Shift Left and Shift Right approaches in Agile

Date: 21/02/2023| Category: Agile| Tags:

A traditional waterfall approach of product development is to first develop the complete product and test it in the end. An agile approach is to incorporate testing continuously, in order to find bugs in an earlier stage and resolve issues quicker. The goal to create a continuous and collaborative workflow through the overall development process is known as the Shift Left and the Shift Right approaches.

The Shift Left approach focuses on pushing back the start of tasks earlier in the development process. This shift helps to ensure that any potential problems or bugs are identified and addressed at the beginning of the process.

The Shift Right approach is focused on pushing back the end of the development process. This helps to ensure that any issues or bugs are identified and addressed late in the process, making it less likely that any issues will be carried into the live environment.

Both approaches are key to the success of Agile development. Shift Left and Shift Right are also considered to be DevOps practices.

Shift Left approach

The Shift left approach emphasizes continuously testing and validating code during the early stages of development. The name ‘shift left’ literally derives from moving the tasks to the left in the development process. The Shift Left approach seeks to reduce the cost and complexity of later stages of development by identifying and addressing errors early in the development process.

The primary practices associated with Shift Left are Test Driven Development (TDD) and Continuous Integration (CI). Test Driven Development is a development approach which requires developers to first write tests, before they start writing any code. TDD seeks to ensure that the written code meets the test requirements. Continuous Integration is the practice of regularly integrating code changes into a shared repository, and automatically building and testing the software to ensure that it continues to function as expected.

The Shift Left approach addresses issues early in the development process, before they become more difficult and expensive to fix. TDD and CI help to identify bugs or mistakes early so that they can be fixed before the code is included in the final product. This reduces the number of expensive extra sprints during the later stages of development. Additionally, it helps to ensure that the product is of an errorless and high quality.

Shift Right approach

The Shift Right approach encourages early user testing and feedback gathering to involve end-users and other stakeholders more actively in the development process. The name Shift Right literally derives from putting the actions at the end of the process development. The goal is to receive feedback from the end-users at earlier stages of the development process to ensure that the product meets their requirements and expectations.

The Shift Right approach uses a variety of practices and techniques for the development team to achieve this. User research and interviews, usability testing, prototyping, and other methods of collecting feedback are some techniques that are used. These all help to get a better understanding of what the users need and what they expect from the product, and to identify potential issues and problems before they become an expensive and time consuming problem.

Shift Right also encourages the development team to use best practices like design thinking and continuous deployment to allow for faster and more efficient development. These practices seek to ensure that the product meets the users’ needs in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

The Shift Right approach is an essential part of the development process that helps to ensure that the product meets the users’ needs and expectations. By involving end-users and other stakeholders more actively in the development process, the development team can create a better product that is more likely to be successful.

Why use the Shift Left and Shift Right approaches

Using the Shift Left and Shift right approaches in product development can yield quite some benefits, such as increased efficiency, cost savings and quality products.

Increased efficiency

As bugs, errors and mistakes are caught early in the development process, the Shift Left approach helps increase efficiency. Shift Right on the other hand increases efficiency by making sure that the developers are creating the final product that is up to the expectations of the end user, by means of user research. Both Shift Left and Shift Right create a smoother and more efficient timeline.

Cost Savings

By using best practices such as Continuous Integration (Shift Left) and Continuous Deployment (Shift Right), errors and bugs in the code are tested early in the development stage and testing is automated where possible. Catching bugs early on, will save many costs as there is no need to add extra sprints or resources to solve problems.


Both the Shift Left and the Shift Right approach seek to automate and include all stakeholders. This helps to make sure that the development team is developing a product that is tailored to the requirements of the end users. It gives the development team a better understanding of the final user which can also lead to more innovative and creative solutions, which both help create high quality products.

Shift Left and Shift Right in DevOps

DevOps uses many different Agile methods and the Shift Left and Shift Right approaches are fundamental within any DevOps environment. Both Shift Left and Shift Right are not only important for ensuring the DevOps workflow, but they also sustain the DevOps environment itself.

Some of the key factors of a good DevOps environment are automation, Continuous integration & Continuous Deployment, testing, collaboration and feedback loops. Both the Shift Left and the Shift Right approaches help support all of the above. They help to assure that issues/bugs are found and addressed timely, stakeholders are continuously involved and help sustain creativity and innovation. Together the Shift Left and Shift Right approaches smooth over the complete product development process and help develop high quality products.

If you want to learn more about the DevOps qualification scheme visit our DevOps page or contact us!.

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