29 Mar, 2018

“Continuous Delivery Is About Two Things: Speed And Automation” Rainforest QA Discusses Digital Transformation Within Enterprises

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With our DevOps Day New York rapidly approaching (in just one week!) we sat down with Rainforest QA to get a first-hand look into how automation and continuous processes are helping push enterprises toward digital transformation.

We can’t wait to meet Rainforest QA during our assembly!


As an on-demand QA solution that uncovers bugs and usability issues before code hits production, how you are changing the way teams think about their QA strategies in the midst of digital enterprise transformation?

Ultimately, all technology leaders are focused on delivering software faster, at higher quality. There’s never been more tension between these two topics. We all know that in order stay competitive, we need to embrace the digital transformation towards continuous delivery, and our customers have never been more focused on quality.

Rainforest enables its customers to move fast while hitting a high bar for quality. We help customers eliminate the QA silo, and reframe the QA role as a strategic orchestration of tools, rather than the traditionally laborious and expensive manual execution and maintenance of test suites.

As more dev teams move to continuous delivery, what new demands does this place on their QA processes and how does Rainforest help to address them?

Continuous delivery is about two things: speed and automation. Speed is crucial – dev teams want to iterate in production, and traditional QA approaches are simply too slow. Automated testing can require too large an investment in maintenance, especially when a fast-moving team is continually changing and testing different UIs. Ultimately, no existing QA solution is fit for this purpose today. We bring our customers an API-first QA platform, which returns hundreds of results within 30 minutes and helps them integrate QA into their dev workflow.

A lot of companies are looking to automation to cut costs in various parts of their business, including software development. How should dev teams think about automation, and in particular how it applies to QA?

Here’s the dirty secret – automation will not save you money. Automation is the ultimate misnomer: automated testing isn’t automated. Your dev teams now need to maintain both the core codebase AND an automation codebase. And in terms of dollars and opportunity cost, what is more, expensive than an hour of a developer’s time?

While automated testing is a crucial piece of the broader quality tool-set, we’ve seen mixed strategies be most successful. The thing that smart engineering leaders tend to miss is that the cost of ongoing maintenance, especially if you’re moving fast, can be 50%+ of the cost of the initial creation on a sprint basis. Automated testing is not set it and forget it – it’s a lifecycle that must be committed to forever. Bullish leaders would do well to look at the LinkedIn and SalesForce automated testing case studies before diving in head-first.

What’s the right way to think about QA in the age of DevOps and continuous delivery?

Quality is a process and must be integrated tightly with your product development lifecycle. The ‘gatekeeper’ model of QA, where a siloed team protects production from bugs, is no longer tractable, given the throughput requirements of a modern deployment process. The way to think about QA today is that it should be the aggregation of quality signals throughout the product development lifecycle, tied to concrete release criteria. These release quality criteria should be nuanced and defined by your business needs. There is no wrong way to do QA – there are simply more and less effective strategies for hitting the quality bar your customers need.

What trends within the industry are you interested in and why? How are these trends impacting the way you help companies hit their business goals in 2018?

There’s a saying these days that every business is becoming a software business, and it’s true that companies are leveraging technology more than ever to stay competitive. This implies faster release cycles for software, and many of the trends this year, including hot technologies such as blockchain and AI, supported that goal.

For example, human-in-the-loop AI emerged as one of most sought after and applied technologies this year. In this model, machine learning takes the first pass at a problem and, if it can’t solve it with the required degree of certainty, hands it off to a human to make the decision. Here, AI can handle more complex tasks because it doesn’t need to be “right” every time, and a company’s software becomes smarter because the correct response is fed back into it. This helps companies relieve themselves of menial, time-consuming tasks in order to focus on more strategic initiatives that can help propel a company’s bottom line.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now?

There are two major challenges at the moment.

The first is that quality, and, in a more specific way, QA, aren’t thought about properly today. They’re very often not measured, which makes it very difficult to objectively compare or re-use strategies between companies. Today, this is all subjectively thought about – “this is good enough”. We don’t think this is good enough, so we’re developing what we believe to be the first generalized objective way to measure quality.

The second is CI/CD at scale. Larger organizations still haven’t caught up, partly due to missing pieces and technology around QA, and they need to catch up. CI/CD tools have matured to make adoption easier, and there are now more developers in the market with the resumés to make it happen. There’s also a number of case studies that make CI/CD adoption less daunting. CIOs today have fewer excuses for not getting on board.

We’re excited that Rainforest QA is attending the Digital Enterprise Transformation Assembly this April. Can you give our readers a hint as to what you’ll be showcasing?

We’ll be showcasing what we’ve learned over the last 6 years of thinking about QA and helping hundreds of companies successfully improve quality. We’re focusing on helping engineering and quality leaders build better understanding around strategies that are proven to work. We’ll also likely be showcasing our upcoming AI-based test automation software, which will change the entire industry.

ABOUT DIGITAL ENTERPRISE TRANSFORMATION DAY PRESENTS: DevOps DAY NEW YORK 

DevOps Day NY is your chance to meet with other IT leaders from across the Tri-State area, in an intimate setting. With high-level content, disruptive solution providers, and enhanced networking opportunities, this one-day event promises to provide you with the latest IT strategies and technologies to take back to your business.

This is not just another “DevOps” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. Apply to attend here!

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