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The software industry is buzzing with trends promising to reinvent the development pipeline: digital transformation (DX), DevOps, quality engineering, and many more. And they all tout similar benefits, such as faster deployments, more dynamic organizations, and ultimately, better software. But the devil is truly in the details when planning the future of your organization. How can development and quality leaders plan and implement sustainable changes that have a quantifiable impact on product quality and velocity?
Let’s start at the beginning.
Connecting Quality Engineering, DevOps, and Digital Transformation
On a very broad level, DevOps, DX, and Quality Engineering are organizational philosophies and practices designed to enable more automated, connected, and data-driven work. They all help teams work more efficiently without sacrificing quality.
Quality engineering, or QE, is a collaborative approach to software quality that uses test automation to move testing to the left, expand end-to-end testing to cover the entire user experience, and streamline the process to address bugs. Traditionally, software testing is performed in stages, usually right before code needs to be deployed into production. Testers need to execute hours of tests and hope no significant issues are found, which would risk delaying the project.
As software becomes more complex and customer expectations for the user experience grow more exacting, this model is no longer feasible. Instead, quality teams are collaborating with developers, customer success, and product owners to adopt quality engineering. This enables a culture of quality where everyone is engaged in testing, which allows for quality to be integrated into the entire software development pipeline. Since QE requires the adoption of automated testing and close collaboration with the rest of the SDLC, it’s closely aligned with both DevOps and digital transformation.
DevOps combines development and operations in a unified approach to the work performed by software development and IT operations teams. On a high level, DevOps encompasses the processes, technologies, and culture shifts needed to create a continuous loop that aligns product development, customer feedback, and business goals. On a granular level, DevOps is the adoption of automation and iterative software development that streamlines everyone’s workload and supports data-driven collaboration. With more efficient workloads and higher trust between teams, entire organizations are empowered to plan, develop, and improve software faster with a greater focus on customer happiness.
Testing supports DevOps by enabling software teams to deploy new code faster without worrying about defects reaching customers. Since the ultimate goal of DevOps is to unify the entire organization, QA is an essential part of a successful DevOps adoption. Removing silos between QA and developers enables the entire software team to adopt a culture of quality overcoming one of the most enduring challenges in DevOps adoption.
Digital Transformation (DX)
Digital transformation is the integration of technology into every aspect of a business, redefining how each role is performed and delivers value to the customer. Similarly to DevOps, digital transformation also incorporates the cultural changes required to support the long-term changes necessary to sustain a digital-first organization. Like DevOps and quality engineering, digital transformation requires carefully planned and closely integrated technological and cultural shifts in order to be successful in both the short and long term.
DevOps and quality engineering can be critical elements in digital transformation since it focuses on rethinking the software development organization. However, DX incorporates the entire company; sales, human resources, marketing, etc., to help every role adopt new technologies and work more efficiently.
Integrating Success for Long-Term Value
Most organizations will be undertaking one or more of these initiatives in the near future, if they haven’t begun to do so already. The question is how executives, managers, and employees will identify opportunities for shared learning and support to ensure all-around success. The shared DNA of Quality Engineering, DevOps, and DX: embracing automation, encouraging collaboration, and rebuilding the digital infrastructure, allow these changes to work together to support the most significant changes.
As the technologies focused on enabling these changes have matured, teams are turning their focus to managing the cultural changes needed to sustain each of these transformations. Quality teams moving to quality engineering, for example, are already discovering how to implement test automation and manage the process changes necessary to sustain meaningful change. By working with teams leading the way on major technological and cultural changes, executives developing strategies for DevOps and DX will set the stage for success.