In addition to higher efficiency and accuracy of the testing process, QA automation has often been associated with increased ROI via better speed, superior quality, reduced cost and optimal utilization of resources. However, automation cannot be applied indiscriminately. Being a strategic decision, it requires a fair amount of understanding as to what it can or cannot offer to your project. Project teams and QA decision makers must evaluate the potential ROI before making a final commitment to invest in software test automation.
Once the groundwork is done, and you have set your foot on the automation playground, the initial step is to get acquainted with the factors that can help you reap the desirable ROI from the process.
Identify What to Automate: To identify this, you need to study and analyze factors like the application under test, requisite test environment, hardware dependencies and so on. Tasks that are recurring and mandatory in nature, or functions that remain stable for the most part of the development lifecycle, or tests that have complex business logic constitute some of the ideal test cases for mechanization.
Moreover, the important question is whether, in an attempt to accrue the benefits of automation, can we automate each and every layer of the app and its related components, and be done away with the human element? The answer is a crisp ‘No’. Why?
Here are a few good reasons :
- Even Automation Test scripts need to be written by testers/humans
- Scripts cannot provide inputs on how a UI looks and feels
- Automated tests can only notice the errors they are programmed to find
- Automation can prove to be a costly affair for smaller projects
- Only skilled, wise testers can choose apt automation tools or the effort can be a sheer waste
Hence, both manual and automated testing are crucial for a successful app to be developed in a given time and budget, but yes, automation can increase the benefits manifold when applied aptly. Hence, choose wisely what you really need to automate.
Task Prioritization: Once the test cases for automation have been identified, it is imperative to start prioritizing and dividing tasks as per the expected timelines. It is equally important to consider team skill-set and accordingly finalize the automation tasks.
Prepare Test Cases & Identify Scenarios Ahead: This step assists in identifying the estimated execution time and possible defects well in advance, in addition to identifying other scenarios and application workflows that can also be automated but could have been otherwise missed.
Identify the Test Process Beforehand, and Create Tests That Do Not Affect UI Changes: Identifying Test Process before going for automation ensures optimal allocation of resources and early risk analysis. This assists in the determination of best possible methods to perform the task efficiently. The automation scripts must, however, be easy to maintain and update. Finally, tests should be so written as to provide smooth and reliable results even when the UI changes.
Ensure Well-designed Test Data: Test data that is fresh/updated, valid, and reliable results in successful automation endeavors. Hence, make sure that you have quality data – optimal size data with information and components relevant to app testing environment.
Identify Apt Test Tools, Frameworks and Techniques: To obtain the desired output from the test automation project, you need to choose the right test tool- emulators or real devices, make the buying decision- buy the device or use the Cloud services, and select the right automation framework or technique for a particular app type or test scenario.
Periodic Test Review: Periodic review of your test data and cases is essential for eliminating unnecessary and outdated tests resulting in reduced costs and maintenance efforts.
Hence, automation, when implemented aptly, changes the entire test environment from design to deployment for good. Speedy and efficient delivery, better visibility into your app performance, detection of more bugs, and cost effectiveness are some of the hallmarks of automation that can be expected when you tread the automation journey in sync with the above guidelines. So automate, but automate wisely!