You’re likely well acquainted with the time-quality-cost triangle, often referred to as the project management triangle. This framework examines the interdependent relationship between time, quality, and cost within any project.
When we introduce the factor of carbon emissions, it accentuates the significance of striking a balance between environmental sustainability and conventional project constraints. This implies that achieving high-quality results within defined time and budget parameters must also consider the project’s carbon footprint. This is becoming an increasingly important aspect businesses need to consider.
Amidst today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, businesses across different industries, from technology startups to established multinational corporations, are giving increasing attention to sustainability. Thirty of the UK’s FTSE100 companies have enrolled in the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, underscoring a collective commitment to curbing environmental impact.
As companies work on reducing their environmental impact, it’s becoming vital to integrate sustainability into all aspects of their operations, including software testing. However, the challenge facing these businesses lies in finding the balance between sustainability goals and maintaining profitability and quality.
In this article, we would like to introduce you to shift left testing. This approach not only has the potential to enhance sustainability efforts but also to bring about improvements in other aspects of your business, including process efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and product quality.
What is Shift Left Testing?
Shift left testing is a software testing approach that involves conducting tests earlier in the development process. It aims to identify and rectify defects during the early stages, reducing the time and cost required for fixing them later.
For instance, traditional practices tend to put tasks like identifying defects and testing toward the end of a project. However, the shift left approach brings these tasks closer to the planning phase.
The advantages of this approach are clear. Spotting a problem in the requirements document well ahead of the product deadline, rather than right before it, can lead to significant time and budget savings. Even though this might mean higher testing costs earlier on, it often prevents unexpected expenses down the line.
At Experimentus, we take this further with our unique ‘Shift left and compress’ methodology.
What Do We Mean by Compress in ‘Shift Left and Compress’?
‘Shift left and compress’ is how we emphasise the importance of tailoring a shift left testing approach to your specific business and product. This customisation leads to better outcomes.
The key here is consistency and dedicating time to optimise your test processes. This involves factors like:
· Uniformity of testing processes
· Responsibility for risk assessments
· Prioritisation of risks
· Wait times in test environments
· Utilisation of your test environments
By applying the shift left and compress technique, your process becomes more streamlined, which means you require fewer testers for less time to accomplish the same work. It also has the added benefit of reducing the learning curve for new testers joining projects, as there are consistent processes in place, making your projects more scalable.
What Are The Benefits of Shift Left Testing?
This approach offers several benefits:
1. Reduced overall development costs: By catching risks and bugs early, you avoid putting too much effort and resources into flawed software later in the development lifecycle, ultimately saving money.
2. More efficient processes: Implementing a shift left approach naturally encourages better process consistency. This leads to greater project uniformity and smoother operations.
3. Easier stakeholder approval: Starting testing earlier helps showcase the value of testing sooner, especially when stakeholders are well-informed.
4. Improved product quality: By preventing software from being built on top of defects, you end up with better software quality, a stronger code foundation, and fewer patches.
5. Quicker project completion: If you’re working on a project where time is of the essence, early and efficient testing could speed up the time it takes to bring your product to market.
Given these benefits, it makes business sense to use shift left testing (and it’s likely something you should consider anyway) – it can significantly enhance your development process, improve software quality, and ultimately lead to more efficient and cost-effective project outcomes. This becomes even more relevant today due to the increasing focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.
How Can Shift Left Testing Improve Sustainability?
While shift left testing does not directly improve your carbon footprint, it can indirectly contribute to environmental sustainability in several ways:
- Promoting efficiency through earlier testing and the strategic implementation of automation reduces the need for excessive manual testing, leading to resource conservation and enhanced sustainability.
- The minimisation of rework and the reduction of extensive testing cycles results in optimised efficiency, while proactive defect identification and resolution mitigate the potential for product failures and subsequent waste, thereby supporting environmental well-being.
- Involving testers and quality assurance professionals right from the outset fosters a culture of quality and accountability. This ensures that sustainable practices are woven into the development process right from the beginning.
Nevertheless, we recognise that from a green IT standpoint, quantifying the impact of shift left testing on your carbon footprint can be challenging. However, other metrics can indicate positive progress toward environmental sustainability, such as reduced defect occurrences, improved product stability, and smoother development timelines.
When implemented correctly, the shift left testing approach doesn’t undermine quality or require any sacrifices. On the contrary, it works to improve efficiency and overall processes.
This method works to fine-tune the development process without imposing undue strains on quality or demanding undue trade-offs from the project team. Rather than compromising the end product’s quality, or burdening the team with excessive demands, shift left testing emerges as a guiding principle that actually improves the effectiveness of the entire project journey while also contributing to sustainability goals.
Ready to embrace sustainable software testing practices and enhance your project outcomes? Explore the potential of shift left testing and its ability to improve efficiency, quality, and environmental impact.