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Mabl just released our third annual State of Testing in DevOps Report, which explores how the pandemic impacted DevOps maturity, the changing landscape of software development, and the business impact of quality through automated testing. We found that while interest has increased in DevOps adoption, there are also new obstacles and challenges for full automation and collaboration. 

Most teams are somewhere on the path to DevOps maturity, with just 11% saying they’ve implemented full automation in DevOps. 

This means that most organizations are still figuring out what full DevOps adoption looks like for their organizations. But the pandemic, shift to a digital-first customer experience, and evolving customer expectations have drastically changed these goals

DevOps Success = Business Success

A whopping 82% of survey respondents said that technology wasn’t their biggest obstacle to DevOps adoption, instead reporting that the slow pace of change and budget constraints were the bigger issues. On one hand, this is a positive sign for newer DevOps adoptees, since it indicates that the technologies available are enough to support their full DevOps practice. On the other hand, it also means that leaders of DevOps teams in transition need to refocus their work on navigating change in their organization, showing results, and investing wisely in new tools.   

Competing on Customer Happiness

Most businesses now compete on their customer experience: 75% of American consumers say it plays a major role in their purchasing decisions, and 32% say they’ll leave a brand after just one bad interaction. This not only inhibits business growth, as customer word-of-mouth is a vital marketing tool, but also reduces the number of potential loyal customers, the most valuable group for any company. 

As DevOps adoption competes in a world of limited budgets and high expectations for results, focusing on customer happiness is an ideal opportunity to showcase high-impact work. Fortunately, the Testing in DevOps Report uncovered a significant - but often overlooked - way to quickly improve customer happiness: increasing test coverage. 

80% of teams with high test coverage reported high customer satisfaction, an impressive number on its own, but even more striking when compared to organizations with low test coverage. Just 30% of low test coverage teams reported high customer happiness. 

Given that DevOps emphasizes automation throughout the software development lifecycle, teams that reported they have a mature or a nearly mature DevOps practice were the most likely to have high test coverage backed by test automation. DevOps leaders looking for high-impact ways to adopt automation and support the cultural shift necessary for DevOps adoption should look no further than quality engineering as a high-impact way to connect DevOps success to business success. 

Setting the Stage for Continuous Improvement

Of course, no product is perfect. Customer needs change, the business evolves, and issues occur. The key factor is how prepared teams are to address issues and focus their energy on continuously improving the product as those shifts happen. 

DevOps seeks to prepare teams by building a shared workflow that emphasizes collaboration. When product owners, developers, and quality professionals can easily work together, they’re able to easily hand off issues so that defects are addressed quickly. It’s no surprise then that the further teams were in the DevOps adoption process, the better they felt about collaboration between teams.

Though outside typical DevOps success criteria, evaluating simple processes like the handoff between quality teams and engineering address a major challenge to DevOps adoption: slow processes and a reluctance to change. Streamlining these essential functions not only helps individual team members see the value in DevOps adoption, it also reduces the likelihood that customers will have a bad experience as the result of a software defect that escaped into production. With defects easier to manage, DevOps teams can focus on improving the product, adding new features, and making the overall customer experience better. 

Closing the DevOps Loop

With just 11% of organizations saying that they’ve reached fully automated pipelines, the 2021 Testing in DevOps Report highlights that momentum is still building for DevOps adoption. If anything, the pandemic served to increase interest as more organizations realized the importance of adopting best software development practices. But while DevOps success has typically been evaluated based on how quickly new code can be shipped into production, 2020 forced teams to rethink those metrics. 

The customer experience, a central factor in business success, is now primarily digital-first. By emphasizing quality engineering metrics like test coverage and how well quality and engineering teams can collaborate, DevOps leaders will be better prepared to showcase business value and tackle the cultural shifts that continue to inhibit DevOps maturity. 

Download the full 2021 State of Testing in DevOps Report here.