What is Continuous Testing?
Continuous Testing is a best practice to start delivering higher quality software, faster. As defined, continuous testing is the process of running automated tests throughout your development lifecycle to obtain immediate feedback on business risks such as delivery delays and defect leakages. Continuous testing is anchored on testing early and testing often.
Continuous Testing can be confused with phrases like "Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment." Continuous Testing, by comparison to the above, is a discipline that an organization chooses to adapt as a part of their Agile and DevOps development methodologies expanding on more than just a testing process, workflow, or approach. It is a way of thinking that involves a mindset-shift at the organizational-level.
For teams looking to adopt a Continuous Testing approach they can expect many benefits:
- • Accelerated release cycles
- • Increases in automation
- • Finding bugs earlier in the software development life cycle
- • Minimization of risk
- • Improvements in collaboration
- • Time and Cost Savings
Test Automation is a Pillar for Continuous Testing Success
Test Automation is key to a successful continuous testing strategy. Continuous testing means constantly running your tests in the background—in theory, and practice, automating the execution of tasks helps to identify any bugs or risks earlier in traditional Quality Assurance efforts. Automated testing saves time, and as teams continue to shift left and identify continuous testing as a key practice to adopt, teams will start to recognize the benefits of a continuous testing strategy and how it would not be possible without a strong test automation strategy. Now, you can’t be successful with continuous testing without test automation, however there is much more to continuous testing than just test automation.
Why Continuous Testing
Organizations looking to scale while upholding the highest-level of quality need a way to speed up their testing without sacrificing a user's digital experience. It is vital to an organization’s success to provide as close to a flawless experience as possible, building their reputation and trust within their customer base.
Customers are accessing applications from a fragmented ecosystem. Browsers are iterating and pushing releases at faster rates than before—and for browsers like Google Chrome, a single user base can use up to 10 different versions. This problem is only exacerbated when looking at mobile browsers like Apple Safari which require a manual update as opposed to browsers like Google Chrome which auto-update. This fragmentation of devices highlights the importance of developing an automated testing strategy to test across the multiple browsers and devices your customers are accessing your application from.
There are additional reasons to consider a continuous testing platform such as accessibility and maintenance of your websites to meet best practices, evolving web standards and technology such as development frameworks, and workflows or integrations you’re looking to include in your technology stack. Continuous testing helps you identify business critical bugs, faster than ever.
How do Testers Reach a State of Continuous Testing?
One of the key requirements to move toward a state of continuous testing is to get organizational buy-in on the value of testing, especially automated testing. You may want to start with How to Begin Automated Testing, or looking at customers such as America’s Test Kitchen that have made the switch to test automation and how it has impacted their business. From there, it is crucial to make sure you are investing in the right people, processes, and tools.
Here at SmartBear we break web testing into 5 stages:
- 1. Sporadic Organizations are testing on an ad-hoc basis. Testing may not necessarily be recognized as a business process but can happen reactively based off specific feedback.
- 2. Valued Organizations have recognized the value of testing and incorporated as a step for major updates or releases. At this stage, testing has started to include some level of documentation.
- 3. Adopted Organizations have formed a recognized process with dedicated testing resources. At this stage, testers have started scripting tests or using tools like Selenium.
- 4. Optimized Testers are part of a formal testing or QA department and automation has become a part of the testing process. There’s a clear strategy to use cross-platform and cross-browser testing to optimize the user experience.
- 5. Strategic Organizations have formed a best-in-class testing team which is clearly integrated into a company’s culture. Testing philosophy and successful web experiences are paramount to the company’s success.
No matter what stage you identify with, all teams can start thinking about how test automation and continuous testing can start improving your QA efforts. For testers who find themselves in stages 1 and 2, you may want to consider finding tools that help you get started with automation and make test creation easier, such as tools that have record and replay capabilities. For those testers who find themselves in stages 3 and 4 may want to consider finding a tech stack that allows scheduling, automation, a wide breadth of devices and browsers, as well as integrations that tie into their existing web deployment process. In order to reach stage 5, all of the above applies, and we can guarantee that in order to be in this top tier category, you must leverage a successful iterative and continuous testing strategy.