In this fast-moving world, as engineering delivery teams we always face this constant pressure to deliver software products or launch new features quickly. Quality takes a backstage not by choice but by the need for accelerated delivery.
In fact, several product teams still involve the testing team only after the code is available in the testing environment. This approach can be detrimental to the product’s quality and the company’s reputation.
It’s 2023, and organizations cannot follow the same old Quality Assurance (QA) practices. They must strike a balance between quality and fast delivery. That’s where Quality Assurance Operations (QAOps) helps.
In this blog, we will dive into QAOps and understand why it has become a talking point as we head into 2023.
What Is QAOps, and Why Should Companies Adopt It?
QAOps is an emerging practice that combines quality assurance with software delivery pipelines by tapping the automation-focused principles of DevOps. So, instead of working in silos, the QA team works closely with the development and operation teams through the process of application development.
It helps companies with:
- Identifying bugs at an early stage and fixing them
- Accelerating the delivery process and shortening the product cycles by performing QA tests parallelly
- Reducing the cost of identifying and fixing bugs by spotting and solving them early
- Maintaining the product’s quality throughout the development lifecycle and building a memorable customer experience
What Are the Methodologies Used in the QAOps Framework?
- Trigger: The test models are designed to test the product’s technicalities. They are triggered every time there’s a change in the continuous delivery and continuous integration (CD/CI) pipeline.
- Execute: In this stage, the same tests approved in the trigger phase are run parallelly to save time and generate quick results. They also validate the product’s quality again.
- Report: At this stage, the QA team evaluates and analyzes the test reports to compare what works and what doesn't and makes immediate changes to fix bugs and improve the product's quality.
The following testing methodologies are integrated into this framework to test and validate the codes.
In this methodology, the QA team analyzes the product to identify parts requiring automation. Based on that information, the team writes the automated test codes and executes them as part of the QAOps pipeline. Automation gives the QA team more time to measure the results and compare the actual and expected outcomes.
The QA team runs multiple test codes on the product and its components simultaneously across different browsers and devices. It enables the QA team to reduce the total testing time and accelerate the testing process for different product versions. Since the QA team performs multiple tests simultaneously, they need computers and hardware with high computational powers and capabilities to run multiple codes simultaneously.
In scalability testing, the QA team checks the app’s performance when it’s scaled up or down based on user requests at any given time. The aim is to evaluate if the app can always handle peak traffic and if it needs any fixing to provide a seamless experience to customers.
The QA team does regression testing after upgrading the current framework or re-launching the product in the market with add-on features to check if the updates have created any significant changes to the product.
How Can Automation Aid the QAOps Process?
Automation is the fulcrum of the QAOps process. The QA team uses automation tools to perform different tests, collect data, and analyze the outcomes. These tools automate repetitive QA tasks and allow the QA team to focus on resolving issues and maintaining the application’s quality. All the testing methodologies, such as parallel testing and scalability testing, include automation. They minimize human errors and help in building and maintaining high-quality products.
How Can QAOps Transform the Cloud Adoption Journey?
The proliferation of SaaS products and different deployment models has increased the demand for cloud-based testing. Companies want to ensure that the applications hosted in third-party environments are secure and adhere to data privacy regulations. Similarly, they must ensure that the cloud-based architecture is scalable and performs under peak load too. Cloud-based testing is cost-effective, fast, and simple. By integrating QAOps, companies can accelerate the cloud adoption journey and build secure and scalable products on the cloud.
Challenges in Implementing QAOps and Possible Solutions
QAOps has its challenges, such as:
Communication and Collaboration Issues
QAOps requires the developers, the QA team, and the IT operations team to communicate and collaborate to develop, test, and launch products quickly. However, a lack of communication or shared goals can create misunderstandings and delay the project. The only way to overcome this problem is to establish common goals and encourage cross-functional teams to interact more and share knowledge frequently. Identifying common communication channels and ensuring that every member is informed about changes in processes or other significant developments in the project.
Managing Changing Requirements
Although QAOps promotes CI/CD, constant, incremental changes can be an issue. With so many cross-functional teams working together, constant changes could confuse the team and impact delivery. Lack of clarity and visibility could delay the project. Companies can solve this problem by establishing a clear framework and sharing a sequence of steps to make QAOps successful.
QAOps is a relatively new practice that requires investment in new technologies, tools, and processes. It also includes training all employees and establishing new metrics to measure their effectiveness. All this could prove expensive. Securing management buy-in can be a challenge too. Companies can overcome this hurdle by demonstrating the value of QAOps to management. They can create a compelling business case to demonstrate how investing in this new practice will benefit the company in the long run.
As QAOps is still an emerging practice, there are no clear rules or guidelines for implementation. This causes unexpected roadblocks in knowledge transfer, handovers, and establishing rules. Companies cannot experiment with this practice when a product launch is near. The only way to address this problem is to introduce QAOps slowly and check if it benefits all the teams.
Where Does QAOps Fit in the DevOps Sphere?
QAOps is a subset of DevOps. It puts QA at the heart of the delivery process. Although a derivative of DevOps, QAOps is quite different. Unlike DevOps, which focuses on software delivery, QAOps focuses on quality.
In DevOps, the QA team’s role is secondary. However, in QAOps, the QA team plays a more significant role in delivering top-quality products.
By embedding QAOps with DevOps, QA will become a part of the CI/CD pipeline. It will strengthen the collaboration between testers and the DevOps team and enable them to deliver a high-quality product on time.
Aligning the QA Process with Business Goals
Building a good-quality product is not enough. It must align closely with your company’s business goals. Here are a few steps to align your QA process with business goals:
- Understand the business goal: The QA team must interact with the stakeholders across the company to understand how the product’s quality will impact their business. It will help the team build QA strategies and determine metrics to achieve that goal.
- Establish a QA process: Develop a QA process based on the company’s QA maturity level. Align the process closely with the software development process to identify bugs at an early stage and maintain quality throughout the process. Choose appropriate testing tools and testing environments to improve the outcome.
- Communicate regularly: Communication is necessary to ensure that the QA and DevOps teams are on the same page. Update the DevOps team about the progress and metrics, so they can take appropriate action on time. Share insights and knowledge with the team regularly and ensure alignment with the business goals.
Like DevOps, QAOps is set to revamp how software products are tested and delivered quickly. QAOps will do what lean manufacturing did to Toyota in the 1970s. It will bring continuous and incremental quality improvement in software delivery, help companies deliver an elevated customer experience, and improve the ROI.
At Xoriant, we have developed modern tools and frameworks that integrate QA into the software delivery cycle. We combine our continuous quality platform and consultative approach to power your quality engineering strategies.
If you are looking for a partner who can help your company build quality-focused software products, get in touch with us. We are happy to help.