DevOps automation remains a high hurdle for DevOps culture

Automated testing remains the key to Continuous Development and Integration. How can an enterprise embrace DevOps culture without embracing DevOps automation?

According to a recent global Dimensional Research and Sauce Labs study, 88% of the 700 IT professionals it polled are either in the process or planning to adopt DevOps. And 87% even own and use testing automation tools. But most (42%) still rely on manual tests to launch software, and only 19% perform unit tests.

So companies may cry DevOps, but most aren’t putting automation into practice. How can an organization identify with DevOps culture without embracing DevOps automation? We asked a few experts.

Robert Stroud, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research:

"Automated testing is a culture and trust issue as much as a technology issue. Automated testing requires trust in the testing processes and that the test sets are established and constantly refreshed. This requires test sets to be constantly updated and a culture of NOT allowing code to progress without transitioning successfully through the automated process. This transition takes time to implement, prove and refine – too often team members are simply too busy getting work completed to focus on automated testing."

Nikhil Kaul, Senior Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear Software:

“Previously, when you were working in a manual process, QA used to be the gatekeeper of quality, rather than (an automated process where) everyone is ensuring they’re responsible for quality. So now, the move from quality assurance to the building of quality or quality engendering perspective, which basically means your devs, QA, as well as your business guys are now responsible for ensuring what you’re rolling out to the marketplace is of higher quality.”

Antony Edwards, CTO, TestPlant: 

“Existing testing tools and approaches are really about the low-level code. They’re really about testing the more generic services layer. They’re about testing code modules, code objects… and we’re in a user experience world now. DevOps is all about the consumer and you just can’t apply that kind of approach to the user experience.”

The future of QA rests in how organizations can balance manual (or human) and automated testing. A balance of 30/70 (30% automated and 70% manual) would represent an advanced testing procedure right now, though levels of automation are directly related to whether or not your company does constant development.

Nikhil Kaul, Senior Product Marketing Manager, SmartBear Software:

“Now if you look at the future, where an organization really caters to automation, 90% of the tests should be automated with only 10% manual, but we are still a long way from going towards that, because every organization is not Facebook.”

Antony Edwards, CTO, TestPlant

“If you run a survey today, it’ll tell you something like … only 10% of people have more than 80% of their testing automated, something like 50% have 20% or less and there’ll be a typical scale between that,” Edwards said. “The frustration is that that’s the case in 2017. I can show you a graph from 2010, 2005, 1997 that says exactly the same. The levels of automation are not moving on and that’s a real problem … What I see, especially when you start thinking about analytics, about AI, and about automation, what you see is (testing should be about) actually having tools that augment humans rather than replace them and take them to higher level testing.”

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