they can evaluate quality at every stage along the way.
When this process is put to use, testing becomes a shared, holistic effort. With continuous testing, the entire company — including developers, operations, and QA — collaborates and shares information.
Continuous testing keeps the end user’s experience, and how the application functions out in the market, at the forefront. Ongoing tests and the resulting fixes make it less likely that consumers will encounter bugs that interfere with their full enjoyment of the product.
How Continuous Testing Is Different
Traditional testing can be slow, expensive, and error-prone, largely because it only occurs after development has ended, allowing errors to remain and corrupt the final product. Instead of testing products in a separate phase between development and delivery, continuous testing is integrated into all the phases from beginning to end.
The traditional approach assigns testing responsibilities only to a distinct QA team. It involves “handing off” the product from one department to the next, with testing occurring at only one stage, in only one department. Continuous testing is truly collaborative, with testing tasks integrated into all departments.
Continuous testing removes the common bottleneck that can happen when a product speeds through development only to have to slow down for testing, forcing production to wait and holding up final release to the public. With continuous testing, time-to-market is sped up.
Benefits of Continuous Testing
A continuous testing paradigm results in a wide variety of benefits for companies and consumers, including increased speed, improved quality, and an enriched company culture:
- Significantly speeds up the release of new software, with no bottlenecks between development and delivery
- Instant feedback early in the process means developers can fix errors before moving forward, rather than waiting until development is completed
- Testing feedback is relevant to the current stage of development, which facilitates quicker and easier fixes
- Improved code quality, since everything is being tested all the time and errors can’t corrupt later stages of development
- Reduced risk of product failures, since developers can identify and correct problems before they reach consumers
- Superior customer experience with the end product, leading to enhanced company reputation and increased customer loyalty
- Stronger connections among development, testing, and operations teams within a culture of transparent collaboration
- Development teams gain more exposure to each stage of the process, which can help them improve what they do
- Each team member may pick up new skills, creating duplication of skills that can be useful if one team member is temporarily away from a project
Continuous Testing Challenges
Continuous testing offers many benefits but it’s important to keep in mind a few challenges to successful adoption. Incorporating this method requires a culture shift on the part of developers, operations, and QA teams. These professionals may initially be more comfortable with the familiar divisions of labor of the traditional testing approach. Employers should provide thorough training resources and encourage openness to new ways of operating, to help facilitate continuous testing.
Companies that want to make the shift must be prepared to move from manual to automated testing procedures. Given the need for speed and the fact that testing is happening all the time throughout the entire process, automation is an absolute must.
If companies aren’t sure exactly how to meet these challenges on their own, they can reach out to a testing services company for help in utilizing the latest continuous testing approaches with their particular software products.
When releasing new software applications, companies used to choose between compromising quality or speed. Luckily, the time for compromise is over. Businesses can now rapidly deliver quality software products by adopting a continuous testing approach. This method can speed up the delivery process without cutting corners in quality control or slowing down development to let traditional testing catch up. With continuous testing, companies don’t have to keep consumers waiting to ensure a top-notch software application user experience.