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QAOps – Shift in the QA paradigm

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What is it?

Is it a specialization or a new team role? – The answer is No.

QAOps, also known as Continuous Quality (CQ), is a process of including quality engineering (QE) in Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). So, instead of being an isolated process, software testing is integrated into the CI/CD pipeline. It requires solid collaboration between the QA team, development, and IT operational teams to build a highly effective and cohesive process. In contrast to DevOps, QAOps emphasizes QA engineers’ problems and the importance of integrating software testing into the DevOps workflow.

How to Implement QAOps:

We can successfully implement QAOps by implementing Automation Testing, Parallelization, Scalability Testing, and Integration of Dev and IT Ops with the QA team. Let us look at each of these briefly:

  • Automation Testing.

Automated testing forms the base for the QAOps. It involves performing tests with the help of scripts, tools, etc., to certify test cases by repeating pre-defined actions that require very minimum human-centric efforts. To make it happen, SDET engineers must work on building a solid automation framework. Once we have an automation framework in place, QA engineers select the tests that can be automated which saves time and tests functionalities well. QA engineers should focus manual effort on testing only those functionalities that cannot be automated and/or exceptional testing use cases that are not good candidates for automation.
Although it is impractical to automate every test due to tool and technology stack limitations, we should strive for high automation coverage by automating as many tests as possible. The best way to approach QAOps is to integrate automation testing into the CI/CD pipeline.

  • Parallel Testing (Parallelization)

Parallel testing entails running multiple tests concurrently rather than sequentially. It allows you to run tests in various browsers and platforms at the same time, drastically reducing testing costs, effort, and time.
In the QAOps framework, your tests should run quickly because if the execution happens slowly, then it will impact the entire delivery process. We should run our tests parallelly instead of sequentially to achieve speed. Additionally, it improves test coverage. Parallel testing necessitates a good infrastructure to run the tests concurrently, but the results are impressive with no impact on the delivery pipeline.

  • Scalability Testing

Test scalability comes into play once the application goes live and begins to gain popularity and gives you the desired results, which is when you must scale it judiciously.
When the application scales, the testing of that application must necessarily scale as well. Scalability helps in determining the application’s performance under varying load conditions. With the result of scalability testing, we can conclude the response of the application with respect to the differential loads. As a standard QAOps practice, the QAOps team must have access to the scalable infrastructure and framework to perform testing and increase the speed of tests when needed.

  • Integrate Dev and IT Ops in QA

The final and most crucial step toward the framework’s success is incorporating all QA activities into the CI/CD pipeline. Applying a shift-left testing approach to integrate the QAOps framework can help to avoid launch delays.
When the QA engineers collaborate with Developers and IT Operations teams, it helps in testing new features without any lag from the team. This collaboration between the different teams makes the development and testing process more effective.

Here are a few responsibilities (not only limited to) of an engineer who performs QAOps work:

  1. Building an automation test plan
  2. Developing and maintaining the QA automation framework and scripts
  3. Configuring remote automated test execution (including parallel run)
  4. Reporting and distributing the results via communication channels such as Slack, MS Teams, email, etc.
  5. Communicating and collaborating with the Operations and Development team (from development start to deployment into live environments)

Few tools/technologies stack that the QAOps team use for different streams to add value to the QAOps process:

  1. Functional Automation: Selenium, Appium, Cypress, Playwright, Protractor, WebdriverIO, and others.
  2. Performance Testing Tools: JMeter, LoadRunner, NeoLoad, and others.
  3. CI/CD Tools: Azure DevOps, AWS CodeBuild, Jenkins, Git workflow, and others.
  4. Cloud infrastructure: Azure, AWS, Docker, and others.
  5. Remote browser execution: BrowserStack, SauceLab, Pcloudy, and others.
  6. Reporting: Extent, Allure, Report Portal, and others.

Benefits Of QAOps:

  1. As this process demands collaboration between the QA, Development, and IT Operations Teams, it allows them to enhance their skills in a variety of areas.
  2. As the QAOps process abides by the shift-left testing approach, this accelerates issue fixes early without sacrificing time and deploys the application sooner.
  3. CI/CD testing allows issues to be identified at an earlier stage, providing a reliable application with the utmost quality.
  4. Because testing occurs on a continual basis, the chances of an improved customer experience increase since the application quality and delivery are improved.
  5. IT operation team avoids any delays by having the QAOps operations run constantly. This permits the QA team to test new apps/features without being slowed down.

In Conclusion

QAOps is critical for teams that automate their CI/CD pipelines because it emphasizes speed without sacrificing quality. Once implemented, this process in the CI/CD pipeline saves time and money on testing products. The rise of QAOps highlights the problem that quality is frequently overlooked in software development.

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