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Understanding the Importance of Continuous Testing

Businesses have been actively adopting the agile development model. Agile makes sure that a team works closely together and everyone knows what is going on with the project, what the status is, etc. In this agile journey, continuous integration and continuous development is a key enabler for business. The continuous testing process was evolved to evaluate and ensure software quality at every step of the Continuous Delivery process.

What is Continuous Testing?

Continuous testing is a software testing process, where an automated test is executed continuously as part of the software delivery process to obtain instant feedback on every release and to handle business risks associated with it. The continuous testing process, unlike the traditional testing process, doesn’t follow the methodology where one test happens at the end or a project, instead it follows a modular approach and goes in parallel with the development process.

This parallel execution process reduces the Time-To-Market (TTM) and Time-To-Delivery (TTD) and also reduces the overall project management costs and time, as the development don't just sit with their fingers crossed during development. In order to achieve better continuous testing results, charting out the right test automation strategy is important. The below diagram depicts the typical continuous delivery process for one release cycle with continuous testing integrated into it.

Continuous testing Process

Continuous Testing vs Test Automation

Before proceeding into various aspects of continuous testing, one must demarcate the difference between continuous testing and test automation. Continuous testing is like applying ‘Extreme Automation’ to any environment with a new code.  Automation testing is essential for continuous testing but there is a difference between continuous testing and test automation.

Test Automation

Continuous Testing

A process where a tool/custom automation framework is used to automate tests

A testing methodology which helps in achieving continuous quality and improvement

Failure of the test indicates an issue in the system

Failure of the test indicates a business risk

All defects are fixed as per the defined workflow

Defects are prioritized and then most critical issues are fixed

Feedback after testing each release

Instant feedback at each stage

Test automation can be performed even without continuous testing

Continuous testing is not possible without test automation

Will find glitches in functional aspects

Will expose defects already introduced in the system and prevents them in future

Performed after development is done

Performed continuously as an integral part of the development process


Why Businesses are Switching to Continuous Testing

With clients expecting faster development times, the testing industry has been undergoing rapid changes and delivery schedules are so tight that software testing turns out to be a very difficult task. Continuous testing is the best methodology to use to meet quality standards and minimizes business risks. Here are some other reasons:

  • Application architectures are multi-layered, distributed and complex, as it involves a wide variety of protocols and technologies in a single functional process.
  • Agile and DevOps have taken a front seat in the software delivery model making software releases frequent to the market. Release timelines are shrinking and vary with each business. Thereby diminishing the time for test design and maintenance while decreasing quality of test execution.
  • User experience is key for any business. Even a trivial glitch can lose a customer to a competitor. The UX/UI design process is a highly agile process. So, achieving the right balance between the design requirements and user experiences is the biggest challenge for the testing process.

Benefits of Continuous Testing

As the testing process starts in initial stages of development and executed continuously, application risks are uncovered at the early stages. This way development teams can avoid these issues to progress into the next stages of development cycles and can reduce the efforts and time invested in identifying and resolving bugs at the end of the process.

  • Scales development team’s ability, pace, and efficiency in delivering quality software
  • Creates superior code quality
  • Facilitates the creation of agile and consistent processes, which reduces software releases timelines to days/weeks instead of months
  • Continuous feedback mechanism decreases Time-To-Market and increases Time-To-Delivery.
  • Upholds better connectivity among development, testing, and operations teams
  • Ensures consistency by providing the same configurations for all test automation scripts which helps testers run test cases in numerous environments without any human mediation
  • Focuses more on business expectations and objects to reduce business risks

Challenges in Continuous Testing

There are some challenges to consider when switching to a continuous testing model. First, continuous testing requires appropriate tools for agile development and DevOps and will need additional resources. Also, continuous testing requires back-forth interactions between development, testing and operation teams.  If there isn't well-defined and robust feedback loops, the process would be ineffective. It's important to understand the entire process before making the switch.

For more information and expert advice on adopting continuous testing process, please reach out to out software experts. 

Independent Testing Center of Excellence

About Author

B.Naga Soundarya works as a Senior Test Engineer with V-Soft Labs and has more than 6 + years of IT experience in Software Testing. She is skilled in manual, Functional, Smoke, Regression, Sanity and Automation testing using Selenium Web driver. She has sound knowledge in Mobile automation testing (Android & iOS) using Appium, TestNG, Maven, GitHub, GitLab and Jenkins.

Topics: Continious Integration, Software testing, QA TCOE, Continuous Testing, Software quality

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