This site uses cookies and by using the site you are consenting to this. We utilize cookies to optimize our brand’s web presence and website experience. To learn more about cookies, click here to read our privacy statement.

Optimize Your Testing Practices: Shift Left

Author: Yury Lerner Co-author: Melissa McElroy Posted In: Testing

When we polled attendees at a recent testing webinar, we discovered that nearly half of poll respondents feel that one of the biggest challenges they face in testing is that automation test case coverage is lagging behind. Many others felt like there wasn’t enough time to test. Others still reported that completed features don’t always match the original requirements, and that defects are uncovered too late in sprints.

Shifting left can help you address these problems.

What is Shift Left?

The concept of Shift Left is simple, but shifting left can yield powerful results and positive outcomes for software development and testing teams. In Testing, Shift Left is a strategy that takes testing activity from the end of the software development process (the right) and incorporates it earlier in the software development life cycle (the left)—the earlier, the better. With a shift left, testers can start test case authoring and development earlier, developers can share the testing burden, and communication amongst team members can bring questions and concerns to light early and improve understanding of requirements.

Why Shift Left?

By shifting left, teams discover defects earlier and can even avoid them all together through unit testing and early communication, reducing the need for extensive remediation and thus reducing costs. It also increases efficiency, reducing downtime and bottlenecks. Yury introduced the concept of the “Three Amigos”—product owners/business analysts, developers and testers all working together to achieve the same goal, increasing communication and facilitating the exchange of ideas throughout the SDLC ultimately enhancing the quality of the overall product. Yury stressed that teams should communicate early and often and that testers should ask for help. On Agile teams, everyone is responsible for quality, and testers should test both separately and with developers before the application is promoted to the testing environment. When it comes to defects, don’t think about numbers, but rather about quality. As you shift left, you’ll test more and with greater coverage, but due to increased communication, there will be fewer defects to uncover.

When shifting left, testers can begin activities earlier in the process. These activities include: reviewing and confirming requirements, building test strategies, authoring test cases and plans, preparing test data, creating automation frameworks, and working together with developers to create and refine the test strategy.

Shifting left can be accomplished within your team, using your current tools, making it an economical way to improve your processes and your products, leading to increased efficiency and better software.

This article is part of a series on a webinar SPR hosted. The webinar, Doing More with Less: Optimize Your Testing Practices, was presented by SPR’s Yury Lerner and Melissa McElroy. With a focus on doing more with less, topics included Shift Left, AI, Automation and Accessibility.