How to integrate automated testing into DevOps

Integrating automated testing into DevOps will boost team capabilities.
Integrating automated testing into DevOps will boost team capabilities.

Relationships between developers, testers and operations personnel could be described as tenuous at best, even though they must work toward a common goal. DevOps has changed the landscape by requiring these diverse groups to get along and work together to create the best software possible. The problem here is that no section can command the bulk of the time; they must all be able to complete their work before the sprint deadline.

Inevitably, developers are likely going to take up a lot of time to create and fix their code, leaving little room for testers to work with. In this environment, manual testing simply isn’t an option anymore, as it would be impossible to evaluate the program after every change and expect to thoroughly complete other tasks. Agile testing methodologies including test automation are necessary to implement in DevOps to keep up with the pace of users and business requirements. Here are a few tips to help you integrate automated testing and DevOps.

Pay attention to resources

It’s important to know what resources you have to work with as well as the various requirements that may come with them. Automation solutions are not one-size-fits-all, so it will be important to identify what individual offerings work with and what type of support or maintenance they need. For example, if the automation tool is difficult to collaborate across or doesn’t integrate well with your test management solution, these could be major deal breakers. Cigniti noted that this type of environment will be tricky to use the right tools at the right time, so it’s critical for automation to integrate well with your existing infrastructure. This is also beneficial because teams will only need to be trained on one new item, but can still be confident in using familiar systems.

Have results available

Information is king, and within agile setups, having early feedback can mean the difference between catching a defect and overlooking one. However, this data should be easily accessible for everyone involved to ensure that all parties are on the same page and that any issues can be addressed quickly. TechBeacon contributor Peter Wayner noted that now, testing starts immediately when code is put into a content repository, and the results are sent to developers and QA. This type of convenience also makes it simpler to deploy the software with just one click.

Organizations should note that they can perform a variety of tests when leveraging automation, far more than they could expect when utilizing manual methods. Teams can take advantage of their off-hours by using automation to execute stress and performance testing at night as well as any other evaluations. This constant evaluation will enable DevOps to catch and mitigate any problems before they cause too much damage.

“The developers and the testers work together on the same code base using a unified collection of tools that constantly checks and tests the code,” Wayner wrote. “As soon as the developers release some code by checking it into the repository, the tools and the testers take it apart, first to make sure it actually works, and second to ensure that it meets their standards.”

Understand the limits

Automation has made a name for itself as being a critical tool for the agile development process. However, many organizations have also started to see this technology as a silver bullet, and may try to go fully automated with their testing activities. It’s true that automation can take a lot of the load and pressure off of QA and DevOps teams, but it cannot address everything. Automated test scripts are only as smart as we make them, which means that computers can’t spot 100 percent of errors. This is why it’s still important to use manual and exploratory means of testing to ensure that all of your bases are covered. Automated testing in DevOps is certainly a necessary step toward better quality, but understanding its limits will enable teams to plan more strategically.

DevOps has made a big shift to bringing groups together for improved software. Automated testing will be a necessary asset to enhancing DevOps team capabilities and ensuring that you’re able to keep up with agile needs.

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