Are you Shifting Left?
In our world, ensuring the quality of software development products is paramount.
Approaches to software testing often involve a late-stage, post-development testing phase. However, shift left build engineering is a powerful strategy to:
Shift left engineering is not just a methodology; it's a mindset that empowers engineers to anticipate, detect, and mitigate issues early in the development lifecycle. Embracing this approach enables us to build robust, scalable, and innovative solutions, reducing the cost of rework and delivering great value to our clients
Steve Dennis | Executive Director Spike
Shift left build engineering depends on testing activities earlier in the development process, ideally as early as the briefing and design stages. By bringing testing much earlier our clients get benefits like:
Here are our top 5 cost benefits of shift left build engineering:
- Early Bug Detection: By shifting the build and testing processes to earlier stages of development, defects and bugs can be identified and fixed sooner.
- Reduced Integration Issues: This reduces the time and effort spent on debugging and resolving integration issues during later stages of development.
- Faster Feedback Loops: This rapid feedback loop improves the overall development speed and helps avoid costly delays
- Enhanced Collaboration: By involving developers, testers, and other stakeholders earlier in the process leading to more efficient development and fewer rework cycles.
- Resource Optimization: Leads to more efficient development efforts and reduced costs associated with late-stage rework.
By integrating testing activities early on, we can optimize resource allocation, avoiding bottlenecks and streamlining the overall development process.
Adopting shift left build engineering as a habit instils a culture of quality and collaboration within development teams.
When testing becomes an integral part of the development process from the beginning, developers are more likely to think about quality aspects proactively. This shift in mindset fosters a sense of shared responsibility and encourages collaboration between developers, testers, and other stakeholders, resulting in improved communication and overall product quality.
Improvement in Quality
Improved Product Quality: Shifting left in the build process ensures a stronger emphasis on quality assurance from the start thereby reducing the cost of addressing elements like customer complaints and providing post-release support.
By shifting testing activities left, our clients catch issues when they are usually much easier and less damaging to the business to resolve.
This approach means faster feedback loops and iterative improvements, leading to higher-quality software.
On many of the programmes we have worked on it has been very clear just how many risks there are. Approaches, as I have described, allow us to introduce ways to prevent delays, safeguard against budget overruns, and certainly avoid compromised product quality.
- Understand the landscape and plan for success: Every technical landscape is different, and each provides its own challenges. Create a high-level illustration of the applications and the technology stack and document a simple 5/10-page strategy to outline where you can begin with some basic value add.
- Automation Thinking: Build and test automation is key to the success of shifting left. Looking at everything at once is daunting so start small. Open-source tools are the ideal place to start, and Jenkins is a simple CI solution to implement and learn with no cost.
Create a basic Selenium solution with 1 or 2 basic tests in a stable test environment and get these scheduled to execute nightly. You’ll learn a lot from getting these basics in place and you can then begin to see the behaviour and output from just a small set of test cases. Removing simpler tasks from humans is critical to driving a reduction in risks.
- Reducing manual effort is a crucial focus: Understand where the time is spent on the team and look for ways to reduce this over time. The more repetitive tasks that we can remove from the team the more time they will have to work on activities with higher business value.
Test data is often a simple process we can automate, creating test customers is typically something that is done by everyone, and this can easily be automated and added to overnight pipelines to ensure there are enough new customers for the team to use when they arrive for work each morning.
The benefit of changing a team’s approach to quality in this way is a no-brainer.
The numerous advantages mean it should be standard practice, but usually, it’s hard to build the habit until a business is at a certain stage of maturity.
But if you’re a sophisticated ecommerce machine you’ll need to be shifting left!
Ultimately safeguarding the business’s reputation, customer trust and financial well-being comes with a shift left mindset. It is an ongoing process to prove, evaluate, automate and integrate and with habits supported through our frameworks this becomes second nature.
This is what we do – we figure out the solutions supported by the onsite skills and manage a new way of thinking.
Often, it’s the softer skills that are the game changer. The technical aspect is usually a more natural ‘go to’ – it’s how to alter mindsets, and that’s something our proven frameworks bring