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Test early, test often: How shift left gets the job done


Posted in: gbst digital, Institutional Capital Markets, Wealth Management Administration
Published: 30/07/2019

Vinitha Ponnil, Group Test Manager, discusses the role of shift left testing in transforming software development to deliver powerful tools, fast.


  • Shift left testing means faster, more accurate product testing and delivery
  • Teams work in close collaboration during development to prevent bugs
  • Test automation using open source tooling and partnership with Tricentis Tosca

At GBST, it’s second nature to embrace new or improved ways of delivering customised financial technology solutions. Agile practices transformed tech development processes, and now shift left testing is the next step in getting our clients to market even faster.

Shift left pushes testing to the left of the project plan – testing is built in from the beginning. The focus is on collaborative teams and a ‘test early, test often’ approach to software development. It reflects our focus on high quality yet cost-effective technology that delivers enhanced user experiences to our clients and their clients.

A jump to the left

It’s been almost a decade since GBST shifted left from the traditional Waterfall delivery model. Waterfall involved sequencing design and development as distinct and dependent phases – testing happened at the very end. Testing was typically conducted by people physically tapping at keyboards, inputting data and running user tests, while the clock ticked on product launch.

The design/develop/test sequence under this model was prone to inaccuracy, expensive and took too long for companies that needed to move fast. Bugs were found late in the project lifecycle; and the later they’re found, generally the more expensive they are to fix. This is because the developers have usually moved on to other projects and must recall their thought process rather than address the issue while it’s fresh in their mind.

Shift left testing pushes both the functional (does the product work as it should?) and non-functional (is the system performance as it should be?) testing to the beginning of the cycle.

Why it matters to our clients

While most clients don’t get up close and personal with our testing process, they certainly experience the benefits. The shift left approach ensures we deliver:

  • Higher quality, robust and cost-effective products
  • Sustainable, adaptable software with lower maintenance costs
  • Iteratively and collaboratively baking in improvements throughout the lifecycle
  • Products and client solutions to market faster than ever before

A shared responsibility

We have over 70 specialist software testers at GBST embedded into the cross functional teams of business analysts, developers and testers. Their mission? Prevent defects being introduced into the system, and catch them fast if they sneak in.

While our adoption of testing automation started in 2011 with the transition to agile, it has been the practical collaboration within our teams that has increased our project speed and reduced time to market. Making shift left work involves close collaboration between smaller teams and continuous testing throughout the development of the product.

Our longstanding partnership with Tricentis Tosca has strengthened our testing toolkit. They power the GBST solution with model-based test automation to further reduce cost and testing times. A wide variety of open source toolset helps to achieve test automation at all levels.

Shift your perspective

Want to find out how GBST’s accelerated testing can keep you ahead of the game? Read the Tricentis Tosca case study or talk to our team about software development that gets you there faster.

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