The process of manufacturing a new product, particularly of an electrical nature, is littered with complex steps involving a number of teams with differing expertise. Beginning with design and leading all the way up to product release, the path is dependent on a whole host of data being shared diligently to ensure development opportunities are maximised.
Measurements should be taken at every stage which involve everything from the product’s capacity to trial performance, ensuring that possibilities are explored before the product is finally released on the open market. It can be a stressful process too with tight deadlines and budget constraints meaning that development is often performed with one hand tied behind the back.
“Thankfully the approach of Test Development Operation (TestOps) – implementing technologically advanced software which measures every step of the design and manufacturing process, sharing critical data along the way – is leading the charge in streamlining these processes, creating an open, sharing culture which truly maximises development possibilities,” enthuses Mark T. Burnett, a TestOps developer at Australian help and Paper Fellows.
What is TestOps?
This is a new approach to traditional testing methods, and the result has been the acceleration of the test and development process – something that was notoriously slow in the not-too-distant past. The TestOps approach is based on two fundamental principles, namely culture and technology.
For a cultural perspective, the prevailing opinion is that collaboration between teams is key, so a TestOps culture is one in which teams consistently share knowledge and data, and never work independently of each other. Of course, this is a culture that must be bred from the top down, and changing the prevailing culture cannot necessarily happen overnight. Yet for streamlined processes and systems to succeed, it is imperative that collaborative practices are established in the design, manufacturing and testing stages to maximise opportunities.
The, of course, the technology must exist which facilitates this new culture. It is all well and good preaching a collaborative environment, but the systems and equipment are needed which can support the easy sharing of vital information at every stage. Automation is a huge part of that, and here we are talking about software as well as hardware. The processes implemented by the company must then fully utilize this modern equipment and collaborative culture to maximize potential.
What are the benefits of TestOps?
The benefits here are plentiful, and highly desirable. Starting with a speedier product development process (with all the inherent cost benefits that brings), we are also talking about a better quality of end product which takes advantage of all its potential. There is also increased efficiency and the ability to adapt more quickly to market requirements, putting you ahead of the competition.
Those are the organizational benefits, but for teams and individual engineers, the benefits are a more interconnected workplace which can facilitate personal growth, as well as heightened ownership of tasks which form a larger part of the bigger picture, as opposed to each person ad team working solely on their niche with no sense of what the end goal will be. In short, increased productivity, levels of motivation, creativity, problem-solving capacity for everybody. That benefits the individual, the team, and the business as a whole.
Quite simply the technological environment is now ripe for these kinds of developments. Cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence are just the most high-profile advancements that are facilitating this TestOps approach, as well as so many other opportunities that would have been deemed impossible not so long ago. From a product development perspective, electronic design automation (EDA) software has been a major breakthrough in allowing the automation of previously unconnected tasks, and the time this development has the potential to save is incredibly appealing to organizations.
“Of course one issue here is that the amount of data test engineers are now faced with has grown exponentially, so they are still faced with the challenge of what to do with all of this competing data, so it will inevitably take time for all the pieces to fall into place, but the fact is the tech now exists to mine the relevant data, and then use it to maximise all possibilities and take advantages of all the benefits,” says Nathaniel Schwarz, a tech writer at State of writing and Academized.
The inherent benefits of TestOps as discussed are allowing software solutions and the people who work within the business to remove those traditional barriers to effective product design, manufacture, test and release. It is having a similar impact to that of agile software did in the 1990s, with even greater potential. That was the DevOps revolution, which completely modernized organizations. Now we are moving into a TestOps age which will completely revolutionize the way data is measured, stored and disseminated, connecting all the various steps of the design and manufacturing process.
Ellie Coverdale is a technical and recruitment writer at Ukwritings and Boomessays. She has been involved in huge tech research projects, which she has taken may valuable learning experiences, and she also teaches writing at Essayroo.