Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Monday, September 25, 2017
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Software Development Still Lacks Agility 

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The growing desire to speed the deployment of enterprise software is being hampered by a shortfall in automation skills and "fragmented" testing processes. Lack of training and tools along with unclear testing processes were most often cited as obstacles to faster deployments, according to new software testing survey released this week.

Continuous software delivery is a growing enterprise requirement, putting more pressure on DevOps teams to improve workflows through steps such as automate testing and other tools. That, the vendor survey issued by test management specialist Zephyr Inc. of Newark, Calif., is proving more difficult since nearly half of respondents said they lack the skills to deliver software continuously.

Indeed, 35 percent of the roughly 1,000 respondents to the survey said the lack of automation testing was the biggest obstacle to agile workflows and continuous delivery. A smaller percentage reported that DevOps teams continue to struggle with the issue of what parts of the software testing process should be automated and which require manually testing. The result has been "roadblocks to deployment," the survey found.

"Testing teams in a breadth of industries face the same issues in deploying tools and providing internal training fast enough to meet the needs of continuous software deployment," Zephyr CEO Scott Johnson noted in a statement releasing the survey.

The vendor argues that enterprises should increase training investments to fine-tune automated testing so those processes will work for most software development projects. The vendor also estimates that only 30 percent of those surveyed use automated software testing despite that fact that most embrace agile development.

All this points to a shortfall in the way supposedly agile software development teams are operating despite a shift to smaller, more nimble teams within large enterprises. Hence, the Zephyr survey concludes that it remains difficult to scale up agile process methods. The result is that 39 percent of respondents said they are using agile software development in less than half of total development projects.

"DevOps is no longer a buzzword, it’s a critical move to achieve the ultimate goal of conquering continuous testing and a seamless agile flow," the report asserts.

Another hindrance to agile development is the proliferation of software types currently under development for a growing number of use cases ranging from cloud computing to Internet of Things implementations. Despite the hype over IoT deployments, however, the survey found almost statistical increase in IoT software testing over the past year. The sector "seems to be taking a breather, probably letting reality catch up with everything that was promised," the survey authors noted.

"We see no signs of consolidation across hundreds of fragmented automated tools [and] we anticipate increased investments to upgrade skill sets in automation for current employees…" the vendor concluded.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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