The IT Industry has had some major exponential growth not just in share value and monetary
expansion; but the growth was predominantly fuelled by the ever-evolving technological
aspects. Software Developments have seen a major change in the last decade alone;
development has moved to the cloud from on-premise settings, agile has replaced waterfall,
teams no longer work in silos and the dev-ops model is embraced for greater, more effective and
efficient collaborations between all stakeholders.
With these changes slowly becoming a norm in the development process, testing strategies
have also evolved over the years to accommodate these changes. Product-based companies
and major SaaS players no longer undermine the importance of QA resources, and as a result,
many have shifted from conventional in-house teams to resolve their issues, to cost-effective
alternatives that are off-shore. Testing a product alongside the development process, or rather
pursuing it early in the development cycle is the new normal. Shift-left testing, or
incorporating testing earlier in the development process, can provide a number of benefits,
some of which are mentioned below.
Benefits of Shift-Left Testing:
- Faster feedback: By testing earlier in the development process, it is possible to get
feedback on the product more quickly. This can help to identify and fix defects
earlier, which can save time and resources in the long run.
- Improved quality: By testing earlier, it is possible to catch defects before they have a
chance to propagate and become more difficult (and expensive) to fix. This can help
to improve the overall quality of the product.
- Increased collaboration: Shift-left testing can encourage greater collaboration
between different teams and stakeholders, such as development, testing, and business
analysts. This can help to ensure that everyone is aligned on the requirements and
goals of the product, and can help to prevent misunderstandings and
- Better risk management: By testing earlier in the development process, it is possible
to identify and assess risks more effectively. This can help to ensure that the product
is developed in a way that is feasible and meets the needs of the end user.
- Reduced costs: By catching defects earlier in the development process, it is possible
to reduce the overall cost of quality. This is because it is typically less expensive to
fix defects earlier in the development process, rather than later on.
However, despite the many benefits of moving from the established convention to a radical
change is no mean feat and there are a few challenges that organizations may encounter when
implementing a “shift-left” testing strategy:
- Changing mindsets: Some team members may be resistant to the idea of
incorporating testing earlier in the development process, as it may require them to
change their established workflows and habits. It may take some time to get everyone
on board and to establish a new way of working.
- Limited resources: Testing earlier in the development process may require additional
resources, such as test environments, test data, and skilled testers. It may be a
challenge to allocate these resources effectively, especially if the organization is not
used to performing testing at this stage.
- Managing dependencies: If testing is being performed earlier in the development
process, it may be more difficult to manage dependencies on other components or
systems that are not yet fully developed. This can make it harder to accurately test and
- Communication and coordination: Testing earlier in the development process may
require increased communication and coordination between different teams and
stakeholders, such as development, testing, and business analysts. It may take some
time to establish effective communication channels and to ensure that everyone is on
the same page.
- Managing risk: Incorporating testing earlier in the development process may involve
taking on more risk, as there may be more uncertainty about the product and its
requirements at this stage. It will be important to carefully assess and manage this
risk and to have contingency plans in place in case things do not go as expected
Despite the prevailing challenges, shift-left testing is a good practice, indeed; and small
players must weigh the pros and cons before making the change from a conventional
approach to a relatively newer mode of operation. The cost-saving aspect of shift-left testing,
coupled with better validation, guaranteed performance, and a faster-to-market approach; has
pushed shift-left testing to a much-favored position among today’s software community.