Though many of us do it just about every day without giving it much thought, driving a vehicle is fairly complex. Many data parameters from both within and outside the vehicle must be constantly monitored. In a sense, driving a vehicle is much like running a business operation; both require that a continuous flow of operational decisions be made. But the driver has it considerably easier than most business decision-makers because the driver must monitor only one console.
These days, most business managers are overwhelmed with a flood of data from many dashboards. And while it could be argued that there is no such thing as too much good data, the value of that data can be greatly diminished in the way it’s delivered to the user.
How Many Dashboards Are You Required To Monitor?
The need to monitor and manage the flood of incoming information from many disparate sources is a universal pain point familiar to all departments, from marketing and operations to InfoSec and engineering. How many tools or dashboards must you monitor within your department to see the results of your efforts?
With the ultimate responsibility for deciding if releases are ready for production, the burden of having to monitor and manage multiple inflows of data is particularly troublesome for quality assurance (QA) teams. The need to monitor multiple dashboards for tracking a core set of results is expensive and often wasteful.
It’s quite typical for QA teams to invest a good portion of their time monitoring different dashboards in evaluating the results of the numerous types of tests that get executed as a part of every release. But what if much of that time could be better spent on different forms of test coverage? Imagine the leap in product quality that would likely result from channeling lots of additional time into, for example, performing exploratory, accessibility and security testing.
Along with the inefficiencies noted above, the disorganization of dashboards and results analysis can slow the decision-making process. Or, in a worst-case scenario, they can lead to incorrect decisions being made.
The inefficiencies of using multiple dashboards to monitor similar results has highlighted the urgency for a better system.
An Integrated Approach Blueprint And Benefits
Most enterprises rely upon both manual and automated testing as essential components of the testing strategy. But most enterprises also deploy manual and automated testing separately, working parallel but independently. The result is the waste of resources in unnecessary redundancies, along with the diminished quality that stems from a failure to maximize test coverage. The integration of manual and automated testing into a single solution, alternatively, enables an increase in development velocity without the sacrificing of quality.
The aggregation of manual and automated results onto a single dashboard provides many unique benefits, including:
• A Holistic View Of Quality: A solution that integrates manual and automated testing while providing monitoring through a single dashboard provides always-available, easily understood reporting about the health of each product, feature or functionality. Leadership can quickly, easily and accurately evaluate the risk of a product release at any time.
• Streamlined Workflows: An integrated solution facilitates the efforts of manual and automated teams to work together effectively and efficiently in optimizing test coverage and delivering trustworthy results. A single source of truth will provide an accurate snapshot of software quality at any time.
• Greater Visibility Into Coverage Gaps: A single dashboard that displays aggregated results makes it easy to identify any gaps in test coverage, whether manual or automated. And, ideally, an integrated solution will enable the display of results to be filtered based upon user-input parameters, enabling teams to act quickly in addressing the issues that are most important to the organization.
A Whole That’s Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts
Manual and automated testing methodologies each offer unique benefits. But the biggest benefit of manual and automated methodologies is derived from the harmonious combination of the two. For example, when an automated test fails, a manual test can be automatically kicked off to see if the failure was a false negative or if there is actually something wrong with the build. This automatic manual retest not only saves time but also saves development resources by confirming the reason for the automated failure and, in the case of false negative scenarios, allowing QA teams to pass the builds on instead of unnecessarily sending them back to development for code changes.
QA teams can start their journey to an integrated functional testing approach by taking the following four actions:
• Make the business case. The first step to setting up an integrated functional testing approach is getting buy-in at the executive level for the changes that will need to be made to the testing infrastructure. The time and cost savings, along with the boost in efficiency that integrated functional testing can bring, are improvements that leaders in product, engineering and QA should prioritize.
• Break down organizational silos. An integrated approach to functional testing takes an integrated approach to product, engineering and QA. These teams should work together seamlessly to ensure that they are getting the most value possible out of a holistic view of testing results.
• Look at your data architecture around manual and automated results. This will allow you to chart a path to merging both types of data. You need one authoritative TCM with unique IDs, the concept of test cases executed by different types of identities, and then a way to interact with that TCM for both manual and automated testers.
• Partner with a testing provider. Finding a testing partner that can offer both the testing services infrastructure and technology platform capable of managing and integrating both manual and automated testing at scale is crucial.
An integrated approach to functional testing improves the efficacy of both manual and automated testing. And when that combination can be monitored and managed through a solution that facilitates a single-console view, the result is a holistic approach that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.