These days, when releases need to happen faster than ever, companies must adopt a smart automation strategy and engage in best practices. Automation is not a new concept, but this accelerated transformation is driven by an overwhelming demand for high-performing web and mobile apps. Most companies and teams are implementing some type of automation, but they are still struggling.
Top Challenges for AutomationAccording to the 2021 State of Test Automation Report, the top challenges are:
- Lack of resources for creating test automation
- Struggles to adopt test automation
- Proper coverage for test automation scenarios
- Test flakiness
How can we improve the value of Automation?
The following factors paired with best practices will improve the value of your automated tests:
Examine your processes
Starting by looking at how your team is doing is always the best first step. Are we doing manual and/or automated tests? Who is responsible for automation? When are we automating a test case? Is the automation strategy included in the Definition of Done? What tools and frameworks are we using? Are we practicing continuous testing, integration, and delivery? What are the costs, risks, and benefits? Questioning how things are being done gives a good insight into strengths, gaps, and needs.
Communication is fundamental and the people in your team should aspire and support the automation project to move forward. A willingness to change should exist to guarantee a successful automation strategy. Working along with an expert in the team, will allow to identify whether the right solution is being built or even ensure that the best quality processes are in place for your project. It is easier to implement automation when the team has a quality mindset and the whole team commits to the goal of implementing testable code.
The right tools & framework
To find the most adequate tools and framework for our automation suite, we must perform pertinent and serious research. We need to take into consideration:
- Are we automating mobile, web, or desktop technology?
- What does the selected framework support? (Behavior-driven, data-driven, keyword-driven modular-driven, or hybrid)
- Does the framework support the debugging and refactoring processes?
- Does it support version control?
- Does it handle operations through backend processes or GUI?
- Are we able to reuse objects?
- Is it integrable with other tools?
- Is it user-friendly?
Do not forget to consider the independent reviews of these products, this also adds to the analysis..
From this investigation, we should have two or three candidates that we can present to the team. We could take an informed decision on which tools and framework to follow. It is not a forever sealed contract with a particular tool and/or framework because we can test out a proof of concept. If it does not work out for our project and team, we can change it to something more suitable.
Consider time for the learning curve
When implementing automation, consider the learning time to invest in becoming acquainted with the tool or framework. Also, if your team has people with different levels of automation skills, that will require time to get everybody up to speed. A recommendation is to implement pairings to promote mentoring between the different levels of skills. When making the decision on which tools or frameworks to use, do not forget that you will need to invest.
Genuinely Useful Metrics
Take into consideration:
- The time saved by running test scripts and tracking how long it takes to run an automation suite.
- The time invested in fixing and maintaining the tests --whether it is due to bugs or changes in the environment.
- Quality results consistently throughout the releases.
Having many tests does not necessarily mean that the right things are being tested. Also, tracking defects can be misleading because if there is a high number, the blame may fall on someone. If the number is too low or zero, you may doubt if there were no defects at all or if the tests do not address the needed scenario.
Why are your selected tests and what do these tests verify?
We should always make sure to simulate end-user interaction as real as possible to see if that leads to a successfully executed scenario. Automation is not applicable for every single case. The level of detail that the scope of our automation needs will be higher before starting our project.
When designing and implementing automated tests, it is important to focus on the repeatability of the tests (without manual intervention). Repeatable tests can run on demand, as much as required, leading to a reduction of the cost per run and time needed to complete a development cycle. Also, these automation tests should integrate seamlessly with the continuous integration that your team uses. The direct benefit is that it should make your automation suites more efficient.
Your processes and automation suites need periodic reviews. If there is a need to fix or update, we should be able to adjust as necessary. One of the greatest benefits of having an Agile team is that every team member can grow their understanding of the test quality required, so it would certainly drive a better and solid construction of automation suites.
Automation is not a silver bullet. It is a catalyst for change, a shift towards structured exploratory testing in conjunction with test automation. When done smartly, it has the potential to take your project to the next level.
At Encora we leverage Test Automation to increase release & delivery velocity. We improve quality and expand test coverage to enable our clients to bring their products to market faster while simultaneously reducing product development costs. Let us help you excel on this ongoing journey.
Fast-growing tech companies partner with Encora to outsource product development and drive growth. Visit Encora.com to learn more about our remote teams and augmented teams innovating in cloud enablement, big data, QA, AI, DevOps, and more.
- The State of Test Automation Today Results. (2021, January 21). Perfecto by Perforce. https://www.perfecto.io/p/success/resources/2021-state-test-automation
- When to automate a test case? (2022, May 6). Encora. https://www.encora.com/insights/when-to-automate-a-test-case
- Test automation costs. (2022, February 12). Encora. https://www.encora.com/insights/test-automation-costs
- Test Automation and Platform Validation. (2022). Encora. https://www.encora.com/services/test-automation