The 5 Secrets Of Succeeding at Test Automation.

The report Testing Trends in 2017 – A Survey of Software Professionals” showed that an increasing number of development teams are deploying software faster – 14% doing so hourly, up from 10% last year. Clearly, to enable this pace of deployment the speed of testing has to increase too so that bug fixes can be faster and the feedback loop can be shortened. Perhaps, the prime enabler of faster testing is test automation and hence software development companies are focused on strengthening their test automation initiatives. Reports are that the test automation market is all set to expand at a CAGR of 15.4% from 2017 to 2025 to hit US$ 109.69 billion by 2025.

Having said this, test automation is no magic wand that can be simply waved to cure all testing related ills. Automation initiatives also demand investment, so there is increased pressure on organizations to ensure the ROI of these initiatives. In this blog, we look at the 5 secrets to ensuring test automation success.

  1. Align testing with business goals:
    First, it is essential to align testing with the expected business goals of the software application or service under development. Taking a requirement-driven approach that addresses all functional and non-functional needs of the software, and discussing these needs with the development team is essential to develop a relevant testing suite. Testers must also ensure maximum code coverage through smart test design that not only tests the boundary considerations using multiple test cases but also ensures thorough and detailed test coverage of the codes that implement the requirement.
  2. Optimal utilization of all testing and QA assets:Manual testers, automation engineers, domain experts, and product owners are also key QA assets along with test cases, test data and the testing infrastructure. While many might feel that manual testers are no longer relevant when test automation is implemented, this is not true. There are certain tests such as exploratory testing that can only be done by manual testers. Remember that test automation cannot test for everything. It is essential to rely on manual testers to identify problems at a contextual level since automated scripts are restricted by boundaries. Similarly, automation engineers should be employed to ensure that the right test automation technologies are being used, the scope of automation is well-defined and that the test preparation is such that it hastens the testing process.
    Testing teams should also take into consideration the expertise of domain experts and product owners. They can give a deeper understanding of how the user wants the software to perform and what needs it must fulfill. Test cases and test data are other areas of focus that improve the quality of test automation initiatives by ensuring comprehensive coverage of all testing scenarios. It is essential to pay close attention to the testing infrastructure for better software testing, downtime management, and utilization management.
  3. Focus on ‘what’ to test as much as ‘how’ to test:Some test automation initiatives fail because organizations look at achieving 100% automation. For the success of test automation, testing teams need to first identify the right candidates for automation. As a thumb rule, testing teams should identify those that are repetitive in the development cycle, identify the development environment, and validate the functionalities across this environment. Those tests that are repeatable and have to be done often such as functional testing, regression testing, unit testing, integration testing, smoke testing, and performance testing are more likely automation candidates.
  4. Treat the test suite like a product:To stay in step with today’s dynamic business environment, organizations have to keep product evolution in mind. This suggests that as the software product evolves the test suite has to evolve too – just like a product would. Therefore, testing professionals should analyze their test suite carefully and identify test plans that will stay relevant in the long run and which test plans will become redundant. Changing the entire test suite in the event of a product upgrade is impossible. Instead of having a monolithic test plan it makes greater sense to have more modular test plans. A modular test plan that is built using smaller and independent test cases ensures that if one test fails then the entire test suite does not come tumbling down and that if something breaks in one test then only that one segment can be changed and you don’t have to change all the scripts associated with it. Along with this, testing teams should also focus on the maintenance needs of the test automation suite and chart its lifecycle to determine its maintenance needs. Testing teams should also focus on creating automation suites that are resistant to changes in the UI to ensure that the suite can work with future versions of the product.
  5. Integrate testing with development:The aim of test automation is to speed up development, increase code coverage, and assist in keeping timeline overruns under control. To achieve this, it is essential to place testing at the heart of software development for better testing and faster delivery. As more and more organizations are adopting development methodologies such as DevOps and Agile, it becomes all the more essential to be ready with all the components of your test automation strategy before the development process begins. This will ensure the success of the test automation initiative and that the final product matches the expectations of the user.

In closing, here’s a bonus tip! Testing teams should not be lax when designing the testing code as the quality of your testing code will impact the testing process. b, robust, and quality code will ensure that the testing code becomes an asset for future use while ensuring the success of the existing test automation initiative.

Now that you are equipped with 5 secrets to Test Automation success, it’s time to go out and look at your initiatives – and make them work for you!

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