What is Shift-Left Testing? | Definition, Benefits, Challenges

We are living in a competitive era where meeting customers’ expectations and demands are the keys to winning over your competitor. In this modern era of software delivery, more and more companies are incorporating shift-left testing to ensure the software they release to market can outshine the competition. In this article, you will learn how shift-left testing leads to higher-quality products, the challenges it faces and best practices for success.

shift left testing

What is Shift left Testing?

In an effort to bring testing earlier into the development lifecycle while improving quality measures, tasks are being shifted left rather than the traditional method of keeping delivery and testing requirements to the right side of the development model. If possible, testing should occur from the very beginning of the design phase to build an appropriate testing strategy.

Simply put, shift-left testing is an approach to software testing and system testing in which testing is performed earlier in the life-cycle. In other words, it is the first half of the maxim “Test early and often.”

Why Shift-left Testing Matters?

Shift-left testing should matter to you because it emphasizes the test early principle. More and more, companies are finding out that style is simply not conducive to rapid releases. Time is money, after all. Shifting testing practices left and incorporate testing as early as possible allows software businesses to beat their competition to the market.

Key Benefits of Shift left Testing

key benefits of shift-left testing

  • Reduce costs: Time and resources can be quickly used up. Shift-left testing helps reduce that problem and saves you money.
  • Higher quality: Find bugs early and fix them before they become a problem in production
  • Higher efficiency: Increase your testing reliability by using the shift-left testing procedures and as such, deliver your product to market faster.
  • Competitive advantages: Shift-left testing helps to achieve high quality software products in the short amount of time.

Challenges of Shift-left Testing

  • Planning: Shift-left testing can be difficult to incorporate without an effective plan in place before you begin
  • Quality control: It’s not an easy task to maintain excellent quality levels during the training and transition phase
  • Developers: Developers can be resistant to testing and should be prepared to add testability to their skillset

Best Practices of Shift-left Testing

  • Silos: Reduce the silos in your organization to provide swift feedback to fix problems faster and more efficiently
  • Audits: If your organization does not actively participate in regular code audits, make sure this is set up to ensure the new testing procedure is working as intended
  • Project Management: Properly prepare and train your project managers to incorporate shift-left testing into their processes

What Shift-Left and Continuous Testing implementations mean for your DevOps strategy?

Continuous testing is the practice of applying automated tests early, gradually and adequately in the software delivery pipeline. While shift-left testing might sound like the perfect approach to help you in the testing process before rolling out new products, the technique alone is not enough.

Shift-left testing should be incorporated into continuous testing so that testers can generate more frequent, holistic and more practical tests with the implementation of real functional data. The combination “shift-left continuous testing” adds to the automation of your application testing, ensures that it is utilized as much, as early, and as continuous as possible throughout the product development pipeline.

In other words, by incorporating shift left testing and continuous testing, bug detection can be done more efficiently in the early stage, resulting in higher quality feedback and faster issue resolution with lesser effort. Learn more


Overall, shift-left testing comes about to test earlier in the development process. When you shift left by leveraging modern software testing technologies, you can achieve software that is safe, reliable, and secure. By shifting testing left, you can reduce the cost of testing by finding bugs earlier, when it’s cheaper, while also reducing the number of bugs you put into the code in the first place.

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