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Guidelines for Successful Test Automation

Test automation has created a great buzz in the field of software testing. In the recent years, many software testers have indulged in test automation for some or the other reasons. However, these testers have not always been successful in getting the desired results out of test automation even after significant investment of time, money and resources. In some or the other scenarios, these testers have not been able to make the most of the test automation projects. There are several reasons why test automation fails.

Why Test automation Fail?

  • Lack of proper planning
  • Inadequate funding around tools and training
  • Underestimating the time, costs and efforts required
  • Lack of skilled programmers and testers
  • Over reliance on tools
  • Wrong selection of tool

Above are the reasons for failure of test automation. Besides these, testers are often mis-conceptualized regarding test automation which results in failure of test automation. For these reasons, I have highlighted some facts which require attention.

Fact #1 – Testers often automate the test cases in order to meet the tight deadlines.

Fails Because – Test automation takes time to inscribe, manage and interpret the results, it will probably make the process slower. The only thing that automation can make faster is “test execution”.

Fact #2 – Testers often automate tasks that seem monotonous to them and concentrate on other interesting task.

Fails Because – Automation only automates a process while it is testing that discovers bugs in the software

Fact #3 – Confusion between testers and automators who perform their roles interchangeably creating overlap/duplication.

Fails Because  - Testers are the one who decide and write the test cases while automators are experts who know the right areas and aspects where test automation should be applied. The problem occurs when the tasks of testers and automators are not pre-defined in which case their duties overlap.

To deal with these misconceptions and issues related to test automation, I have come up with a few scenarios when you should actually go for test automation or prefer it over other testing process.

When You Should Automate Your Testing?

  • Regression Testing: Automation is a good option when you require performing regression testing or re-testing of existing applications and their functionalities on a continuous basis.
  • Data Driven Testing: Testing can be also automated when application functions require to be validated with different values and data sets.
  • Large Number of Iterations: When there are a large number of iterations, automation is considered better than manual testing
  • Continuous Integration: Automation should be also preferred in cases where there are continuous integrations in software application and testers require feedback on a daily basis
  • Agile Development: Automation should be also given preference in an agile development environment where there are time-boxed development and sprint releases
  • When Manual Testing Fails: Automation testing is also performed when manual testing fails or when testers can’t perform certain tests or figure out errors
  • During Weekends: When you have piles of test cases to be executed, you can automate them which can be executed unattended when you are away from the workplace during weekends

Though these scenarios ensure that your test automation is conducted for the right purpose and at the right time, there are certain points to be followed while performing test automation.

Points to be followed while performing Test Automation

  • Spend less time in repetitive testing and let them concentrate on test design and investigative testing
  • Repeat the regression tests because machines can find flaws
  • Use automation where necessary to get the best results. Not everything can be done by humans and manual process has limitations
  • Develop an automation framework that is easy to manage and new tests can be added easily as well
  • You should run the most useful tests frequently
  • Once testers identify the most useful tests, automate them to reduce work pressure

Test automation in itself is a great strategy for testers struggling to release flawless software and keep their quality under check. It can either transform your software to a great height or ruin it if utilized in a wrong way. However, if you understand these simple facts and ideas about automation testing, there would be no incident when your test automation would fail.

Author Bio: Prashant Chambakara is a test automation technology enthusiast, loves to share insights, views and information on software testing and its associated branches like automation testing, test automation tools, etc. He is currently working with Cygnet Infotech – a leading software testing service provider and the parent company of TestingWhiz, a test automation tool for web applications.

Categories:   Technology

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