What is special about test automation? The time available for testing is now compressed as never before. At some point, manual testing becomes a bottleneck to the development and release of new software builds. As it must occur along with the iterative software delivery, the industry needs real-time risk assessment prior to the release.
Although it is possible to perform regression tests manually on smaller-scale projects, such a solution cannot be considered effective. It has a snowball effect increasing the number of efforts and becoming more complicated for your testing team with every sprint. Here is when test automation is rushing to your aid.
If only it was that simple.
Test automation is not a magic bullet, so it’s extremely crucial to understand its limitations and have realistic expectations before introducing it. The goal of automation is to provide the team with more time for effective exploratory testing and increase the chance of detecting pivotal defects. And not to replace manual QAs or expect scripts to find all possible defects. The combination of manual and automated testing can create a glorious symphony – when built in the right manner.
Automation is a must-have for:
- СI/CD – Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery projects;
- non-GUI apps (for example, libraries or drivers);
- projects with rigid certification or internal company standards (for example, financial and banking software).
Here are tests that work best when automated:
Automation Best Practices
Automation is awesome when it comes down to cutting downtime and team efforts and increasing test coverage on regression and scripted testing. It is also about running fewer tests more often. Automation is not here to replace manual testing services. Nor can it.
Before automation, it is useful to first create the test case in a manual form. At this stage, all prerequisites and test data need to be identified. The test case objective needs to be written clearly, so does each step of the test. It’s quite surprising that many discrepancies are revealed in the test automation development phase rather than in its actual execution.
Basically, automation is software development. Just like the latter, it requires code reviews, a framework to be followed and constant maintenance. This way all of the best practices for software development are applicable for test automation. The detected bugs are to be reported at the bug tracking system, while automation source code is to be placed under source control. To sum up: the more you treat automation like development, the more effective it will be.
Finally, let’s speak about test automation ROI. This is what is at the crux when making the final decision on automation. The return on investment is usually higher for long-term projects with nicely built processes and accurately calculated percent of test coverage. At this point, you might even start doubting whether it’s true for your project. An experienced test automation team from the Qulix company can help you with analyzing both.
5 Tips to Help You Get Maximum ROI of Test Automation
1) To set the right expectations from automation, make sure you determine the scope of automation in detail before the commencement of the project:
- key business features and the extent to which they are reused
- scenarios with a lot of data
- the complexity of test cases
- technical feasibility and more.
Make sure the plan is discussed with the project’s stakeholders and is approved by them.
2) Choose the proper automation tool and the framework. Selecting a tool based on its popularity is a bad idea. The tool must fit the automation requirements without increasing training costs too much.
3) Make sure the team adheres to the Scripting Standards, such as:
- Creating uniform scripts and comments and following the rules of code indentation;
- Coding or standardizing user-defined error logging messages to make them understandable for testers;
- Properly working on the way errors are handled during a system failure or unexpected application behavior.
4) Pay attention to metrics. Test automation efficiency is not only about comparing the ROI of manual effort with the automation effort but also about metrics. For example, percent automatable, automation progress and percent of automated test coverage – to list down basic ones.
5) Find more regressions and document them. It is common to find regressions more often after automating tests. It happens because previously regressions could be found very quickly and fixed in no time, so the regressions haven’t been reported. Keeping track of the exact number of regressions helps to get precise averages and calculate the profit from introducing automation.
It is reasonable to automate the following tests:
- tests of frequently used functionality that creates increased risk conditions
- tests that run for several builds
- tests that may cause a human error, take a lot of effort or are not suitable for manual performance.
On the contrary – tests executed on an ad-hoc basis, newly designed test cases that haven’t been performed manually at least once, and test cases with frequently changing requirements are not suitable for automation.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because a test is automatable, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be automated.
At Qulix we support the concept of lean production. We never offer automation of test cases without a feasibility study and making sure it will bring long-term benefits to your project. If you value technical solutions tailored to your business needs and industry demands – feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website for test automation and other QA consulting services.