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An illustration of a person, sitting, imagining what kinds of tasks they will need to work on in 2022.

This is a guest post by Peter G. Walen.

Since their inception in 2001, agile practices have radically evolved. It was first about shifting from the waterfall model of software development to focusing on iterative development using Scrum, XP, and other methodologies, thereby removing many bottlenecks organizations had with faster software delivery.

Agile is now about optimizing operations within the development process, using different practices and tools, and making the entire process more efficient. It is about starting the testing process right from the beginning of the development lifecycle to catch defects early and distilling insights from the data collected from each stage of the development process.

Agile continues to evolve today. Here are four agile testing trends that will continue to impact all stages of the development process in 2022.

DevOps

We are in the midst of a massive transformation. Companies are shifting focus from reducing costs to optimizing their delivery pipelines for speed through DevOps. It entails continuous collaboration among developers, testers, production-monitoring, and infrastructure support teams.

What started as a small movement has now become a de facto standard in organizations that want to have a competitive edge. Most teams will move toward implementing a seamless continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) integration pipeline, having automated workflows, and using active production monitoring to support DevOps practices.

DevOps has been a trend for the last several years, but it is here to stay and will continue to be a big focus for organizations.

Continuous testing

Teams have already found value in starting testing as early as possible, aligning with the shift-left paradigm. In addition to this, having tests triggered automatically in each stage of the development process helps get quick feedback about the code and catches defects early. These tests could include – unit, API, UI, and security tests, and there are various tools available to support these efforts.

Continuous testing supports these ongoing trends in teams, including DevOps and CI/CD integration. Testing early and often with the help of automation is something that will continue to happen in 2022. 

AI and machine learning

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) have already started to impact different development and testing processes. AI can detect, learn and suggest different coding styles and reusable components that help developers write faster code. After the developer writes the code, AI can quickly scan through every line and give insights such as opportunities for refactoring, code vulnerabilities, adherence to coding standards set forth by the team, and much more.

Once the code gets pushed to QA, AI/ML-enabled automation tools can help create, author, and execute automated tests. A “self-healing” mechanism can proactively find and fix problems even before they occur. The more tests we run, the smarter the AI/ML becomes at creating stable tests and maintaining them. 

AI/ML is able to scan through millions of bits of data flowing through the DevOps pipeline and refine them into important takeaways, which helps stakeholders make informed decisions. This helps to make the pipelines much faster, leaner and smarter.

Advanced CI/CD pipelines

Currently, the way the CI/CD pipeline works on a high level is it calls a bunch of scripts. They do much of the heavy lifting. But with AI, more hardware resources and computing power would be needed, as there will be massive amounts of necessary software development and management. The current state of our CI/CD may not be able to handle this.

Consequently, we’re going to see organizations make major investments to handle large amounts of data. The initial costs will be high, but the insights they get from the data will make this well worth the cost and effort.

As the advancements in technology are exponentially increasing, so is the complexity. Using modern practices and tools to keep up with this pace is vital for sustainable growth. These trends will continue to help organizations meet growing customer demands and enable rapid release cycles to deliver products faster than ever before, in 2022 and beyond.

About the author

Peter G. Walen has over 25 years of experience in software development, testing, and agile practices. He works hard to help teams understand how their software works and interacts with other software and the people using it. He is a member of the Agile Alliance, the Scrum Alliance, and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and an active participant in software meetups and frequent conference speaker.