The global events of 2020 have pushed each organisation to be more outward-looking and business conscious. In 2020, we have seen further major shifts and changes in the orchestration and execution of quality assurance (QA) and testing. Now in 2021, the key QA dilemmas that enterprises need to solve are how to enable the teams to deliver quality at speed and how to ensure value is increased.
I caught up with our QA and testing experts Gary Moore and Rochus Gorkink, to know more about this change in the business landscape and to know what trends they predict will dominate in 2021. This is what I learned.
Technologies answer the need for speed
Owing to the changes in the political environment coupled with the volatility in the market driven by COVID 19, next year will see a great requirement for speed and agility in testing to enable organisations to deliver their offerings to the market. This, by default, will mean that testing also needs to get more effective. To achieve this, we predict that testers will need to use technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate decision making in a much smarter way. We also predict that testing will see the greater adoption of digital technologies to enable teams to collaborate and take faster and better decisions.
Demand for multi-skilled professionals
For next year, we predict to see an on-going drive for the search of multi-skilled professionals. Organisations are looking for professionals who can bring different skills to the team, from being a developer to a tester to someone who understands security and can drive performance decisions, all in one. While there will always be the need for a specialist in the team, such as security or testers to name a few, the multi-skilled professionals will be able to deliver on tasks quicker and in a more cost-effective manner as these professionals are also independent and self-steering. This will not only help in a speedy turnaround but also have a huge impact on cost of quality.
Environment-on-demand required to accelerate testing
The absence of fit-for-purpose test environments has always impacted testing timescales. With accelerated remote working and distributed teams, the ability to have environments-on-demand is more a priority than ever. We predict there is no other way that is more effective at reducing the overall test environment spend than migrating to cloud test environments and embracing testing and infrastructure automation. The on-demand model allows businesses to take advantage of public cloud APIs and only pay for the time needed to run through automated tests.
Less independent testing, more embedded testing
In the UK, organisations are focussing on the need for speed and agility in testing. The recently launched World Quality Report, 2020-21, shows that there is increasing adoption of Agile and DevOps, and on the capacity to maintain and improve software after go-live. In short, this means we are witnessing a general transition of quality assurance to a point where testing will no longer be a discrete activity but will now become embedded in every stage of the development lifecycle. We predict going forward testers and their capabilities will be more embedded in the Agile team supported by a limited number of central QA experts.
The need to test AI
While next year AI will aid testing for better results and insights, we predict there will be a need to test and validate changes driven by AI. When AI makes cognitive decisions in customer offerings itself, there will be a need for QA teams to come up with an approach for testing the impact of the technology. This means checking if the change driven is ethical and is free of bias that is inherent to the data that is used to train the AI solutions. With more and more AI technology being used, testing solution providers will have to find the best way to validate if it’s working correctly both functionally and ethically.
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