Our 5 Test Automation Best Practices

A misbehaving software that gathers bad reviews, customer complaints, and delivers a poor customer experience, will not only tarnish the product’s brand image but also hurt the public image of the company behind that brand too. As the pressure on delivering a high-quality product has risen, so has the emphasis on test automation. In fact, the Sauce Labs, “Testing trends in 2016: A survey of software professionals” reported that 60% of the organizations reporting had automated at least half, and in very few cases, all their testing efforts. That said though, most software teams have their own stories of how a majority of test automation initiatives do not pan out or fail in some significant way.

Our belief, as an organization that has built a significant test automation practice with a fair history of success if there are some simple things that need to be done right – if you want to see test automation success that is. Here are a 5 best practices to follow from our own vault of automated testing experiences.

  1. Understand the functionality and know what to Automate:
    Automating every test case does not really make sense, especially when the functionality or the features change frequently. Ideally, you need to understand the functionality of the software and create automated scripts for those scenarios that require testing with every release. With test automation, apart from regression test cases, you can cover smoke test and build acceptance tests. Assess the risk and try to identify the critical workflow. Then focus only on those workflows that do not require complex system checking or manual efforts. Automating everything under the sun will only lead to wastage of resources and time.Furthermore, as a bonus tip, a good understanding of the app or API, before trying to automate the test scripts, can prove vital.
  2. Choose the Right Automation Tool:
    With a variety of tools such as Selenium, SoapUI, TestingWhiz, and others out there, selecting the right tool can prove a daunting task. But, do understand that selecting the right tool is the first step on the ladder of test automation success. A wrong choice can prove costly – both in terms of time and effort and in actual money.Therefore, the automation tool you select should be compatible with the technology your app or API uses. Key considerations are the specifications such as technology it uses and the language it is built on. For example, if you’re developing an application using a particular language, the software you select should ideally offer that programming language to write scripts. This minimizes the learning curve and eliminates potential bottlenecks between the testers and developers.However, do remember that you need a set of resources with the skills to use the chosen tool to test and automate the test cases.
  3. Create Reusable Test Cases:
    A good automation framework is one that allows changes in the test cases as the product, and the business needs evolve. In this era of demanding customers, modifications in the software can occur in any release, at any time. And, if your test cases are too rigid or static, you may well end up spending more time testing your test suite, than in testing the product under test! Therefore, as far as the possible focus on creating modular test scripts that are less dependent on each other. Reusable test cases will help the test automation framework in the long-run.
  4. Identify Opportunities With Automation:
    When faced with a bunch of manual test cases to automate first seek the potential opportunities in automation. This may involve an organic expansion from one test case to another, one business case to another, and one user-scenario to another. For example, if you’re given a test case of the login page of a bank, you can easily expand the test case and make it data-driven. Do this by adding other possible scenarios such as invalid password, blank username, invalid username, password without a special character, invalid email, etc. This one test case can then test all the above scenarios in a single go. The objective, as always, is to seek to deliver maximum bang for the buck.
  5. Avoid GUI Automation:
    Ok, this may be a bit controversial, but remember the idea to expend resources most efficiently. Most product folks will agree that GUI automation is the toughest nut to crack in software testing. Therefore, if you can easily achieve the desired results by not automating the GUI, you will save your organization some useful dollars. Focus on using other methods such as command line inputs as an alternative to GUI automation. Expending too much energy on GUI Test Automation carries the risk of making the test automation slower and also of potentially increasing the risk of errors. Our understanding is that all organizations are constrained by resources – time, effort, and money are all limited. Under the circumstances rather than focus on automating the testing of the GUI – look for other promising candidates.

These are some of our secrets – we are quite sure that you will have your own little tips and tricks that have made test automation work like a charm for you too. Go ahead, don’t feel shy, tell us what are your “best practices” too – that’s what the comments sections is for!

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