Ensuring that a software solution meets customer expectations is the main priority for software development companies. Before unveiling a new product to the market or releasing an update, it’s s essential to confirm it works stable and without defects in terms of functionality. Additionally, for companies striving to deliver high-quality products rapidly, testing automation is a crucial component that cannot be overlooked.
Test automation is a software testing approach that leverages specialized tools to test products with minimal involvement from software testers. An efficiently built test automation process can significantly reduce labor costs and test execution time, as well as improve the quality of released updates by increasing the overall frequency of the product’s testing.
Developing an efficient test automation process is a challenging endeavor that demands specialized skills and expertise. In light of this, we have compiled the essential factors that you should take into account when implementing test automation into your development cycle in order to maximize your returns and achieve optimal outcomes.
The foremost step towards successful test automation is defining a robust strategy. According to international research, an inadequately formulated test automation strategy is a major factor contributing to reduced process efficiency, as well as elevated expenses associated with supporting and developing the test automation solution. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a well-crafted strategy that can effectively address your testing needs, optimize resource utilization, and minimize costs.
One of the key reasons why test automation processes fail is that many companies neglect to consider the long-term implications of their implementation. Often, the primary objective is to expedite testing processes by writing automated tests without adequate consideration of the implementation and maintenance expertise required. Consequently, automation stacks and approaches are chosen based on familiarity rather than suitability, leading to initial success but eventual inefficiencies. As the number of automated tests grows, and the program under testing evolves, efficiency declines, and tests stop functioning correctly. This can result in significant technical debt, rendering automated testing unviable in subsequent releases. Ultimately, this leads to either longer testing times or regression to manual testing.
How can this be avoided?
- Choosing the Right Scope for Automation:
When implementing test automation, it’s important to consider the scope of the automation. To achieve reasonably accurate and swift results, prioritize identifying the first objects to automate which can help test and debug the framework. The optimal approach is to focus on smoke tests or regression tests that undergo minimal changes to program functionality but are regularly employed in testing. Similar to manual testing, test automation must adhere to the testing pyramid concept, which places the bulk of test coverage on the API layer. API automation is more straightforward and less costly to maintain than UI automation.
- Choosing an Automation Framework:
Selecting an automation framework is a pivotal and critical step in the implementation process. The efficiency of the test automation process relies heavily on the chosen tool, so it’s wise not to settle for the first option that comes your way. Instead, we suggest conducting a thorough analysis of the automation framework market using the following criteria:
- Ease of set up and use
- Cost of using
- Customization options
- Ease of integration
- Community size
- Program language support
- API testing
- Parallel testing
- DevTools protocol
- Overall speed
Moreover, the choice of the most appropriate automation solution largely depends on various factors such as the type of application, team size, and technology stack. To make an informed decision, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the automation framework market based on the following criteria:
- Compatibility with the technology stack and programming languages used in the project
- The level of support for various testing types such as functional, regression, and performance testing
- Integration capabilities with the current software development and testing infrastructure
- User-friendliness of the framework and ease of use for both developers and testers
- Community support and availability of documentation and resources for learning and troubleshooting
- Choosing a Test Automation Approach:
The third preparatory step to take before beginning a project is to determine the test automation approach. Although the test automation process has evolved dramatically, many companies still use the approach of writing separate automated scripts for each test. However, this approach is now outdated and involves high maintenance costs for automation solutions, as changes must be made to every script that has been written. If the system has only 20-30 UI tests, then this may not be very expensive, but when dealing with volumes exceeding 100 tests and more, support costs become incommensurable with simple manual testing. This problem underlies 80% of cases of a non-working automation process, where initially only 20-30 tests were planned during implementation, but then volumes grew and the implemented solution was not capable of scaling.
At First Line Software, we recommend immediately considering the introduction of test automation approaches such as Keyword Driven Testing, Behavior Driven Testing, and Model Based Testing. Each of these approaches significantly reduces the time and cost of supporting autotests, making it much easier to scale the framework.
- Finding Test Automation Expertise:
The last aspect of successful test automation implementation is expertise. Without sufficient knowledge and experience in test automation, even a team of strong developers may struggle to effectively implement the process. This is because test automation is a constantly evolving and growing industry on its own. Thus, there are two potential paths to success.
The first option is to seek out a senior test automation specialist with experience in implementing new frameworks and building processes. Such a specialist can be critical in developing a successful test automation strategy, drawing from the experience and knowledge gained in working on multiple projects.
The second option, which is less expensive and quicker, is to hire an external partner with expertise in using various automation tools, as well as experience in implementation and customization. At First Line Software, our QA Services team of experts has extensive experience in automation using various frameworks and programming languages. We can analyze your current testing process and needs, select the most suitable solution, implement it, and maintain it on an ongoing basis. We can help you immediately implement a scalable, convenient, and cost-effective solution that incorporates modern approaches and technologies for test automation. Contact us today for a consultation with no obligation!
Delivery QA Director at First Line Software
Alexander Meshkov is QA Delivery Director at FLS. Alexander has over 10 years of experience in software testing, organization of the testing process, and test management. A frequent attendee and speaker of diverse testing conferences, actively engages in discussions and keeps up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the field.