DevOps is an expansion of an agile software development tactic that allows the software development and testing to take place simultaneously with endless collaboration between all stakeholders. Organizations are observing a quick adoption of DevOps to speed up time to market, to respond in a much better way, and to meet the demands of the customers. DevOps has emerged from the need for businesses to react quickly to market changes to gain competitive benefits and rapid business growth.
DevOps practices not just improve the regularity of feature releases, but also plays a crucial role in reducing defects. The security in DevOps has not been supported as adequately as DevOps itself. Initiating security checks earlier in the development process is vital for adequate protection. Many organizations agree that introducing security in early stages is essential; however, few do so. Despite the risk of missing early security threats and the havoc of rework by adding up more protection to the app development process much later, many business organizations continue to integrate security late in the development cycle.
The cultural shift in DevOps
DevOps is about keeping software set up. It often calls for a cultural change among different stakeholders within the organization to come together and work towards a common goal of developing quick, reliable, and repeatable processes. DevOps boosts development and operation teams to function as a single team that focuses on delivering business value across the IT value chain.
In DevOps, apart from two different roles of development and operation teams, Quality Assurance (QA) also plays a significant role in bringing business value. DevOps combines all three functions into a single entity that provides value. It also breaks down the organizational foundation into development and operation teams. It focuses that QA is the responsibility of every individual working in the organization. QA and testing functions as a bridge among all disciplines, from customers and businesses to develop and operations in DevOps. Quality Assurance and testing are levers that accelerate time to market within DevOps initiatives. However, in the DevOps approach, developers and testers equally play vital roles at their end.
The role of QA in the present software development process is evolving. Clients come into focus. And their needs are brought into perspective while delivering the application. Releasing the latest and functional builds at any point through the application’s life cycle can result in a disaster if the quality is not assured. Here automation of tests plays a pivotal role in guaranteeing quality and bring speed.
Establishing a QA strategy with the best practices is essential for organizations that are moving with the DevOps movement. This will also help them in delivering active software development and operations to have a user experience. DevOps practices are adopted and implemented to improve the regularity of the releases and reduce the defects.
Three ways for quality-driven development
In a traditional scenario, QA works towards identifying bugs. However, in the DevOps scenario, the role of QA goes beyond it. The responsibility of QA matures to prevent the flaws in the first place, and this supports a set-up where there is a dire need for fresh releases in a few minutes or hours. Therefore, do not consider manual testing here.
Now, more and more companies are shifting toward DevOps. Mostly because of the endless benefits that they offer in terms of delivery and deployment. Because of this, we are advancing towards an age that boosts faster build and testing to meet the demands of the market and the customers. This deepens the need for constant quality checks. Flawless quality is being rooted within the core ideology of the DevOps approach. Don’t consider it separately.
Below are three practices that testers can use to transform their approach. And lead towards a quality-driven transformation in a secure DevOps world.
#1 Reveal your test strategy
You can have a quality product if the feature provides value to the end-user. The product owners understand the voice of the customer and turn those ideas into small, independent, and testable user stories. They can also take help from a QA expert who shares the purpose of developing high value from each feature.
According to the ATDD, the development of acceptance criteria should be within a team activity in which the tester adds a new perspective. Intensifying acceptance to cover the crucial conditions will help the developers to build the right product in the first attempt. Although with the increased focus on test-driven development, sharing the test strategy with developers before coding brings incredible success. The developers should also be careful and fully know about secure coding because any vulnerability in coding can result in cyber-attack.
Take a few minutes before sprint planning or after it, sit with the developer to discuss the planned test strategy, and provide a checklist to access while coding. This practice is like the teacher who is giving the students answer to the exam. Moreover, it also helps developers to guess tasks completely, ensuring that they complete the stories with testing time in their minds.
#2 Define quality in the definition of done
The exact execution of the meaning of done varies depending on the organization’s agile maturity. The definition of done (DoD) is quality control. The tester promotes the continuous improvement of the DoD when the list is immobile.
There will be problems. Especially when the DoD is developed without confirming the feasibility of enforcement. For example, sometimes there is management edict like all user stories have 100% code coverage. However, there was no unit test framework integrated into the development process at the time of the decree. It indeed led to stories being blocked. Which in turn led to people ignoring DoD steps.
Use these opportunities to develop and promote the prioritization of stories for your technical debt that makes DoD control much easier for the team to accomplish. However, if there is a backlog of technical debt, organizations should start the DoD with minimum viable criteria as opposed to establishing a full wish list of controls that are not achievable within a sprint. For more experienced teams that are matching the DoD criteria, you should begin to add the definition of security for your DevOps into the DoD list at a pace that can be accomplished.
Most of the enterprises are prospective to link their product delivery challenges to the lack of technical experts and resources. But experiences reveal that the prime cause of the low return on technology investment relies on the inability to manage enterprise change from both a strategic and organizational viewpoint.
The metrics are the basis for the continuous improvement of your DevOps practices. It provides exposure to team performance, including blockages, inefficiencies, and successes. Testers play a vital role in gathering and advocating for the collection of some key metrics. Metrics that can increase value and help to inform the enterprise’s DevOps efforts. However, value is dependent on your organizations’ goals, products, and people.
Important key metrics to collect
Here are some of the fundamental parameters that testers should receive. However, the efforts to track these measures depend on the organization’s infrastructure and collection systems. If you’re unsure what to do, don’t worry. Involve your teams and choose a starter list of measures. The key metrics are as follows:
- Team satisfaction
- Direct user feedback
- Delivery cost
- Number of customers that have reported defects
- Defects reported by automation
- Code coverage
- The velocity of release and delivery
No matter where you on your DevSecOps journey, all the steps mentioned above are easy to implement. They need minimum efforts but will have a high impact on your product delivery. You can also speak to your product manager to translate end-user goals towards acceptance criteria to make sure that no critical features are missed out.