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Mabl's 2021 State of Testing in DevOps Report found that 82% of software development professionals, including product owners, engineers, and testers, no longer think that technology is the biggest inhibitor to DevOps adoption. Instead, organizational factors like the slow process of change and budgetary constraints have become the primary obstacles. 

This news was unlikely to come as a surprise for software testers and quality professionals. The test automation market has undergone a transformation of its own in recent years, greatly expanding the tools and capabilities available to testing teams looking to adapt their quality strategy to the world of agile software development. But new technology doesn’t always address the most critical aspects of the shift to quality engineering: upskilling testing teams and breaking down siloed workflows. To tackle these challenges, quality leaders are working across the DevOps pipeline to build a culture of quality. 

Unlocking DevOps with Quality

A culture of quality means that testing happens early and often in the DevOps pipeline, making it easier to discover and fix defects without slowing product velocity. How a team achieves a culture of quality is highly subjective. Some choose to focus on shifting testing to the left, others prioritize helping testers take a leadership role in the development organization, many choose a combination of both. But the end result is always the same: better quality software, empowered testers, and a collaborative approach to product improvement. 

Testing as a Team Sport

The report reveals that DevOps teams are the most likely to classify testing as a team sport, with many people contributing to quality and testing. Bar graph showing handoff of issues to engineering for aspiring, striding, mostly devops and automated, and fully devops and automated companies.

This doesn’t mean that engineers are simply executing a few automated tests earlier in the pipeline, but rather that quality teams are taking on a leadership role within DevOps organizations to break down the persistent silo between engineering and quality. Empowered by the growth of low-code test automation solutions, testers are able to navigate the growing volume of tests needed to ensure quality and build out a data-driven strategy that addresses the most business-critical customer journeys. Armed with real user data, testers are coaching developers, product owners, and customer success teams to test the right aspects of the product, so everyone understands the importance of quality and is able to support it. 

When testing is a team sport, quality moves from “something we should do” to a central pillar of an effective, productive software development organization that builds a loyal customer base. Everyone is aware that testing “should” be a priority, but with a culture of quality, testing becomes a priority that has a quantifiable impact on the product and overall business success. 

Continuous Testing = Better DevOps Processes

Competing for organizational time, resources, and effort is an ongoing challenge when a massive transformation like DevOps adoption is taking place. Luckily, quality engineering is in a prime position to help the entire team navigate the transition and ultimately make the journey easier. 

The Testing in DevOps Survey found that the past year pushed testing and software quality into the spotlight. As enterprises navigated the stress brought on by the pandemic, the survey showed that DevOps teams with cultures of quality had an easier time working together and less stressful release days. 

Handoff of issues to engineering options are painful, needs improvement, pretty good, and seamless.

When organizations have a culture of quality, they aren’t simply finding bugs earlier in development, they’re also able to address them with minimal headaches. A crucial aspect of this process? Collaborating with engineering teams. Those at a later stage of the DevOps adoption process were far more likely to rate the handoff process to engineering as seamless or pretty good. When full DevOps is achieved, collaboration is repeatable and continuous, with good processes in place to keep everyone on the same page. A culture of quality means that testing and engineering partners have a shared understanding of these processes, and everyone has the tools and knowledge to execute their role in improving software quality. 

Test Automation Enables Culture Change

As mentioned earlier, the foundation to creating a culture of quality is empowering software testers. They’re the resident experts on quality, testing, and the user experience, connecting the dots between defects and overall business success. But many teams still rely exclusively on manual testing, limiting their ability to scale testing across the DevOps pipeline. On the other side of the equation are developers, who have their own to-do lists that have priority over any new asks from other teams. 

Low-code test automation addresses the concerns of both teams. When manual testers are working to adopt test automation, they need solutions that complement and maximize their existing skill sets. Intuitive interfaces offer the technological capabilities that are already enabling DevOps adoption while also allowing for seamless integration of testing into existing processes. Testers can quickly start creating automated tests for developers, who are then able to execute those tests at the click of a button. 

Test automation frameworks further support a culture of quality by integrating with popular development tools like Jira and GitHub, which improve collaboration between developers,  quality engineering, and quality assurance professionals as well as make the impact of testing more visible. Quality becomes a critical and seamless component of the DevOps pipeline for a full culture of quality. 

Is your organization on the road to DevOps and quality engineering? Share your wins, challenges, and insights in mabl's 2022 Testing in DevOps survey!