Cloud adoption has skyrocketed over the last ten years, accelerating product innovation and enabling digital transformation. According to research from and IDC, 80 percent of CIOs now consider cloud adoption a key pillar in improving business agility and 85 percent believe cloud adoption will improve organizational resilience and preparedness for future disruption. 

But despite the central role of software testing and quality engineering in product velocity and digital transformation, quality teams are often neglected in the cloud adoption process. To maintain product velocity and quality, DevOps teams need to simultaneously plan for the transition to cloud and a transition to automated testing. As they do so, the most prepared - and successful - leaders will develop a roadmap for a sustained transition to cloud-based automated testing that incorporates expanding team skill sets, redesigning workflows, and increasing cross-functional collaboration.  

Planning for Cloud-Based Test Automation

Many of the factors that determine long-term success in cloud migration are set in motion before the first step is taken. Leaders from across the entire software development lifecycle need to align on the priorities, new processes, and teams that will govern each stage of the migration process and manage new workflows going forward. QA managers in particular need a strategy in place to ensure that QA has the skills and support from engineering teams needed to actually accomplish the migration. They also need to consider how their team will manage the data and infrastructure requirements of cloud-based testing long-term, including advanced tooling needs and the new patterns for debugging and triaging failures. 

Two key areas that need to be addressed: optimizing testing strategy for cloud environments and upskilling the testing team. 

Optimizing Testing Strategy

Migrating the development pipeline to the cloud successfully requires development and quality teams to build their workflows to enable close collaboration. If adopted effectively, cloud-based testing enables end-to-end testing to be embedded earlier in the development lifecycle, reducing the stress of release days and the risk that bugs slip into production.  

Cloud-based test automation applications should also reduce the challenges of engaging non-testing team members by reducing the repetitive steps needed to establish a clean testing environment. Applications designed for testing in the cloud will open to a fresh state, making it easier for experienced and novice testers alike to create and run accurate and repeatable tests without risking contamination from old cookies. 

Provided the entire development pipeline is shifting their infrastructure to the cloud, migration presents an opportunity to increase collaboration and improve how defects are tracked, managed, and addressed. By removing the barriers between testing and development in cloud environments, product velocity is accelerated while also raising quality standards. 

Managing Changing Skill Sets  

As we’ve discussed previously on the mabl blog, the top skills needed to succeed in software testing are a diverse mix of soft skills and technical acumen. Critical thinking, communication skills, and empathy are essential to help testers navigate workflows that demand fluency in Jira, regression testing, and test automation. 

Depending on how many team members have experience with test automation and coding, the shift to cloud-based can be a major change. Assuming that few tests have been automated in your current quality strategy and/or that the bulk of automated testing is done by a fraction of the team, quality leaders will need a plan to ensure everyone has the same skill set to maximize test automation. 

With full test automation in place, quality teams will have more time to focus on analyzing test results, perform exploratory testing, and act as quality coaches to the rest of the development pipeline. To do so, they’ll need to maintain expertise across manual testing, test automation, and the suite of tools used to work with developers. But as they develop a plan to synchronize their teams, quality leaders need to be aware of how cloud-based testing will impact their own role. With cloud infrastructure, the priorities of QA managers will shift to include those of an IT manager as they consider how to maintain their testing infrastructure. 

Identify Solutions that Adapt and Scale with Your Team

Cloud-based testing offers quality teams more speed, flexibility, and scalability as they adapt to the world of DevOps and implement quality engineering. As they plan their cloud migration, quality leaders need to consider solutions that not only make the transition easier, but also give their teams the tools to scale testing strategy across the DevOps pipeline. Test automation tools need to be accessible to testers and non-testers alike as well as allow quality teams to integrate testing into existing QA and developer workflows to maintain long-term success in the cloud.