As QA teams get smaller and development cycles get faster, it’s become more common for developers at organizations like Exaptive to play a larger and larger role in software testing and quality assurance. But when QA processes don’t keep up with deployment needs, testing can become a major blocker to releases.
In the case of Exaptive, a data application studio and marketplace for data tools, a lack of a strategic QA process for their developers was putting strain on the team and slowing down deployment. Here’s how Exaptive’s team uses Rainforest to reduce that friction and increase the team’s confidence in every release.
For many teams where developers are responsible for QA, there’s a tendency to slide into a “fire-fighting” mode, where the QA strategy consists of playing catch-up as bugs get shipped. Exaptive’s team had a core set of smoke tests and regressions that one junior developer ran through before each deployment, but it wasn’t enough to ensure confidence in the release.
Taking a more strategic approach and building out coverage (and execution bandwidth) methodically helped the team move away from this reactive model. Doing so meant thinking about QA earlier in the development cycle, rather than leaving it to right before deployment time. Exaptive opted to implement Rainforest, which is designed to help teams build scalable, repeatable test suites. This switch allows to them to structure and execute test suites more efficiently than manual test execution.
Because Exaptive was executing tests manually before each release, they were limited in bandwidth to the amount of testing that their junior developer was able to execute in a given time frame. They compensated for this by allowing for a longer QA period in each development cycle. As a result, they were able to ship less frequently than they wanted to in the long run -- about once per month.
”We were releasing typically every few weeks to a month with a ton of risk. Now we’re down to releasing every week. Our development to production time has shrunk dramatically.”Opting for a flexible, on-demand testing solution let them scale up the overall amount of testing completed without adding to the total QA time required. It also made testing cycles more predictable and more aligned with their release timeline. “The biggest impact of Rainforest was reducing our lead time for release by an order of magnitude. We were releasing typically every few weeks to a month with a ton of risk. Now we’re down to releasing every week. Our development to production time has shrunk dramatically,” says Cory White, Engineering Director for Exaptive.
The best way to reduce QA friction is to choose testing solutions that stay out of the way of developers while increasing access to quality insights. Manual testing takes developers out of their workflow, slowing down the testing process at best, and reducing adoption at worst.
By implementing Rainforest, Exaptive was able to integrate testing more fluidly into their development process, from kicking off tests via Rainforest’s command line interface to receiving bug alerts in Slack. Cory noted that because Rainforest fits into their workflow, devs are more interested in getting involved in QA and contributing to the test database.
Want to learn more about why Cory’s team chose Rainforest, and how Exaptive is benefitting from leveraging Rainforest QA, check out our case study with Exaptive here. To find out how other development teams are building quality products faster and more efficiently, read our post on “Shift Left” Testing Strategies that Development Teams Use to Deploy Code Faster.