Reflection of 2023. Trends in Software QA for 2024
Bogdana Ivanova, CEO of nextpertis GmbH, is speaking about transformation and its impact on software deliveries.
Transformation is happening
In 2020, due to the Pandemic situation, many businesses had been forced to digitize their products and services so they could keep on functioning normally. Many human interactions had to be replaced by digital services and for good or bad, this trend remained long after the Covid situation. In post Covid times, businesses which traditionally relay on personal contact with their end customers, discovered a whole new Universe of digitalization. Logically, the competition for better position on the market moved from business to R&D departments. The development group who is able to deliver products/services faster practically guarantees its company a larger market share and advantages before other competitors.
The biggest breakthrough of 2023, was the wide expansion of AI in all spheres of our lives. This gives a further impetus to digitalization and emphasized on the speed once again.
Unfortunately, many organizations, especially those who outsource their R&D activities, underestimated the importance of transforming quality assurance activities and their impact over the speed of the whole software delivery. At the end of this year we have witnessed low trust, budget cuts, and so-called internalizing of these activities, mainly distributing them to developers.
No more manual testing
The classical manual testing, as we know it by now, is no more applicable to the new release demands. A fast delivery to production environment cannot be supported by extensive and long manual testing phasis. Additionally, the complexity of architecture of the application nowadays, requires testing on lower level which makes sense only automatized.
However, the manual approach of testing is changing and shrinks to so called CAT (Customer Acceptance testing). Exploratory and Usability testing and in any case is not part of the functional testing activities.
New demands, new roles
The classical role model, where work responsibilities are based on type of activity, is no longer applicable in the new reality. Moreover, it is not a working solution anymore. Test analysis, automation testing, test coordination and execution cannot be done by few different persons within an agile team. This increases unnecessary the costs and communication overhead. An agile tester should be able to perform all those activities and in addition, have enough technical knowledge to understand the application architecture, schedule nightly executions, setup VMs and trigger deployments to test environments.
The old roles transforms in a way that they fit to new demand. New roles like Agile Tester or QA – even testOps, will be appearing more often. Management roles will be moving in direction responsibility on release/delivery level, i.e. Delivery or Release Managers, Chapter Leads, etc.
Trends and Challenges
Laszlo Frantz, Strategy Development Partner, is emphasizing on the need of new skills and challenges this could bring.
Moving focus from testing to quality
Realization that in agile set up the testing is not enough to assure the quality of a whole release/delivery is already there. The focus of organizations is moving increasingly in direction sustainability and assuring long term quality and stability of the delivery process. Automating of test cases is not enough anymore. We need to automate the processes and operations around quality assurance, following the DevOps model. Testers should build more technical expertise around automating QA processes.
Catching up with the knowledge gap
During transformations, the companies tend to change not only their working processes but their tooling strategy as well. Building new skills takes time, finding specialist with proper skill set, especially in current market situation when roles are predefining, too. Companies need to evaluate very well the learning curve and recruiting situation, so they can be crystal-clear that every change in such strategic areas like QA, comes with investment cost and high risk to damage the company reputation due to poor quality.
Consulting as expertise, not as outsourcing
Organizations do not need tо fill up their vacant positions with external resources anymore. They need short-term, but expert knowledge to guide them through the transformation process and educate their internal manpower. The current situation on the IT consulting market unambiguously shows this. The good news is that consulting in IT is coming back to its roots and clearly distinguishes itself from the outsourcing business.
Speed matters. Technical trends
Paul Merker, DevOps Partner, moves the curtains and shows us technical trends for 2024
Generative AI, the elephant in the room
The year 2023 was by far the most interesting year for GenAI in IT. LLM’s (Large Language Models) began to evolve and were commercialized. With products like ChatGPT, AWS CodeWhisperer and GitHub Copilot the IT industry got access to a completely new way of writing code and automating repetitive tasks.
In QA and testing, AI has more of a supportive role, rather than to replace activities or even replace QA and testing manpower. AI is a great tool for more efficient creation of testing scripts, and aids in learning new technologies.
However, I expect that in 2024 this technology will solidify itself for customers of big tech corps, due to GDPR and compliance being figured out. There are whole industries like health care, banking & insurance, aircraft, etc. which fall under heavy regulations.
Platform Engineering is another trend we have observed in 2023 and will gather more popularity in the next months. Its goal is to provide a catalogue of assets so to speak, with which teams can get from requirements stage to production faster than ever before. This can be achieved in a way that is compliant to your company’s policies. One example is backstage.io , a tool that generalized the platform engineering approach. After building an IdP (internal developer platform) by hand, I would definitely look out for backstage.io and competitors in 2024 and invest some time in preparing IdP bootstrap processes.
Focus on the quality of the code
The quality of code which developers produce is directly connected with investments which an organization makes for testing and assuring the quality. With other words the better the quality of the code is, the lower are costs on functional testing level.
Organizations start understanding that developers are directly responsible for the quality of the applications they are creating, and any effort spent in unit testing pays off with less defects, less efforts and less time spent in testing on higher level over the automation pyramid.
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