Shift Left Testing is an approach that involves moving the testing phase earlier in the software development cycle. In traditional models, testing is typically done towards the end of the development process, but with Shift Left Testing, testing activities are pushed "left" to earlier stages of development. The goal is to identify and resolve bugs as early as possible, improving software quality and reducing the time and effort spent on fixing issues later in the pipeline.
By adopting a Shift Left strategy, organizations can benefit in several ways:
- Lower costs: Bugs detected earlier in the development process are generally cheaper to fix compared to those discovered later. This approach helps reduce the cost associated with reworking the software from scratch.
- Increased efficiency: By addressing issues early on, the software development process becomes more efficient, as developers can focus on creating cleaner, error-free code.
- Improved product quality: By identifying and fixing bugs at an earlier stage, the overall quality of the software improves. This leads to a better end product and higher customer satisfaction.
- Reduced time to market: Shifting testing activities earlier in the development process means that the QA process takes less time. This helps speed up the overall development cycle and enables faster delivery of software to the market.
- Competitive advantage: Adopting Shift Left Testing allows development teams to move quickly, innovate in iterations, and build credibility by consistently delivering high-quality software.
Implementing Shift Left Testing
To implement Shift Left Testing, organizations can follow these steps:
- Bring developers into testing activities: Developers should run tests on their code before merging it into the main branch. This ensures that the merged code is cleaner and less error-prone.
- Introduce testers to coding: Testers should have basic coding skills to be able to run intermediate-level tests and implement quick fixes where possible. This enables them to be valuable contributors to the development process.
- Include testers early on: Testers should be involved from the beginning, attending brainstorming sessions and understanding the fundamental concepts of the software being developed. This helps them design better tests and guide developers on potential bugs and issues.
- Keep testability in mind while coding: Developers should code with testability in mind, making it easier for testers to conduct their testing activities. This includes exposing hooks or creating unique identifiers for elements.
Best Practices for Shift Left Testing
Some best practices for Shift Left Testing in an Agile environment include:
- Planning for Shift Left Testing: Development should be shaped in a way that accommodates the Shift Left approach. Test planning and creating test strategies early on are recommended.
- Using Static Code Analysis: Static code analysis involves checking the code without executing it to identify programming errors, coding standard violations, syntax anomalies, and security issues. Automation tools can help in performing static code analysis.
- Providing continuous feedback: Developers and testers should receive continuous feedback throughout the software lifecycle. This helps address gaps immediately and provides insights for future projects.
- Specifying quality standards: QA teams should clearly outline the expected level of quality, performance, and operational success for the code. This helps developers run tests with a clear understanding of what bugs to look for.
In Shift Left Testing, it's essential to conduct tests on real devices. Running tests on emulators or simulators may not provide accurate results, and developers won't be able to evaluate the quality of their code effectively. Using a real device cloud, such as BrowserStack, ensures comprehensive and accurate testing in real user conditions.
In summary, Shift Left Testing offers several benefits, including lower costs, increased efficiency, improved product quality, reduced time to market, and a competitive advantage. By involving developers in testing activities, introducing testers to coding, including testers early on, and keeping testability in mind while coding, organizations can successfully implement Shift Left Testing and deliver high-quality software more efficiently.