Why DevOps Recommends Shift-Left Testing

In today’s modern day and age of cutthroat competition and volatile market conditions, companies cannot afford to have products fail. However, applications and their development are complex, which leads to companies regularly facing a great deal of risk. Given the need to reduce risk and increase chances of success, many DevOps teams are encouraging or adopting shift-left testing. This article explores shift left testing and why DevOps recommends shift-left testing principles. 

What is Shift-Left Testing?

The rallying cry around shift-left testing is “test early and test often.” The idea is that when companies use the traditional waterfall workflow of planning, designing, developing, and testing, serious bugs are left undetected until closer to the end of the production process. This can lead to a product launch date being delayed by costly repair efforts. 

But, if companies were to start testing earlier and consistently in the software development life cycle (SDLC), those bugs would be easier to detect, less expensive and less problematic when found and addressed. Let’s compare developing an application to building a house. If a carpenter used the traditional waterfall workflow, then they would only check for errors in measurement after the wood has all been cut and put together. Yes, it will be easy to see the errors, but they are now difficult to correct. Shift left testing ensures that broken or incorrect parts aren’t used to build a product. By using the DevOps practices of continuous testing and continuous development, shift-left practices increase a company’s chances of producing a higher quality, successful product. 

Lower Costs

It is far less expensive to fix bugs the earlier they are caught. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reports that defects that need to be resolved during production cost far more than if they were fixed earlier in the life cycle. And different bugs have different costs. Typical bugs cost about 30 times more to repair in production, whereas bugs in security can be up to 60 times more expensive to fix in the later stages. Any bug detection earlier in the lifecycle process, especially any security defects detected, helps a company lower its risk and prevent substantial unexpected expenses.  

Launch on Anticipated Release Dates

One of the other costly factors of bugs that are detected late is that a product’s release date might need to be pushed. This puts companies between the rock and the hard place of either postponing the release date of a product or releasing defective software. Companies can prevent this unfortunate conundrum from occurring by adopting shift left testing. 

Better Quality Software

When operations “shift left” to work alongside development, this creates the opportunity for them to create testing and deployment processes. This helps developers catch bugs that might not show up until deployment—the more automated these tests, the better.

A company will build a better end product with shift-left testing. Finding bugs in the later stages of development can lead to the need for hasty repairs as they rush to meet deployment deadlines. When shift-left testing is employed, bugs are found earlier, leading to more effective repairs.

Another shift left principle that impacts product quality is its ability to prevent problems. This requires a different perspective than the one used with the current, traditional workflow. Focusing on prevention, rather than trying to detect problems after they’ve occurred, supports a company in building a better product from the ground up. 

Increased Competitive Advantage

For many companies, launching a quality product on time isn’t simply necessary for success, but it’s essential for survival. As such, any ground a company can gain during its product’s development life cycle increases its chances for success and gives them an edge over its competitors. DevOps recommends using shift left testing principles because they support the success of a product overall. When shift-left testing is used to help prevent problems, improve product quality, and create more efficiency during product development, companies can meet their deadlines and lower costs drastically across the board. When a company invests time and effort into leveraging shift-left testing in its software development process, it invests in its current and future success. 

Shift Left Testing With Encora

Encora software engineers are highly skilled at all aspects of shift-left testing. Companies can streamline and enhance their testing process and reduce the risk of failed products with automated testing earlier in the SDLC. Our team of expert engineers offers the benefits of their unique skill sets to assist our clients wherever they are in their process of applying shift-left testing. Reduce the risk of costly failures, speed up your development time and create higher-quality products with Encora. Please reach out today with any questions or to get started!

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