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Why COVID-19 downtime is a golden opportunity to revamp your testing strategy

The last three months have been both shocking and challenging; but it has been heartening to see how we, as a global society, have come together to combat this pandemic. My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected in ways, big and small.

Why would we want to return to normal?

While the ‘new normal’ has become the term of the day, it also makes me reflect on what passes for normal. In the world of testing, ‘normal’ was not working for so many organizations, which begs the question, why would we want to go back to it? It may have been functioning on a base level, but it wasn’t easy, efficient or effective. For many organizations, their testing ‘normal’ equated to many dysfunctional practices, including: poor and inconsistent quality, long test cycle times, tremendous automation maintenance overheads and herculean efforts to get software tested properly and out the door.

How about we move forward to awesome instead?

So, remind me why that is worth revisiting? What if we could use this time to leapfrog the competition? Or make our testing capability even better than it was pre-COVID-19? While we can’t control how COVID-19 related events might unfold, nothing is stopping us from taking the actions which can improve our future. We should be determined not to waste this break in the speed of business, and instead strive to make our organization and processes the best-in-class. Both future and recovery will happen, albeit at a different pace for each respective industry. So, where do you want to be in that moment? Our collective challenge - let’s put our focus on a return to awesome on the other side of this. It was rumored that Winston Churchill (who had seen his share of tough times) said “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Why wasn’t it working before?

Well, that could be a blog series in itself, but for the purpose of this blog, here are just a few of the reasons: Our industry has traditionally been bloated with resource-heavy models that require lots of people, poorly executed automation strategies that can’t keep up with the velocity of development, little-to-no insight into the root cause of quality issues and way too many manual touchpoints. I see you nodding your head, so I will move on—as you know, the list is quite long.

So, what is awesome when it comes to testing?

The first thing that comes to mind is a move to a true Quality Engineering (QE) model. While QE has picked up significant steam in the last few years, mostly correlated to the increased trajectory of Agile and DevOps adoption, most organizations have struggled to truly cross the chasm. There were good reasons for this, best illustrated by one of my favorite analogies: How do you change the engines of the airplane while it is still in flight? So many organizations have been stuck in antiquated testing models – not for a lack of knowledge that there is a better way, but more so because they are unable to get out of the demands of here and now: daily/weekly/monthly release cycles that have to be adhered to, limited budgets and resource limitations, etc. COVID-19 has presented many organizations with a unique opportunity to rebuild and reconstitute the way they do testing.

Now, more than ever, QE is the way to go. We are facing the new realities of significant cost pressures, significantly scaled down development initiatives and increasing focus on digitalization. A QE model meets all the above challenges - driving quality instead of chasing it, ‘starting left’ enabling development speed and velocity, continuous testing supporting CI/CD, leveraging technology as an enabler, minimal manual touchpoints, just to name a few. What if your testing organization could finally catch up and get in lock step with the speed of your dev organization, truly enable DevOps, migrate to cloud, test only that really needs to be tested, and provide the right insights at the right time? What if your testing was ‘always on and always learning’?

We’re here to help

We know that you’re under pressure—you’re not alone. We are routinely in conversation with Fortune 2000 companies and every one of them is facing daily challenges; so we wanted to see if we could have a forum to harness the collective wisdom of our team—and the talented clients we work with. In this blog series, we are going to share the thought process we are leading clients through and give you access to the practical advice and tangible actions. In future posts, we will cover:

  • How the events of COVID-19 will change the world of testing – and how you can harness the new awesome
  • Leap-frogging the competition: Use this time to redefine, redirect and rebound
  • Going from Defense to Offense: Attack the low hanging fruit for early and incremental wins

We have also created a set of jumpstart offerings that are laser-focused on redefining and reconstituting your testing strategy. Please let me know if you would like to learn more, or share anything you would like us to cover in this series at Chris.Manuel@mindtree.com

Read the next blogs in the #MakeTestingAwesome series – Old House, Moving from Defense to Offense

Watch video: Is your old testing model really worth clinging on to?

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About the Author

Chris Manuel
AVP & GTM Global Head – Quality Engineering

At Mindtree, Chris leads a team with one objective - design and implement meaningful DevOps & Quality Engineering solutions that help our clients realize development quality at a speed that matches the demands of their business.

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