What Is QAOps? And Why It Matters For Your Web Application?

Introduction to QAOps Framework

In simple terms, QAOps aims at improving the software delivery process, making it faster and stable without compromising on the quality of your website or web application. Technically speaking, a QAOps framework integrates the QA processes into the software operation to make a more seamless and integrated software operational model. QAOps framework integrates the QA processes, automation and QA Reporting dashboard with the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) process. In a nutshell, QAOps takes the core ideas from continuous testing in DevOps, such as CI/CD and bringing together the siloed teams together to work on the pipeline and applies the same to QA process.

Definition of QAOps

While there is no official definition for QAOps, we can define the technique based on these two principles.

  • QAOps framework increases the collaboration between the QA engineers and developers. Therefore, QA engineers must work closely with software developers, operations personnel and everyone involved in the CI/CD pipeline.

Basic Practices For QAOps Frameworks

QAOps solves the most common disputes that persist between the testing team and Quality Assurance teams. Problems where testers “expect” the issue to have been solved by the QA team and vice versa are completely eliminated through the QAOps practice. QAOps brings in cooperation among the different departments of the organization. QAOps makes use of the following high-level testing practices to put the concept of QAOps into action –

1. Automated Testing

This is one of the main pillars of the QAOps framework. Automation testing means performing tests with the help of technology and tools, and very minimal human effort. QA engineers must study the product in detail and understand the specifications before building the automation framework. Depending on the product and the actual stage of development, QA engineers can decide which tests can be automated successfully to help save time and test the functionalities in a more effective way.

2. Parallel Testing

As part of the QAOps framework, testing should run quickly (in parallel with the delivery pipeline). Slowing down the testing efforts will directly affect the delivery process. Running automated tests will definitely speed up the testing process, but not when they are being executed run in a serial manner. To overcome this issue, it’s important for testing engineers to run multiple tests at once (together) rather than running them one after the other.

3. Test Scalability

Once you go-live with your web-application, you collect feedback from your customers, work on suggestions, consider incorporating new features in your upcoming sprints. After every release cycle, your web-application continues to scale, and with it scales the testing requirements! As for every new migration that is committed from CI/CD pipeline, the ripple effect of new code changes over an already running code has to be calculated and validated. So when it comes to infrastructure investment, you need to keep the Scalability testing in your checklist.

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Integrating Dev & Ops with QA

The final practice to achieve a QAOps framework is to make the QA activities a part of the CI/CD pipeline. One of the easiest ways to integrate Development and IT operations with QA is to make developers write test cases and IT operations engineers to identify potential UI/UX problems with the web application through QA team assistance. This gives the perfect opportunity for developers and QA engineers to collaborate and get a clear picture of the complete QA process. It also does not mean that QA engineers can take their hands off these processes and stay idle. This collaboration between the different stakeholders only makes the whole process of development and testing more efficient.

Life Cycle Of QAOps Framework

1. Trigger

One of the important aspects of QA testing is to trigger the right tests whenever an application functionality change is made in the CI/CD pipeline. The tests should be triggered only based on the changes that are made on the functionality. Otherwise, precious time will be lost in testing the unwanted areas of the application (where there are no changes) or critical areas might be missed out. In short, the more the number of tests, the greater the time to run the tests and share the results. To balance this situation, it’s important for the business to map the tests to the features that are getting built.

2. Execute

The next step in the QAOps process is Execution. After the triggering step, different tests will execute on the functionality. As explained previously, it’s important to make sure the tests run in parallel to save time and generate faster results. To achieve parallel testing, make sure you have the infrastructure that can scale and distribute the loads according to the need. Also, make sure the continuous testing in DevOps environment is highly available to avoid any testing hiccups during the QAOps life cycle.

3. Reporting

Once the tests are triggered and executed, the reporting process kicks in. The reporting module showcases the results of the tests. It’s important to design the reporting module correctly to make the QAOps process an efficient one. A perfect reporting module design should provide quick summary information (in a snapshot) as well as provide detailed information. This will be helpful for anyone taking a look at the reports. Additionally, the reporting module should also be able to store the history of previously run tests so that individual stakeholders can compare the results. Reports should be made easily available and on-demand, when in need.

Where can QAOps be used?

As pointed out earlier, though the QAOps framework is more powerful with the help of automated browser testing, it does not rule out the possibility of performing manual testing on the application. Manual cross browser testing can be extremely useful to provide detailed information about the web-application, not to forget, you need unique test cases that can come only by manual testing.

Functional Exploratory Testing

This testing makes sure if the application is running as expected when met with unexpected scenarios on the fly. No test cases are created in advance, as this type of testing is mostly based on the “thinking” of the testing personnel. Experienced test engineers reproduce the potential application crash scenarios and uncover the bugs using this technique.

  • Cognitive thinking from the tester when compared to scripted code.
  • The next steps of action are decided based on what is currently performed by the user.
  • Helps the tester to drill down to the smallest areas of the application and cover different edge cases.

Regression Testing

Regression testing plays an important role when you have already developed the software and you want to release an update with a new feature or an enhancement to the existing feature(s). At this time, QAOps will be helpful for test engineers to see if the newly added information has introduced any faults to the existing product.

Geolocation Testing

Every product development company or even for the simple fact, if you are developing a web application, you must know whether it will fit into a particular location. For example, you are developing a B2C web-application for Spain then you have to test over different browsers from various GeoIPs belonging to Spain. Why? It may sound a little shocking to you, but your web application may render differently on different GeoIPs due to internet standards and policies of a country.

How QAOps can be used within an organization?

QAOps might seem a similar term like DevOps, but it does not require a complete cultural change in the workplace. This framework aids developers and testers to mutually collaborate and work in getting faster results and/or testing new pieces of the application thoroughly before release.

QAOps Framework — Different School of Thoughts??

There are different school of thoughts that revolve around the concept of QAOps. While it is relatively a new term, some people even question if the term is a valid one or not. A thread on Reddit says that “QAOps ain’t a thing, and it can never be a thing”. QA is a part of the DevOps process and there is no point simply adding an “Ops” term after the word QA. DevOps includes every aspect of development as well as operations and if QA is a part of the development pipeline, it will be included as part of the development cycle. On the other hand, there are social media tags being used for QAOps by various software testing communities.

Can QAOps Be Referred As Continuous Testing in DevOps?

In a common DevOps approach, both developers and testers play a vital role. It’s the role of the QA that brings together both the development team and the IT operations together. When we say QA, it’s not just plain testing but continuous testing in DevOps! An organization with a strong strategy for continuous testing in DevOps makes them collaborate to deliver the best web application in the quickest of time. As a result, it’s fair enough to refer to QAOps as Continuous Testing in the DevOps approach.

  • Dev teams MUST perform continuous testing by testing every new functionality that is built in the application. They must test the application for its functionality, performance, ease of use of the interface. One of the best tools for this purpose is Selenium. They must build aggressive test cases to ensure every edge case scenario for the functionality that is built. It is the developer who is the best person to know the entire functionality in detail since he built it.
  • In parallel, QA teams must also start testing the new functionality to stay on course with the development pipeline.
  • After the testing is completed by the QA team and sign off is given, the IT Operations team must perform a deployment of the web application and provide sign off. Only after the signoff, the release process should begin.
  • Similarly, post the release activities, the IT Operations team should keep an eye on the web application to make sure everything is working as expected. They must monitor every aspect of the application to ensure efficiency.

Best Practices

Based on previous experiences and hearing from a lot of people about the DevOps practices across different organizations, here is a set of best practices to embrace Continuous Testing as a part of the DevOps process.

  • All the teams in the organization (dev, IT operations, QA) should be part of the entire release cycle. They must ensure to collaborate and communicate effectively during the entire course of the release.
  • CI/CD should be done on a regular basis, preferably daily basis. Everyone’s work must be merged into the release pipeline. This helps in identifying the defects at the early stages and rectifying them before it’s too late.
  • Quality teams should be a part of the release planning, requirements gathering process. It will be more effective if the quality teams work alongside the development teams to provide vital inputs during development.
  • Every team’s metrics should be defined and measured at defined intervals during the release process.
  • QA test engineers should make use of automation tools and scripts to automate as much of the testing possible. Deep regression testing should be performed on the existing features when new functionality is developed to make sure existing features are not broken.
  • Developers must start thinking as testers, and testers must do the vice versa, (i.e.) fix the code. This makes everyone in the organization takes responsibility for the overall quality of the product.

Wrapping Up

QAOps, Continuous Testing in DevOps as we can also call it, when correctly designed and implemented, definitely paves the road to faster software delivery. This gives the development teams the confidence for a faster time to market without any quality compromises. Reiterating the same point from above, putting QAOps into operation requires a lot of convincing to the stakeholders of the business. Once you are past this stage, it should pretty much be a smooth sail forward.

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