Software 101: Why does DevOps recommend Shift-left Testing principles?

Why does DevOps recommend shift-left testing principles? This question arrived in our email and this blog post attempts to answer that.


In conventional software development methodologies, testing occurs at the end of the development cycle. The shift-left testing approach, on the other hand, positions testing far earlier in the development cycle, often at the beginning. Shift-left testing refers to doing test activities earlier in the software development process. The premise is that the earlier faults in the development process are found, the easier and less expensive it is to correct them. DevOps teams may avoid costly rework and delays in this manner. This article stresses why DevOps recommend shift-left testing principles and other basic concepts as well.

What are Shift-left Testing Principles?

Shift-left testing is an approach in software development where testing activities are initiated earlier in the software development life cycle (SDLC). The Shift Left technique seeks to discover and address issues as early in the development process as feasible. This increases software quality and decreases time spent later in the pipeline correcting errors (which normally magnify as development progresses).

The goal is to detect defects or issues as early as possible, ideally during the requirements or design phase, rather than waiting until the later stages of development or during the testing phase. Here are some general principles associated with shift-left testing:


1. Testing activities should be involved from the beginning of the SDLC to provide feedback and identify potential issues early on.

2. Testers work closely with developers, business analysts, and other stakeholders to understand requirements and provide inputs during the design phase.

3. Automation plays a crucial role in shift-left testing to enable quick and efficient testing throughout the SDLC. Automated tests can be executed continuously, providing immediate feedback on the software's quality.

4. Testing activities are performed continuously throughout the development process, rather than being limited to a dedicated testing phase. This allows for faster feedback loops and quicker identification of defects.

5. Test-driven development is a development approach where tests are written before the code. It ensures that the code meets the specified requirements and facilitates early defect detection.

6. By shifting testing activities left, defects can be identified and resolved early in the development process, reducing the cost and effort required for fixing them later.

7. Shift-left testing focuses on identifying high-risk areas and allocating testing efforts accordingly. This approach ensures that critical functionalities are thoroughly tested early on.

Why does DevOps recommend shift-left testing principles?

The shift-left testing principles advocated by DevOps encourage testing activities to be performed early in the software development lifecycle. Instead of leaving testing until the later stages, this approach involves integrating testing into the initial phases of development. The purpose of this proactive testing strategy is to achieve several advantages.

Firstly, by testing early, any bugs or issues can be identified and addressed at an early stage. This early detection helps to minimize the cost and effort required to fix defects later in the development cycle. Additionally, by catching issues early on, developers can receive immediate feedback on the quality of their code, enabling them to iterate and improve quickly.

Furthermore, the shift-left testing approach facilitates continuous quality assurance throughout the development process. By integrating testing early and continuously, it ensures that quality assurance activities become an integral part of development. This helps prevent the introduction of defects and allows for ongoing verification of software quality.

Another benefit of shift-left testing is improved collaboration and communication between developers, testers, and other stakeholders from the outset. By involving all parties early on, there is better communication, a shared understanding of requirements, and alignment of expectations. This collaboration ultimately leads to higher-quality software. In addition, the shift-left approach contributes to reducing the time to market for software releases. Early detection and resolution of issues minimize the time required for rework and bug fixing. This enables faster delivery cycles and allows organizations to bring their software to market more quickly.

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As we conclude our blog post for the question "Why does DevOps recommend shift-left testing principles", we can state the specific principles associated with shift-left testing may vary depending on the context, organization, and industry. Overall, the shift-left testing principles align with DevOps' focus on automation, collaboration, and continuous improvement. By integrating testing early and consistently throughout the software development process, organizations can enhance software quality, accelerate delivery, and achieve more efficient and reliable software releases.

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