Test Automation ( Part 1 )

In software industry nowadays, it is a challenge for any company to continuously maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of software systems development. In many software projects, testing is not happening to a sufficient level due to time or cost constraints. This leads to lack of product quality, followed by customer dissatisfaction and this ultimately leads to increase in overall quality costs.

The main reasons for these added costs are primarily due to:

  • Issues in the test strategy
  • Effort of test case generation is not adequately estimated
  • Development delays always cost testing time
  • Subsequent test maintenance cycles

Test automation can improve many areas in a software product life cycle. In addition to the effectiveness of testing, even the accuracy will be higher when comparing with a manual tester. Therefore, by introducing automation the manual testers can focus more on business scenarios and let the automation suite to work on the functional tests.

The automation of tests are initially associated with increased effort most of the time, but the related benefits will pay off. This is called ‘Return on Investment’.

When Is Automation necessary?

Not all projects require automation. When attempting to decide whether the project requires automation, the first thing you need to consider is the efficiency of manual tests and the test coverage of the project.

For example, If your project is small, then automation testing might not be a requirement since you don’t have resources for specialized testing. However for larger projects, consulting an automation expert will add an enormous value and advantage to the project. This might be a little costly. Using simple automated scripts instead of manual tests with certain projects could be both cost and time effective. This would ultimately reduce the time spent on testing as a whole with more accuracy and efficiency.

What Automation testing can add to your project?

An automation specialist is a highly skilled person in both automation and quality assurance aspects compared to a regular tester. He/she would already be an experienced manual tester with additional automation skills. Bringing in a person with these kinds of skills would enhance the testing process even more by reducing manual testing hours and effort spent on writing test cases.

Test automation is done based on test scenarios which can represent multiple test cases. This will increase the accuracy, quality, coverage and efficiency of tests. Furthermore, the tools and frameworks you use to achieve automation can become a dependable resource for larger projects if there is a budget to cover that aspect of testing. Manual testing should still occur in this process but not for functional tests, manual testing. can be used to test business cases, so our software will be properly tested both functionality wise and business wise. The proper combination of automation and manual tests we can always expect a high quality product.

Things to consider

  • Cost and resources: What is your budget and how many resources can you afford?
  • Stakeholders: The people who are involved in the project?
  • Manageability: What is the scope of the project?  Is there a ROI
  • Execution time: Manual vs. Automation.  How much time can you save with automated tests vs. manual?

The Value of Automation Testing

A lot of projects spend most of their time and effort for the framework and their features but testing gets a low priority. Even though you use test automation, still the automation code/scripts don’t get the same priority as the main code. This is a wrong practice since the code you use to test should have a higher priority because finally, the quality of the software is measured with these automation test results.

The real value of any automated testing effort is derived from the test results it produces, instead of the quantity of automated test scripts. Automated tests reduce the testing time as a whole, but you need to comprehend that they become part of the production code base and therefore must be maintained just like the rest of the code, for the entire life cycle of the application. Adding tests that are overly complex or difficult to maintain can slow down the feedback cycle to the team and should be avoided

Tools used for Test Automation

automation tools used

Let’s talk more about Test Automation in another post.

Image_For_QADummyAbout the Author 
Kasun Ratnayaka is Senior Quality Assurance Engineer working in 99X Technology. He has over 5 years of industry experience including hands-on experience on test automation with Telerik, Selenium and QTP. Other than breaking the code, he is passionate about super cars. 
You can contact him on LinkedIn or twitter
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