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Challenges for QA and Testing: Your Quality Assurance Strategy for Digital Transformation
By Niranjalee Rajaratne, Head of Quality Assurance and Delivery, Third Bridge Group Ltd.
First things first. Is the elephant as big as it sounds?
Digital transformation is a broad and holistic subject. To create an effective QA and Testing strategy it's important to understand the many challenges organisations are facing in this ongoing journey. First of all, digital transformation cannot happen overnight and its success is more about the people involved or affected by it, rather than the technology involved. The most significant challenge that many organisations face while executing digital strategies is the lack of appropriately-skilled personnel, mainly the lack of proper leadership. This prompts organisations to hire employees with the required skills or invest in upskilling existing employees, which sometimes bring about its own set of problems. Shifting towards agile and DevOps gives organisations the direction to navigate through these challenges, but, it has a learning curve of its own too; the changes are not going to be instant. Research in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was born back in 1956, and we are still working to establish its full potential.
Automation has become an essential tool to build efficient and reliable delivery pipelines and to manage repetitive tasks
Digital transformation is happening, nevertheless, the impact is a gradual advancement rather than sudden, allowing ample opportunities for QA and Testing to transform and grow.
Manual testing vs. Automation
The reasoning behind the doubtful future for manual intervention in QA and Testing is not all that irrational. Technological advancements encourage organisations to move away from monolithic systems to a micro services infrastructure that facilitates dozens of services, hundreds of builds, and multiple test pipelines. Automation has become an essential tool to build efficient and reliable delivery pipelines and to manage repetitive tasks. Automation is key for CI, CDs, and DevOps to be successful. While test automation has all the advantages to speed up the processes, it is not yet fully capable of validating the application or system. This means that manual testing is still critical to notice the usability or user interface issues. Test automation is scripted and performs pre-defined actions, but exploratory testing is performed manually to identify the “what ifs”. Testing the application from a human perspective is necessary and it helps you to understand problems in their entirety. Therefore, its crucial to ensure that your quality assurance strategy gives high-priority to both automation and manual testing to lead high-quality, stable products and services down the pipeline.
Quality Assurance Strategy for Digital Transformation
The Quality assurance strategy defines how the organisation seeks to prevent, detect, and correct problems and guides the delivery teams to consistently produce high-quality software. In digital transformation, most organisations will manage two separate coherent styles of work that are focused on predictability and exploration. The legacy environment will need to be exploited and renovated for predictability to determine the fit for the digital world, while new environments are created for exploration and experimentation, solving problems in an innovative way. Both these styles are essential for creating sustainable value and drive significant organisational change, and with that, the demands of testing become very different. Brian Marick’s agile testing matrix is a perfect guideline to create an impactful quality assurance strategy. As the model explains, some tests are business facing or technology facing and others support the programming function or critique a product, with the use of different automation testing software or tools. Usability and exploratory testing requires manual intervention and plays a significant role in business-facing testing. All of these spectrums are important to ensure quality throughout the SDLC and the use of automation and manual testing are both essential to creating a well-balanced test portfolio. It's important to understand the purpose of each type of testing and identify when and where to automate or do manual testing. Testing is essential for successful digital transformation, and the strategies should continue to adapt and evolve with the business and technology. When done right, it will help the organisation to position the QA and Testing function to become an intrinsic part of the delivery team, enabling them to continuously add value throughout the digital transformation.
See Also: Top Software Testing Solution Companies