Through time, organizations acknowledged the necessity of Software Testing and the cost of placing this phase at the last stages of the Software Development Lifecycle. It is important to implement testing in the early stages because late discovered bugs require much more effort, time and money to be fixed. In many cases, a critical error detected at the very end of the lifecycle causes a delay on product release that results in a major loss. There are also cases where detection of a bug causes the software to be binned since it’s not even worth the effort to fix the problem.
Early diagnosis saves time and money
The idea of early diagnosis, which requires early testing, resulted in a big change in the world of software. The trending concept of Shift Left moved the testing phase to much earlier stages and even placed it throughout the development process.
How to Shift Left?
‘Shift left’ requires a testing team and all the stakeholders of the software product to collaborate in early phases of the software development, involving the testers in the process much earlier than before. This allows all interested parties to understand the specific needs of the project at hand and design the test cases accordingly. Building an understanding of the architecture, coding and its functions. This shift enables the development teams to recognize the failures fast and fix them easily.
Testing teams that are involved in the software development lifecycle are much more capable of creating various scenarios and designing real-time scripts based on the software behaviors, uncovering defects and bugs effectively.
Shift Left’s Influence on Software Development
- This new approach brings testers into the picture in early phases, involving them in the critical stages of the development. With Shift Left, testing teams’ focus also shifts from mere defect detection to defect prevention.
- Shift Left highlights the importance of testing, increases the roles and responsibility of the testers dramatically.
- Software Testing becomes not only about detecting bugs but an ongoing process that provides guidance to all involved parties by focusing on the long-term vision of the product.
- Shift Left approach enables testing teams to design the test cases focused on customer experience and their expectations early in development, allowing developers to check whether their product meets the customer needs.
Shift Left for Testers
This approach brings along a few changes to testers’ daily lives and job descriptions.
Testing team should participate in the development process from the start of the project. Consequently, integration with the rest of the team improves significantly to provide useful results and inputs at each stage.
The team also should work together with the Business & Operations team as well as all the business stakeholders as early as possible. By doing so, the team gets a clear picture about the end goal and resource needs as well as training and testing tool requirements. During the Requirements Planning phase, testers need to be involved to review and analyze the requirements for any ambiguity and improve clarity and testability. At this early stage, it will also be possible to identify the missing requirements.
Testers need to carry out Static Testing well in advance and provide feedback on key project documents to prevent bugs from getting grounded into the software and becoming hard to fix problems on later stages.
This would also allow the testers to provide guidance throughout this progress by keeping the long-term product vision in mind and directing the development efforts toward that goal.
Testers’ presence in the design review meetings are also instrumental, those meetings allow testers to learn the product design and architecture in detail and identify the design flaws and loopholes, suggest alternate design options and create test cases accordingly.
‘Shift Left’ approach transformed the role and the method of Software Testing for the better by finding the defects earlier and reducing the cost of the project by automation. As a result, it improves time to market and customer experience by focusing primarily on customer requirements.