Improving the QA Process at an Agile Office

Companies of all sizes continue to embrace the Agile methodology with the hopes of making their software development process more efficient and subsequently more productive. Agile emphasizes collaboration and communication and it is able to react to changes better than older methodologies, like the Waterfall. It is a perfect match for today’s fast-paced, competitive business world.

A faster software engineering process, however, doesn’t mean companies should forego testing and quality assurance. Unfortunately, it seems businesses are struggling with software QA within an Agile framework, according to a recent survey of development shops. Let’s take a closer look at the study’s findings with the hopes of improving the QA role at Agile shops.

Testing Tool Provider, Zephyr, looks at QA in the Business World

Zephyr, a company making applications to support software testing, annually releases a study focused the QA role within the business community. Called “How the World Tests,” it is available as a free download from their website. Managers in the software development and QA role need to check out the full study with its findings and predictions for the coming year.

Hamesh Chawla, vice president of engineering at Zephyr, commented on the purpose of their study. “‘How the World Tests’ allows the entire testing community to examine our progress over the last year. IT teams want to speed up deployment of new software to meet demand. Companies should increase employee education investments in order to fine-tune the most efficient automated tests that work for any software they develop,” said Chawla.

Quality assurance remains a vital part of the SDLC no matter the choice of methodology. Even so, we are going to focus on one area within the survey — the difficulties Agile shops are experiencing with QA on software projects. SD Times also covered this topic in a recent article.

The Major Problems of Software Testing and Agile

The Zephyr study noted three major problems development teams were experiencing when it comes to testing with Agile. They are the lack of automation tools, constantly changing requirements, and not enough time for thorough testing. Companies understand automation is important in helping QA keep up with the rapid pace of an Agile project, but only 45 percent of the survey respondents felt their organization had the competency to employ automated testing.

Chawla feels companies need to invest in automation tools and the training to leverage them properly within the Agile process. Of course, he works at a testing tool company, but that fact doesn’t lessen the impact of his statement. Software development teams also use other recent innovations, like containers and virtualization, to make the overall process faster.

Businesses also need to invest more dollars in employee development to ensure a better understanding of Agile and everyone’s role within the framework. Involving QA personnel at every step of the SDLC is also important – a traditional complaint of software testers for decades. The reengineering of testing processes to better fit within the Agile structure is another key point of improvement from the survey.

Ultimately, organizations need to understand that Agile doesn’t just mean “faster.” A well-considered process that properly includes the QA role is a requirement to ensure successful product delivery.

When you need additional insights on the world of software development, you know where to turn: The Betica Blog. As always, thanks for reading!

Is FaaS – Features-as-a-Service – the Next Big Thing in Software Development?

The growing popularity of the Cloud-based service model has led to a plethora of acronyms ending in “aaS.” Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) remain three of the most common examples of these service offerings in the tech industry. Businesses of all sizes enjoy cost savings by leveraging the Cloud in this manner.

Now software developers, trying to keep up in an increasingly rapid business world, have their own Cloud-based service acronym. Enter Features-as-a-Service (FaaS). Does FaaS give application engineers the chance to build more functional software faster and at a lower cost? Let’s take a look.

Code Reuse in a Cloud-based Wrapper

Code reuse is a traditional way for programmers to accomplish more by doing less. It’s one of the reasons libraries and APIs are so popular throughout the industry. We’ve covered this technology and API Testing extensively in the past on this very blog.

FaaS essentially just makes this process more componentized; delivering a library of functionality in a convenient Cloud-based wrapper for software engineers to use in their own applications. Instead of spending time reinventing the wheel, developers are able to focus on the unique functionality that makes their app special. Technology VP, JT Ripton commented on the FaaS trend

“Whereas on the backend developers already are using pay-as-you-go infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services for cloud computing and services such as Stripe for payment processing, FaaS takes the same approach but applies it to the front end,” said Ripton. He also notes developers struggling with implementing a public API need to consider FaaS as an option when speed is of the essence.

Scenarios where Usage of a FaaS is Smart

A variety of FaaS providers are currently supporting common functional areas within applications, potentially saving development teams both time and money. Mapbox is one such provider worthy of consideration when compared to Google’s Map API and its arcane documentation. A plug-and-play model simply works more efficiently in today’s era of Agile and DevOps.

Social interactivity is another good example. There is no need to build social functionality from scratch, when a provider like Tapglue offers their own FaaS. Their service includes functionality supporting user profiles and news feeds, as well as interactive features like sharing, commenting, and more.

Agora.io offers a FaaS that adds real time communication – voice and video – to an application. This would be a boon for a game developer working on a MMORPG or any other type of multiplayer title. Concentrate on your game’s functionality; not on getting codecs to work properly on a variety of devices.

Ripton stresses the essential difference between FaaS and other types of code reuse like an API is the front-end component. This is especially useful for teams without their own UI design talent. He feels this is a natural progression on how software gets written.

“FaaS is just the next evolution of the mashup and code reuse trend that’s been picking up steam over the past several decades. It isn’t a “revolutionary” idea, or even truly innovative. But it is perfectly in line with the way we code today — it is a new application of something we’ve seen before,” said Ripton.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights from an ever-changing software development world. Thanks for reading!

DevOps becoming Standard at the Enterprise

A competitive business environment requires companies to work faster than ever before – including their software development initiatives. This remains one of the major reasons organizations look towards Agile as an application engineering methodology. Making Agile work efficiently requires better collaboration between the various departments within IT, with DevOps seeing increasingly wide adoption as an organizational structure to improve interaction between teams.

In fact, DevOps isn’t only for companies on the bleeding edge of innovation. It is fast becoming a standard at enterprises as well as smaller businesses. Let’s take a closer look at this trend, as it may be time to leverage the advantages of improved collaboration at your shop.

The Emerging Popularity of DevOps is linked with the Growth of the Cloud

Writing for BetaNews, IT infrastructure architect, Jon Topper feels the entry of DevOps into the enterprise mainstream is related to the now near-standard status of Cloud-based services at the business. “2016’s increase in adoption ties in directly with the growing confidence in and uptake of public cloud technologies too. DevOps and cloud remain closely linked; it’s our view that a cloud strategy without a DevOps approach will probably fail,” said Topper.

Since its introduction over six years ago, DevOps has undergone the same level of iterative improvement at those innovative companies first using the organizational structure. With more businesses looking at the Cloud for cost savings and productivity improvements, it now makes sense to use a now mature DevOps as part of a migration to a Cloud-based infrastructure.

A Nimble Business simply competes Better

Providing better customer service – at either a B2B or B2C level – remains a key factor separating the top companies from the also-rans no matter the industry. A desire for this kind of business agility is also causing enterprises to embrace DevOps to streamline their software development and infrastructure management processes with no loss in productivity. In short, a nimble business is a better competitor.

“We’re now getting to the stage where, without a DevOps approach, businesses can’t unlock agility without compromising on quality, security, and people. It’s become a requirement to stay ahead of the game,” comments Jon Topper.

DevOps Adoption brings many Benefits to a Business

Adopting a DevOps structure at an IT department provides a host of tangible benefits to the business. A yearly study – the State of DevOps Report – produced by the software development company, Puppet, details some of these gains. They include the ability to “deploy 200 times more frequently, with 2,555 times faster lead times, recover 24 times faster, and have three times lower change failure rates.”

Firms using DevOps also enjoy higher employee loyalty ratings. They spent 22 percent less time on reworking code; allowing 29 percent more time for new features and innovations, according to the Puppet Study. In short, DevOps is a must if an enterprise wants to successfully compete in today’s business landscape.

Looking at the informed analysis of an IT industry pundit combined with hard numbers from a research study, it is easy to understand why DevOps is rapidly becoming the standard at today’s technology shop. Businesses who forego it do so at their own peril!

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights and dispatches from the world of software development. Thanks for reading!