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Characteristics of an Ace Test Automation Suite

“In some situations, the most important objective of testing is to find as many important bugs as possible. In other situations, finding bugs is not important at all. In yet other situations, bug-finding is only one of a number of important objectives. The wise test professional knows which situation she is in. “- Rex Black.

There is no longer any need to make the case for Test Automation – the obvious value proposition has ensured that now software development projects in general and product development in particular always includes an allowance for test automation. The question really is what can be done to improve the chances of success of your own test automation efforts? What characteristics should a comprehensive Test Automation suite possess?
Architecture: Remember that the automation suite is, to all intents and purposes, a software product and hence its architecture is of prime importance. The best architecture emphasizes methodology, manageability and maintainability of the suite. The test methodology, essentially how the testing will be carried out, is more important than the technology of the day that will go into creating the suite. The product being tested will keep evolving, especially in these days of continuous delivery, so the suite has to be easy to update and scale.
Process: The success of a test automation strategy is highly dependent on how well the process is organized, including management of the test process and management of the tests themselves. The first implies a tight integration with the business. There is a need to be conscious of the issues the software product or project is looking to address. Efficient and effective involvement of business stake holders, users and auditors will become key.
Trackability: Among the top reasons to consider automation is making repetitive tests faster & easier. In these cases, chances are, you would be running the same tests against many devices or under many environments. A great test automation suite will ensure you are always able to keep track of exactly how the automation is faring – essentially give full visibility into what the automating configuration and compatibility testing achieving at all times.
Capability: In a nutshell the aim of test automation is to achieve more test coverage in a shorter time while reducing the chances of human error. That being said not all tests are the same – since you can never really achieve 100% test automation which tests should a great test automation suite prioritize?

  • Traditional wisdom has been a great test automation suite should help to automate the routine tasks like smoke tests and regressions tests – the rationale is sound.
  • Our view is that a test automation suite should also seek to extend the possibilities of normal testing – in many ways this suggests that an outstanding test automation suite will be one that taken on more than is possible with manual testing – a suite that helps execute those test cases that are difficult to execute manually.
  • We have already mentioned cross-platform test cases like different OS’s, browsers and platforms. These are great tests to try to automate given that they need to be performed repeatedly – a fit case for automation.
  • We have spoken of how the road to success lies in ensuring the test automation is integrated into the business logic. This suggests that a test automation suite that effectively automates the testing of complex business logic would be another fit case for automation.

Boris Beizer said “More than the act of testing, the act of designing tests is one of the best bug preventers known. The thinking that must be done to create a useful test can discover and eliminate bugs before they are coded – indeed, test-design thinking can discover and eliminate bugs at every stage in the creation of software, from conception to specification, to design, coding and the rest.” That’s an onerous load for testing in general and test automation in particular to bear but the best test automation suites out there have that capability – happy testing!

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