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The Human Value In Automation-driven Devops Testing

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By Author: Diya Jones
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To ensure the quality of software across all digital touchpoints, enterprises are embracing DevOps that is underpinned on automation. In fact, automation has become the crux of continuous integration and delivery, the vital Devops testing goals. Without the implementation of automation, DevOps would become a distant dream and businesses would struggle to keep pace with seamless delivery and integration. However, DevOps entails more than the implementation of the latest automation tool and demands a more holistic approach. It does so by bringing together processes, people and technologies under a shared vision. As defined by Microsoft, DevOps is the coalition of products, people and processes to facilitate the seamless delivery of value to the end customers.

DevOps is considered to be the latest advancement of the Agile movement. It includes more number of stakeholders in the process of delivering value by linking the silo based teams. It may not be the best practice but is a discipline of people-centric management. Continuous delivery is the technical foundation of DevOps automation which extends to Agile foundation as well. To put in simply, a close collaboration between the operations and development teams is known as DevOps, which is used to automate the delivery pipeline.

Role of Automation in DevOps to increase productivity

Since digital transformation has taken over the present-day business model, more and more companies are embracing the DevOps practice to drive the automated deployment of software. We are shifting towards an organizational culture where development and testing takes place simultaneously, quickly and more often. This helps to maintain high ratings on the quality of software on a consistent basis with a faster turnaround time. The main agenda of DevOps Testing is to derive quality outcome all along the Software Development Life Cycle and beyond. So, with the help of DevOps culture, a new code of development, testing, and delivery is introduced in the overall SDLC.

The automation in DevOps empowers companies to:

1. Enhance the reliability, reusability, and quality of all components

2. Save costs of upgradation and maintenance

3. Improve the rate of success for standardized processes to ensure rapid delivery of applications

Automate everything! Is it even really possible?

With the help of the DevOps approach, the developers automate and accommodate operational activities - from the source code commit to operational productivities. The primary goal of KEYWORDDevOps automation is to remove bottlenecks in the pipeline by implementing automation in a single level of development. However, DevOps is not a fully automated process as it seems and is definitely not operational without human intervention. It is the develops testing specialists, who are mainly responsible for the process to run in a flawless manner. Governance at every stage of DevOps Testing is still indispensable in various processes undergoing automation. Importantly, human administration is still crucial in handling exceptions to complete the tasks of automation.

The strategic role of humans in DevOps to ensure a continuous pipeline

1) To remove the boundaries of roles

The primary feature of DevOps automation culture is about an enhanced collaboration between the operations and development teams. It has led to a cultural transformation at the organization’s level and inside the teams as well to encourage continuous delivery. Since shared collaboration is an important aspect of the DevOps culture, it strengthens the collaboration within teams. Prior to the DevOps approach, the perceived lack of interest of the development team in the maintenance and operations used to affect DevOps Testing and business goals. This happened as the development team used to hand over the software to the operations teams. However, this scenario has since changed due to an organizational shift towards automation and DevOps Testing.

The gap between the silos of operations and development has been removed with the arrival of DevOps. It has removed the boundaries of several organizational roles. Teams require to focus on the shared goals of DevOps to enhance the end user experience. So, the team members need to rethink every investment and decision around this shared goal, which obviously requires human intervention. Automation cannot substitute the decision-making process presided by humans, for the latter has become vital across the organizational ecosystem as and when needed.

2)To omit one size fits all approach in DevOps Testing

Automation cannot be viewed as the eliminator of roles. The organization still requires the expert knowledge and skillset inside your team. The focus should be on developing agile and cross-functional teams that are recognized for removing long-established stumbling blocks between the operations and development teams and for facilitating collaboration. Developing efficient and functional teams would make sure the delivery of superior quality products.

3) Continuous Monitoring, testing, and improvement

One of the key agenda of DevOps Testing is to carry out a deeper level of monitoring. Since, rigorous monitoring is needed at every layer of the testing process, from integration to infrastructure and transactions to components, it has become a crucial part of the road map of the DevOps approach. In this digitally connected world, monitoring and testing are no longer distinguishable. Continuous monitoring by testers offers a positive response to the user experience while eradicating pre and post-production obstacles.

Conclusion

With the impetus in the growth of DevOps and Agile practices in the past few years, testing has taken a new structure and form. It has evolved into a crucial discipline and is not restricted to a phase of the development cycle anymore. It has become an essential part of the operational activities of production. So, is the role of a tester transformed radically from only a checkpoint to a crucial active participant in the DevOps Testing? Teams need to cooperate among themselves based on the shared vision of enhancing augmented user experience. We need to understand the fact that automation is not an elixir to deliver on DevOps goals but merely a part of the DevOps strategy.

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