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Sauce Labs 2020 Predictions: Developer Empowerment Reshapes the Testing Landscape

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Joanna Schloss, VP of Product Marketing, Sauce Labs

Developer Empowerment Reshapes the Testing Landscape

As we head into the beginning of a new decade, we're moving unmistakably into the era of developer empowerment. There's already a strong case to be made that nothing is more critical to the success or failure of an organization in the age of digital transformation than having a diverse, collaborative and adaptable development team. Developers are the modern-day artisan. And as more and more business is conducted via web and mobile platforms, developers' collective impact as the creative force driving digital enterprises will only grow stronger, and their influence on the companies' bottom lines will translate into greater control over their operational destiny.

For years, product and business leaders and centers of excellence and shared services have wielded the vast majority of the operational power, with lines of business and product teams setting the strategic direction for developers, and centers of excellence dictating the tools and technology they should adopt to execute on those edicts. But the balance of power has begun to shift, and in 2020, that shift will accelerate. Developers will increasingly influence strategic decisions at the product and line of business levels, exert more control over the technology purchases that most impact them, and exercise more authority to drive adoption of those technologies across the organization.

Among the many key strategic functions the era of developer empowerment will impact, testing and DevOps|Agile top the list. As the power structure of organizations changes to reflect the growing importance of developers, so too will the way they think about implementing testing and ensuring quality.

Here are five ways that change will manifest in 2020:

DevOps Becomes More Ops-Centric

Do you know what developers love to do? Develop. You know what they don't care for as much? Operations. With that in mind, and given the increasing sway developers hold, one thing we can expect to see in 2020 is development and operations teams slowly making their way back toward their respective corners. Though that may seem like a regressive development for DevOps, the opposite is true. With the greater overall alignment between development and operations teams that DevOps has sewn now firmly cemented, the two groups can spend more time focusing on the things they love and do best, confident their counterparts are executing in step. For developers, this means even more freedom to shift left and focus their energies on building and delivering flawless apps to market quickly.

Developers Take Ownership of Quality

Do you know what else developers don't particularly care for? Testing. But do you know what they increasingly care a whole lot about? Quality. You simply can't have one without the other and one area where developers' growing autonomy will clearly be seen is testing.

This doesn't mean they'll suddenly like testing or that they themselves will start executing tests (though they might). What it does mean is developers will no longer see themselves as merely responsible for writing code. They'll begin to view themselves (and be viewed by others) as gatekeepers of the entire application experience, the ones ultimately responsible for rapidly delivering high-performance, high-quality digitals experiences to customers. Because of this,  they'll assert greater influence on testing, which will spur organizations to further accelerate the shift-left movement and further emphasize continuous testing with a particular focus on testing in the earliest stages of the development cycle.

Testing Goes Atomic

The more developers assert their influence, the more early-stage testing will become a staple of the software development cycle. Developers want fast, early feedback on their code and the best way for them to get it is through atomic testing. Ideal for the early stages of development, an atomic test is one that's scripted to assess just one single piece of application functionality, and nothing more. Atomic tests are a developer's best friend: short, fast, reliable, and incredibly effective. They're also vastly underutilized, a trade secret championed by only the most experienced and knowledgeable testers. But with developers taking control, everyone needs to get in on the secret.

Mobile Becomes the Measuring Stick

Developers have been leading the mobile charge for years. The very notion of "mobile-first" has become a common part of the strategic vernacular thanks largely to the efforts of developers to champion the development and delivery of mobile apps alongside their web counterparts. Still, for the most part, the web has remained the measuring stick for quality. Now that developers are at the wheel, however, that's about to change. As we move deeper into the digital era, mobile will become the new measuring stick for quality - the lens through which organizations determine the extent to which they're delivering a high-quality digital experience to their customers. This will in turn force development, engineering and product teams to partner more closely to ensure they're delivering seamless customer experience across both web and mobile platforms.

Devs Spur Increased Investment in Testing Expertise

Perhaps better than any other group within the modern business, developers know what they don't know. And when it comes to testing, they know they themselves don't have the expertise necessary to drive it. Testing at scale is hard. It takes a level of experience and know-how that even the most sophisticated tooling simply can't abstract with the push of a button. That's why developer-driven organizations will increasingly look to invest in testing expertise in 2020, either by hiring experienced testers directly or by calling on their vendor partners to deliver expert resources as part of their solution offerings.

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About the Author

Joanna Schloss 

Joanna Schloss is vice president of product marketing and a subject matter expert in digital transformation and continuous testing for Sauce Labs. Her areas of expertise include software testing and development, DevOps, data warehousing and analytics, and business intelligence. With a blend of experience in both startup and G500 environments, Joanna has successfully launched a myriad of products across her multi-decade career, from business-focused analytic applications to leading data warehousing and management tools.

Published Tuesday, December 03, 2019 7:17 AM by David Marshall
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