Every pre-New Year season is the high-productive time to plan things big and ensure that you are fully packed for the upcoming season. This is the very time when tech experts cannot wait to compare their QA expectations to the predictions.
So what is the running theme for 2020? Let us recall last year when the loyalty of the values-driven consumer was the foremost priority. By now, the front-row seat goes to achieving business growth. However, you should not be disappointed: providing consumer satisfaction or detecting defects before they release into production is still incredibly important.
Source: World Quality Report 2019-2020
Want to know more about key QA trends and recommendations for the upcoming year? Keep reading and identify the main points for the coming year.
- Keep aligning QA with Agile and DevOps
- Focus on AI and Ml to bring efficient processes to the place
- Rethink test automation: make it a business-driven platform, not a capability
- Pay special attention to security testing
- Reconsider test data and environment management
- Optimize QA costs
Keep aligning QA with Agile and DevOps
We have been writing about this idea throughout the year and are repeating ourselves now: achieving high quality when developing applications is a challenge. Once you have started the continuous improvement, this process will be interminable.
How to provide updates at a faster pace and increase agility as well? Of course, implement Agile and DevOps. According to the latest World Quality Report (WQR) 2019-2020, only 1% of those who have gone through the adoption claimed that they haven’t faced any problems. The others admitted that the biggest issues that slow down the progress of successful Agile and DevOps realization are operational and business priorities, the technology stack, and the skills needed to work with them.
If the company has a clear vision of what its success should be like and what the main needs are, it will be painless to harmonize Agile and DevOps with the business.
The main challenges in applying testing to Agile is a lack of test environment and data and inability to get the right level of test automation. When the companies become more Agile and DevOps, they need smarter ways of automating and should give added value to testing’s role in the development cycle making it a part of the pipeline. For this, they need to onboard talents having the right skill set and train those specialists that don’t.
In line with the WQR, over half of the companies admit that they are satisfied with their skill levels in each testing area whether more than a quarter does lack skills in each of the aspects including test automation, performance, security, and more.
Focus on AI and Ml to bring efficient processes to the place
Initially, it might appear that last year the IT world representatives seemed to be very excited about AI comparing with this year. According to Forrester’s surveys, only 29% of global developers have been utilizing AI or ML software during 2019.
What about software testing? In 2018, 57% of the interviewed for the WQR said they applied AI in QA activities to help the teams test better, whether in 2019, the number is 42%.
Let us take a few minutes to see if “AI and everything” are that bad. Is seems that people still believe in AI but they are becoming more realistic about this issue and are only in progress of realizing the artificial intelligence landscape. In the latest WQR edition, we also see machine learning coming to the arena with double force. Have a look at these statistics: 58% of internal processes are using ML, which is almost double higher than the percentage of AI for that role.
However, AI is still a significant part of QA and will probably unleash its potential in the future and will most likely be applied to mitigate the risk of defects and areas of risk, create smart dashboards, etc. Talking about the talents that apply AI in QA, many companies have their in-house AI team but about 60% of respondents prefer to onboard external specialists. By now, AI-related skill set within QA has to be further expanded to get new knowledge in test automation, test data management, and so on.
Will AI keep its positions in 2020? IDC predicts that in five years, at least 90% of new apps versions will include embedded AI features. Though, Forrester assures we are to expect the last peak in AI funding in 2020.
Rethink test automation: make it a business-driven platform, not a capability
Test automation is not leaning back but it’s still a complicated activity. With the apps changing too much with every release, automation cannot keep up with this speed, and 65% of WQR respondents prove this statement. More than half of the IT representatives have difficulties in providing stable test data and environment not possessing enough skilled test automation talents.
Still, test automation can result in multiple far-reaching benefits.
Source: World Quality Report 2019-2020
But to change “CAN” into ”WILL”, next-generation automation engineers have to expand their development skills, knowledge in RPA (robotic process automation), TDD, ML, API, and microservices. As soon as the companies are ready to have the right people with the needed skills and to increase the amount of automation, it will be possible to reimagine it as a mature intelligent platform that will help focus QA on contributing to business values.
Pay special attention to security testing
This year, the importance of security was taken to the next level, and QA engineers are to assure with special accuracy that only secured code is deployed to the production.
It goes without saying that understanding of security issues is deeper than it was before. Therefore, security testing should probably show good results in being automated more than other testing types, right? Strangely, it is not. Relying on the WQR statistics, only 13% of security checks are automated, and that is the room for improvement.
Companies should dedicate more resources to getting over security challenges and ensure the safeness of the customer’s data according to GDPR, CCPA, and other protection rules. What can we do? Increase test automation adoption, run more tests quicker, and shift security testing left to reduce risks.
Reconsider test data and environment management
This year, we see that test data and test environments management continue to be quite challenging.
According to the WQR, only the third of companies test on permanent test environments. But what about their cost? Comparing with the last year (39%), 60% of the interviewed suppose the costs to be too high. Though, every cloud has a silver lining: test environments are becoming more visible and available.
In 2020, the companies should raise awareness and visibility of test environments by onboarding the right skills, try to build a CoE for test data management to create and maintain real-time test data from production systems.
Below, you can see the brief report made by the QA specialist at the annual a1qa summer conference on how to benefit from test design techniques.
Optimize QA costs
4 years ago, 35% of the budget was given to QA. In 2019, the percentage has decreased by 12%. Should that mean that software testing is not one of the most crucial IT budget areas? No.
In 2015, when companies were investing that much in QA, it was a long-term strategy that resulted in getting better results from new tools and techniques adoption. An increased amount of releases, delivery of quality at speed, and other factors that help achieve business needs are those items of expenditure that do determine the software testing budget.
The final word
As QA is becoming more business-focused and embedded with everything, teams have to expand their capabilities across test automation, test data and environment management, bearing in mind AI and security issues.
Have QA-related challenges? Drop us a note to get a free consultation with the a1qa specialists.