The Key to Scaling Developer Testing? Bring QA to Where Developers Live

Ashley Dotterweich, Wednesday March 15, 2017

Testing isn’t usually at the top of the list when it comes to agile development priorities. Agile teams are keeping their QA headcount lower than ever before, and many startups are delaying hiring a testing team for as long as possible.

The development team for Guru, a knowledge management software, provides an excellent example of what scaling developer-owned testing without dedicated QA resources can look like. Mitch Stewart, the CTO and cofounder of Guru, was determined to avoid hiring any QA managers as Guru scaled. In order to achieve this goal, Guru implemented Rainforest QA to keep regression testing on-track as they scaled.

Here’s how Guru uses workflow-native regression testing with Rainforest to give developers the ability to stay focused on writing code and creating innovative features.

Move Test Management into Developer Workflows

Most developer testing strategies require developers to pull double-duty, juggling both writing code and testing it. Adding extra testing tools and procedures to their process can slow down productivity; research shows that up to 40% of productive working time can be lost to the brief mental blocks that occur when moving between different types of tasks.

Developer-owned testing requires testing processes that don’t create distractions. Rainforest DevX brings crowdsourced regression testing into developer workflows, making it possible for developers to write and manage tests without leaving their existing workspace. “When we discovered Rainforest, we realized we could turn everyone here into a tester just by having them write the tests that would then be run via Rainforest,” says Mitch. DevX allows Guru’s developers to write and manage their own QA tests from the code editor.

Take Test Execution Off the Table

Executing manual QA tests can be a huge time-suck. And while engaging with the end product via UX testing is an important aspect of creating a stellar customer experience, repetitive regression testing isn't usually a high-value activity for developers. Offloading test execution from developers -- whether that's with crowdsourced testing or automation -- provides a more scalable dev-owned QA model.

Guru uses Rainforest to offload the tests that they run most frequently, allowing developers to spend less time on test execution without sacrificing the insight into code quality that those tests provide. As a result, Guru saves its development team about 114 hours of manual test execution time every month (about 7 hours per person per month).

Integrate Testing with Dev Tools to Surface Bugs Faster

In addition to keeping test writing and execution workflow-native, successful developer-owned QA requires empowering developers to own the testing from end-to-end. "We have all the developers invested in writing their tests, running them, and keeping them up to date," says Mitch. "There’s a lot more accountability when it comes to developing a feature or writing code." That accountability hinges giving developers continual visibility into the status of code quality and test runs.

Because QA isn’t the only priority for Guru’s developers, it’s important to bring bug reports and issue alerts to them. In order to make developer accountability work well, Guru has integrated their Rainforest test results into Slack. This integration helps surface bugs to developers quickly, and prevent issues from going unnoticed. Integrating test results into the tools that your team lives in every day helps keep

Go with the (Work)flow:

Ultimately, the key to developer testing that works for agile is working work with your team's existing workflow. Implementing a testing strategy that integrates into your team's existing processes keeps QA more efficient and can improve accountability for code quality.

To learn more about how Guru uses Rainforest DevX to empower developers with workflow-native testing, read our case study of Guru here.

Learn more about Rainforest