Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. -- Garrison Keillor

Just as in the fictitious Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average, in the DevOps software lifecycle, we shift every step in the lifecycle all the way ‘to the left.’

The ‘shifting to the left’ metaphor dates to the 1990s, as software development organizations realized that the industry-standard waterfall methodology led to poor quality software and expensive fixes.

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. -- Garrison Keillor

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. — Garrison Keillor

The problem: the testing step was far ‘to the right,’ that is, late in the lifecycle. By moving it earlier, i.e., ‘to the left,’ software quality improved and any necessary bug fixes were far less expensive to address.

Shifting testing to the left is now an established software best practice. “It has been well known that defects are more difficult and expensive to fix the later they are found in the lifecycle,” explains Donald Firesmith, Principal Engineer at the Software Engineering Institute. “One of the most important and widely discussed trends within the software testing community is shift left testing, which simply means beginning testing as early as practical in the lifecycle.”

Shifting Operations to the Left

Today’s modern practice of DevOps adds operations to the mix, as teams now shift deployment in particular ‘to the left,’ what we call ‘continuous deployment’ or CD. “Shifting left requires two key DevOps practices: continuous testing and continuous deployment,” says Dr. Darrell R. Schrag, Watson and Cloud Platform Architect at IBM. “Continuous deployment automates the provisioning and deployment of new builds, enabling continuous testing to happen quickly and efficiently.”

In fact, one way to look at this ‘shift everything to the left’ mentality is ‘continuous everything.’ “Continuous everything is really around how do you do continuous testing and continuous delivery,” explains David Williams, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Strategy at CA Technologies. “When you’re delivering on a test infrastructure, it’s continuous throughout, whether it’s from development, thorough to release, into production, back into plan, and that is a continuous environment.”

Read the entire article at https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2018/06/08/can-devops-really-shift-everything-to-the-left/.

Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, CA Technologies and IBM are Intellyx customers. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. CA Technologies covered Jason Bloomberg’s expenses at the CA Built to Change Summit, a standard industry practice. Image credit: ladysnap50.

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