Continuous delivery (CD) is a development approach where teams develop, build, test, and release software in short sprints so that code is in a constant deployable state.
Most of the CD process is automated, which shifts the role quality assurance (QA) plays in the development process. So what exactly is the role of QA in continuous delivery? And how does the CD method change the way a team does QA?
What is QA?
In short, quality assurance is the maintenance of a product or service’s quality throughout the stages of a project. QA is important not only because it creates a better final product, but also helps meet user needs, builds user trust and credibility, and saves money.
In the context of continuous collaboration, the QA process becomes streamlined, more automated, and less time-consuming and confusing.
Since the goal of CD is to ensure code is deployable at any given time, development teams need to balance the speed of production, and the quality of the product. To address the accelerated rate of deployment, the QA process must be done continuously.
With other software development methods, development teams address bugs and errors reported by users of a site after it has already been pushed live, making the QA process more reactive than proactive.
However, when a continuous delivery tool like Probo.CI automatically generates a sandbox site, it allows QA teams to test new features without having to publish them. This enables them to identify what needs adjusting and ensures features work accordingly. Probo integrates QA as an ongoing element of the development process, rather than a reactionary one.
As QA becomes more integrated into the development process, the duties and functions of your development and testing teams become less sequential. This change requires a cultural shift, which can challenge your teams.
Because CD requires the responsibilities of both QA and development teams run in a more parallel and collaborative manner, it is important to encourage open communication throughout the entire development process. Teams should be working together from the start with the betterment of the final product in mind.
Ultimately, QA is an integral component of continuous delivery, because it supports the delivery of a product with a positive user experience that cannot be achieved without continuous testing and the collaboration between development and testing teams.