The quality of a product or service plays the all-important role in differentiating a successful enterprise from an also-ran one. In the highly competitive digital era, the choice for enterprises to stay relevant, competitive, and customer centric is clear – offer superior quality products (and services) at equally high speed. The days of legacy systems and old paradigms seem to be numbered, for now, the thrust is towards incorporating new technologies and reimagining the business architecture to deliver the best customer experience. However, ensuring quality across the digital ecosystem comprising a multitude of device platforms, frameworks, operating systems, browsers, and networks, can be challenging.
The rapidly changing user preferences and the need to keep with the latest technology trends can overwhelm any enterprise worth its salt. Also, a significant section of the industry has adopted Agile and DevOps methodologies to achieve the above-mentioned objectives. The challenge, therefore, is to incorporate shift-left testing in the SDLC underpinned by test automation to achieve objectives such as – maximizing the test coverage area and offering Continuous Integration and Delivery solutions. Since the traditional model of quality assurance is found to be wanting in meeting these objectives, especially in the Agile-DevOps driven ecosystem, the need to adopt software quality engineering becomes inevitable.
What is Quality Engineering?
The digital transformation initiatives undertaken by enterprises to be with the times encompass simplification, modernization, and securing of the legacy systems and aligning them with the cutting-edge technologies of today. In this endeavour, quality needs to have a 360-degree approach that straddles the end-to-end spectrum of the SDLC. This is where enterprises need to employ independent quality engineering services driven by intelligent and automated processes. Thus, the process of quality engineering (QE) ensures the quality of software application is validated, enhanced, and analyzed throughout the SDLC.
It vastly differs with the traditional waterfall model where QA takes place in a silo at the end of the software development process. Moreover, QE rises above the shift-left QA process as well by performing both functions – detecting and preventing the occurrence of glitches. In other words, quality engineering is comprehensive, descriptive, effective, and vastly superior to the existing QA practices.
Importance of Software Quality Engineering in the Agile-DevOps driven world
In the Agile and DevOps models of development and testing, quality is optimized throughout the SDLC. Here, every stakeholder is made accountable to ensure the quality of the software application, which in practice, can suffer from infirmities. To put this conundrum in simple terms – since it is everyone’s responsibility to drive quality through rigour and discipline, no one seems to take ownership. In the absence of a disciplined mechanism to monitor quality, the exercise to shift towards Agile or DevOps becomes meaningless. Thus, even though the product may come out of the development cycle fast enough, its overall quality may leave much to be desired. Let us understand how enterprise quality engineering can help remedy the situation.
With QE, there is greater collaboration between developers and testers with the latter tasked with setting up the basic testing architecture to be relied upon for future testing exercises. QE can give a software quality engineer the requisite flexibility and wherewithal to increase the speed of testing by a long margin. This is done by incorporating test automation at the core of QE. It helps in not only executing both functional and non-functional testing but validating (and integrating) each layer of the application. Since the bulk of testing is executed through test automation, QE offers manual testers the much-needed flexibility to be innovative and exploratory. Moreover, on the lines of DevOps, QE engenders changes in processes, tools, and people’s approach (and skills). In addition to Agile and DevOps testing, the services offered by a quality engineering company would include test automation, service virtualization, security testing, performance testing, monitoring and analysis, and test data management.
In a day and age dominated by changing market dynamics reflected in mergers and acquisitions, emerging security challenges and the consequent emphasis on risk and compliance, data analytics, mobile commerce and others, customers as well as business stakeholders are increasingly relying on IT. To deliver the best customer experience across the value chain, testers are moving beyond shift-left testing. Software quality engineering helps enterprises to strengthen decision making, improve the delivery of quality services, and deliver business value to the end customers.