Best Practices to Implement Quality Assurance (QA) in DevOps

Mar 4th, 2021 by Narayanan PK

Need for speed catches the attention of video gamers no doubt, but that phrase gets understood differently by software development teams. The market demands speedy releases, and IT organizations must keep up and deliver useful software products to their eager clients.

The eagerness and impatience are courtesy of growing customer demands. And IT providers like CCS are required to drive modernization, accelerate the pace of value deliveries, and maintain swift operations. To accomplish this, tech companies adopt an Agile with DevOps approach. DevOps, in simple terms, is a software development approach that involves continuous development, continuous testing, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and continuous monitoring of the software throughout its development life cycle.

Whether “DevOps” qualifies as a buzzword is up for debate, but it still means faster software release. DevOps points towards a process change that disrupts the existing work culture. It brings units like Development, Quality Assurance (QA), and Operations together but does not eliminate the need for a dedicated QA function. QA and testing provide organizations the maturity needed to succeed with DevOps. Continuous testing helps identify the business risks of a software release and is an integral part of the software delivery cycle. It involves automating the tests and running them early and often to increase the test coverage as and when parts of the business functions are available at various points in time. Validating every change as it occurs naturally speeds up software delivery. Automated testing adds value to the CD pipeline, as shown in Figure [1].

The DevOps Value Flow

What constitutes a robust QA framework?

Automated testing is an essential part of the QA process, especially for heavy-duty enterprise applications. It improves the overall quality and dependability of the software when carried out in an organized fashion. A well-organized automation framework constitutes the following:

(I) Have a good test design in place: -

Test design (TD) is the process of writing a set of test cases, known as a test suite, for testing software. Since test automation is an integral part, we resort to regression testing. It helps verify any modifications/updates in software without affecting its overall working functionality.

A few pointers to build a good test design:

  • Locators should not be hard-coded into the script but saved in a separate repository to make changes to the locators independent of the script. E.g.: Object repositories, external Excel files, or XML files.
  • Maintain the test data separately from the test script. Data can be kept in external sources such as Excel files, Text files, CSV, DB, or XML files. This helps add/modify/delete test data without any change in the test script.
  • Organize the test case and pages in separate classes so that they are re-usable and easy to manage.
  • Tests must start from the base state, ensure recovery, and continue when there are intermittent test failures.

(II) Facility for configuration of test parameters: -

The framework should provide an option to choose the configurations before running test suites and ensure the following is true

  • Ability to switch test environment URLs without changing test scripts
  • Ability to run on different browser without changing test scripts
  • Ability to create dependency files required for the test run if we are running in a new environment

(III) Re-usable libraries/functions: -

Build the library of generic wrapper functions of the framework to maintain and reuse code easily.

(IV) Reports and logs: -

  • Reports and logs evaluate the test effectiveness, which requires the automation framework to give a detailed report of the test execution.
  • Report should provide detailed test results of each test step executed with Pass/Fail status.
  • Report should provide screenshots of each step executed.

Advantages of QA in DevOps

QA ensures an acceptable level of quality in a service or product. It is critical to conduct quality-checks right from ideation to maintenance as it helps fix any recently introduced bugs and accelerates delivery and deployment. Continuous QA fits the continuous-everything model well and speeds up delivery while keeping costs down.

Continuous integration (CI) summarized in one word would be quality. Here are the top 6 benefits of QA in CI/CD.

  • QA speeds up delivery and deployment while fixing any recently introduced bugs.
  • In the CI/CD pipeline, QA runs smoke and sanity tests to provide feedback on the quality and impact of changes fast.
  • Tests minor/major changes in requirements quickly and effectively using an automated pipeline.
  • Automation minimizes delays, and since regression tests generate feedback quickly, it decreases the execution time.
  • Automated QA allows parallel testing to launch multiple tests against different real device combinations and browser configurations simultaneously.
  • The CI/CD pipeline and QA automation deliver quick and reliable results with almost zero anomalies. Such consistency in results makes them way more dependable than manual testing.

On a final note, setting realistic DevOps goals will help heaps. If organizations want to find out if Agile and DevOps work for their business, our advice would be to start with smaller, achievable goals and then work on scaling.

At CCS, we focus on CI/CD to ensure accelerated time to market and greater efficiency with DevOps tools and solutions. Our DevOps testing specialists could become a critical part of your DevOps journey to enhance your application testing repertoire and help configure and execute CI/CD tools and processes. 

Get in touch with us to know more.

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