SHIFT LEFT TESTING Is Nothing New

It seems that everyone is talking about SHIFT LEFT TESTING, but is this really a new and innovative approach to testing in the 21st century or just a tried and tested idea under a new catchy name?

What is SHIFT LEFT TESTING?

The core principal is adding a greater level of quality to a project or program by testing earlier in the development lifecycle, and with the current wave of DevOps & Agile methodologies, this has never been so relevant as it is today.

Is SHIFT LEFT TESTING new?

The answer is NO. Testing professionals know that projects that leave testing until the end of the development cycle are always doomed to either:

  • Failure – due to development over-running and therefore either taking up valuable testing time or new development still occurring once testing has started therefore leading to an unstable testing platform, OR
  • Expensive fault fixing – due to re-factoring of requirements, re-tracing of faults back to the original architectural design, which then needs to be re-constructed etc…

The issue has always been the way projects are budgeted, and this falls into one of two ways:

  1. The Project gains funding for a proof of concept or an initial design phase, this consists of an architect of some sort (Enterprise / Solution etc..), a BA and maybe one or two developers. At best, testing may get asked to provide an estimate for their work effort. PM’s still see having testers on the team from day one as non-budgeted head count, expensive, not adding value or, our personal favourite, “We’re not ready to engage testing.”
  2. The PM’s aren’t being trusted or supported by their Stakeholders, who are constantly after reports and budget controls. Maybe it’s time to feel sorry for the PM’s, trust them to manage their budgets effectively and hold them accountable for the decisions they make but not week by week.
So what is the solution?

Embrace continuous integration or deployment:

Realise that, as soon as a project starts, you should be “ready to engage Testers.” This helps in multiple ways:

  • Testing adds value immediately
  • Faults are identified early and are quick and easy to resolve
  • The cohesiveness of the team is there from day one, which means a stronger relationship between all team members for when the going gets tough

Embrace SHIFT LEFT TESTING but don’t think it’s something new – it’s just something sensible!