Executing Test Automation In A Project

March 2, 2017
Test Automation
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In the current scenario, Quality Assurance (QA) through automation is the most critical element in the entire software development life cycle. Nevertheless, when applying automation in a project, it is imperative to ensure that the prerequisites for automation are in place before proceeding further.  Automation could prove to be fatal without prior analysis, while it can result in reduced costs, better quality, enhanced software stability, and faster release, when applied aptly with the vital nuts and bolts in place.  

Let us reflect on how Test Automation should be executed in a project.

Understanding The Project Needs

The initial step should be to comprehend the project requirements and to analyze the intricacies. It is vital to determine the scope of automation, and to precisely define the business goals. Then the right set of tools & frameworks must be sought for web or mobile automation.

Selecting A Tool

Automation architects must then select an apt tool based on the application analysis. With a number of tools available in the market, it is mandatory to select a tool that suits the application requirements.

Few key considerations when opting for a tool includes the company budget, the ability of the tool to support technologies used in the application, availability of the resources adept at using the tools, and presence of a good reporting mechanism within the tool.

Understanding The Proposed Applicability Of The Tool

Integrating the Automation efforts fully into the project requires the selected tool to be used in a planned way, rather than in an ad-hoc fashion. The tool nuances must be understood well before its applicability so that it can be employed correctly.

Identifying Suitable Automation Cases

Not all applications can be automated. A clear understanding of the right automation candidates is also essential. Tasks that need repetition or short processes that cover iterative steps could be chosen for automation. The crux is to start easy and move to the complex automation efforts understanding the suitability of automation.

Few factors to bear in mind are that the applications that need to be automated must not be in the premature stages of development. Additionally, some stable modules tested by the manual testers must already be in place. The UI must be reasonably stable, and the manual scripted test cases for the application must be in place.

Creating A Tool Repository

Generic and Application Libraries must be skillfully crafted for the future use. The library of these reusable functions and components save considerable time and cost.

Guiding The Team

Even with adept automation engineers in place, it is mandatory to train them about the product to be tested, and the related manual testing procedures. Additionally, the management expectations must be clearly defined.Conversely, if manual testers need to implement the automation technologies, they must be trained to understand the fine nuances of automation or they may end up ruining the entire project. Hence, robust training and better communication skills are a way to a simpler and smoother development process. Further, the test automation architecture must be carefully constructed.

Constructing The Test Automation Architecture

Automation architects assist in building a framework or creating tenets to ensure that the scripts are written down with the least maintenance requirements. The framework chosen should support automated testing for a long run so that if anything changes in the application, the script needs little or no updating to deal with that change.  

These rules lay the foundation for a successful automation effort. Based on this analysis, the test cases that need to be initially automated are chosen, and a test plan is designed.

Crafting An Implementation Plan

The environment that shall be required to execute the test scripts is cautiously selected as per the demands of the test case, and this choice must be completed before writing down the actual test scripts. The execution plan must also clearly state the role of all the project members mentioning as to who shall write and execute these scripts.

Development And Maintenance Of The Actual Scripts

Once the above steps are over, the focus should be on writing robust scripts following the best industry programming practices to ensure long-term maintenance of these scripts. The automation tool normally has the reporting feature embedded in it. It assists in keeping the management informed about the actual test cases to be covered under automation. Whenever there is a change request, the scripts are immediately updated to cope up with that change to ensure smooth execution.  

Environment Management

The test environment must also be dynamically managed to ensure it remains clean, and have enough test systems in place. Changes to the environment must also be actively managed.  

Monitoring The Project

Successful Project Management requires incessant monitoring, timely obstacle resolution, and risk mitigation, along with ascertaining that the project is treading in the right direction to meet its objectives. This shall assist in harnessing the real value of the test automation.

Wrapping Up

The above guidelines can serve you well as you embark upon your automation journey. The crux is to remain realistic, lay a strong foundation, and devise a smart plan for your automation endeavors. We wish you good luck on your automation voyage!!

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