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What is Shift left Testing? And why is it so relevant?

Test Management

Wednesday June 22, 2022

Shift Left Testing is introduced as a vague solution to a big problem. It allows you to create and execute test cases earlier in the development cycle stage. It shifts to the left testing all the stages of the process sequentially and continuously.

Many software projects, especially smaller ones, get paused in between their development cycle.

Maybe because big fixes made them run out of budget or could not deliver the product at the scheduled time.

The problem is that software testing is done way too late and not more often.

To learn the meaning of the early testing term, how it works, and its benefits, let’s read on.

What is Shift Left Testing?

To reduce the number of bugs during and after software development and improve the quality of the product, Shift Left Testing or Early Testing is implemented.

It is a method to push testing towards the early stage of software development like requirements defects, complicated designing, and so on.

By doing so, you uncover and solve the issues in an early testing phase before they become major.

Don’t confuse the term Shift Left here with literally shifting to left.

It’s about shifting to automated testing from manual testing to detecting bugs early and at all stages and often testing, diminishing the extra manual work.

Shift left testing process

Why do you need shift left testing?

In a traditional Software Development Life Cycle, the testing phase numbers last in the process, just before the launch of the product.

This results in encountering serious issues may be in your design, longer buffer time, clickable buttons not working as required, and more like this.

This requires extensive efforts under experience manpower supervision that would cost you a fortune.

To sum up, start testing early throughout the development process and test often to reduce risk, cost, and time.

Using the strategy, you keep improving your software’s quality before it goes under the last testing phases.

Advantages and benefits of shift left testing

Potential smaller bugs with major risks that are detected earlier cost much less to fix and remove.

Automation is essential to reduce human errors and lets the testers focus on multiple inspiring tasks without affecting the quality.

l Precaution is better than a cure, and not just medically.

By reducing the unexpected threats from the potential malfunction with the Shift Left Testing strategy, you increase development process cycle efficiency.

How to Implement Shift Left Testing? / How do you shift a test to the left?

Implement a successful shift left testing strategy by following the below given important steps:

  1. Plan & Analysis- Include Testers from the beginning to carefully analyze the requirements, design plan, and calculate the estimated budget.
  2. Include Developers & Testers– Build a professional team of QAs and developers throughout the designing and developing phase of the project and increase the actual testing phase efficiency.
  3. Unified Testing Strategy– This allows you to identify and analyze the dependencies on the environment, code reviews, automation, and test data; and helps define clear responsibilities to each team member.
  4. Risk-Based Analysis– It is implemented to determine the impact and chances of failure for each test scenario. The testers must prioritize the test cases and discuss with the developers the likely-to-be failed aspects and their impacts on the overall development cycle.
  5. Introduce Test Automation– As Shift Left Testing involves testing often and throughout the process, embrace the test automation tools to speed up the development lifecycle, increase efficiency, fewer bugs, and generate quick feedback. It ensures better code coverage and maintains the product’s quality.

Different Types of the Shift Left Testing

There are four different types of Shift Left Testing that provide different results in different scenarios.

1) Traditional Shift Left Testing

To understand the traditional shift testing, we must first understand the traditional SDLC V-Model, which emphasizes, acceptance and system-level testing, on testing from lower down on the right side of the V-model.

Whereas Traditional Shift-Left Testing emphasizes unit testing and integration testing, this is done using API testing and automated testing tools.

2) Incremental Shift Left Testing

This is a suitable approach for large software companies and projects with complex designs and development.

The tasks are broken into smaller segments that are built on each other with an increment.

After each increment is delivered to a customer and operation team, then the developing and testing incrementally shifts to the left, which helps testers to run test case scenarios on each individual bit making it easier to identify and fix the potential risks.

3) DevOps/Agile Shift Left Testing

This kind of software testing approach is practiced to run continuous tests on the number of sprints via an evolutionary development life cycle, like DNA.

It is mainly done for development testing only once when the system is operational.

4) Model-based Shift Left Testing

The shift-left testing starts at the early stage of the development cycle, so the bugs and threats are fixed long before the software development life cycle would start.

It leads to missing some critical issues regarding the requirement gathering phase, which gets introduced after development cycle completion and can contain serious threats and errors.

Model-based testing shifts to the left by testing requirements, building, and designing models are fulfilling the needs of the desired product.

Factors to Keep In Mind for a Successful Early Testing

There are lots of factors because of which your shift-left testing strategies can fail like testers or developers are not involved from the early stage, not able to analyze the right testing environment, and so on.

Not testing enough!

To reduce the impact of bugs and the likeliness of the failures of the testing, you must ensure to run testing continuously.

This approach helps testers to identify minor and major issues earlier.

Practicing the same development process

The SDLC process needs to adapt and accommodate the earlier testing environment.

For instance, if you want to perform user interface testing at an early stage, you need to change and develop the system requirements that support the earlier testing environment.

Still Stuck on Manual testing!

The larger the system, the more is it at risk and more testing.

Testers cannot keep up with the instant update, release, customization, and integration manually and maintain the product’s quality at the same time.

Hence, shift to automated testing and tackle every challenge with more testing capacity and accuracy. Some of the tools you can use are Selenium, Leap work, etc.

There is something called shift right as well! what’s the difference between shift left and shift right?

Shift right is a bit of a shocking concept actually.  To speed up the development process the entire testing process will be sifted to post-development.

The reason behind such a drastic shift is to gain user insight regarding the issues and correct it so that higher UX gain can be achieved

  • A/B testing can be performed easily
  • The stability of the back-end architecture can be examined in detail
  • Issues with the app can be traced out in the early stages of deployment
  • real-world performance insights  can be gained

Conclusion

Customers are expecting high-quality products with new features and functions.

But, with the increasing demands businesses cannot keep up with the pace.

Hence, the need for shift left testing arose. In this article, we have learned what Shift Left Testing is, how it can be approached and implemented, its different types, and how it will benefit in improving the quality of the product.

To make it short, shift-left/early testing is mainly implemented to detect any potential bugs and defects earlier, which results in speeding up the delivery process, improved customer experience, and overall cost reduction.

So, receive benefits for the entire team, start implementing this approach, and deliver error-free, high-quality products.

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