8 Top Test Automation Mistakes And Tips For QA Teams to Avoid Them
To improve the quality of a software product built by developers, software testing is the key. Testing is essential to ensure that the end product delivered is stable and works according to the required specifications. As software testing plays a significant role in the delivery of the final product, it is necessary to consider that the testing process must involve accurate, exhaustive test cases and firm test strategy.
Test coverage has a huge impact on what is received as an end product. Efficient and apt test coverage covers all minute points & areas, that many times go neglected. Complete test coverage should include scenarios on latency, speed, security, and usability. Hence, organizations always look for testers who can comprehend testing with precision and effectiveness.
Common Test Automation Mistakes QA Teams Tend To Make
1. Identifying what can be automated and not
For a tester, understanding what areas to automate and how it will help the organization is the basic rule of thumb for the success of test automation. If a tester fails to understand the primary goal of automating a process and what benefits it will bring to the organization, it would be a waste of money.
If you have no experience with automation, it’s difficult to decide which tasks to automate and which ones to execute manually. But it’s also a mistake going in without a plan. You need to have a clear understanding of automation and how it will affect daily tasks, cost and time in the long run.
2. Not providing proper training to team members
Organizations often fail to understand that making a change is easy, but making people accept the change and live with it is really very hard. This is where businesses struggle. They adopt automation without taking their team on board and don’t understand their employees who make or break the deal.
There are two critical phases where you need to ensure your team is with you:
1. Training and adaptation
2. Testing and implementation of the automated solution
The introduction of any tool requires proper training of the tool to the members who will be using it. It should not be rolled out to the organization and asked to do hit and trial. The tools should be made familiar with a bunch of people and then once they are well versed with it they should train others.
The best way to do this is by offering training. Before enacting your automation strategy, create a training document and have multiple meetings and workshops. It’s also helpful to host a testing session to ensure your staff fully understands the automated processes.
3. Lack of Supervision
Supervision is not limited to managing your staff and their roles during automating a project. Supervision also includes managing the entire project along with the automation process. Failure to manage your automated processes results in losing control of the project and impacts sales adversely. Supervisors should always monitor the automated process activity to ensure all processes are successful and if something goes wrong, they should be the first one to know and get the issue fixed.
4. Not paying heed to your Return on Investment (ROI )
Investment in automating a process is not limited to license purchase only, it may require much more investment such as :
- Cost of implementation and installation
- Extra tools and services
- Hiring specialized staff
- Running cost
For more insight on it, please refer to the link below:
5. Automating large tasks
It’s a common perception, first to automate larger tasks. But, practically it is always better to automate smaller tasks first and focus on larger tasks later.
If you start automating the larger tasks first, it is going to be difficult and time-taking to complete. You also risk making serious errors and disrupting your whole process. Hence, it may lead to a loss of money.
What if you’re bogged down with multiple large projects. If automating them is the only solution, reorganize and prioritize these tasks into smaller chunks. Automate some parts of the task which you think are repetitive and work independently on the other parts.
6. Use of Record & Playback tools for scripting
Record and playback tools generate complex scripts that are difficult to understand and maintain. Record and play features should only be viewed as a way to generate skeletal scripts. It should not be used as a final step in automated script creation. When automation is newly introduced in any organization, many testers depend on record and playback for creating test scripts, as they are not well versed with the automation process and methodology.
Effective and Efficient Automation Testing requires good knowledge of the system and the creation of simple scripts. When testing scripts are simple, they are easy to understand for everyone in the team. Such scripts are also easy to maintain and update for testers that are well aware of the module.
7. The tool is chosen just because it’s open-source
Nowadays, Open source tools are being widely accepted in the market. But, selecting an open-source tool as it would be cost-saving should not be the only tool selection criteria.
Open-source tools require you to be well versed with technical skills. If any issue crops up while handling the tool, you won’t be able to get the support over the phone or mail from the vendor.
Open-source tools attract users as they have no licensing fees but they also come with some limitations. Some have limited functionality and may not give you all the features you need, so be very clear about what you require and how the tool will help you to automate your desired requirement.
Many organizations end up using both open-source and commercial tools together since the commercial tools can fill in any missing functionality that the open-source tools don’t have, and often add value on top of the open-source tools.
The article Reluctance To Abandon Automated Tests And Switch To Scriptless Automation Testing discusses why new user-friendly scriptless automation testing tools are still a second thought.
8. Other common test automation mistakes
The most common test automation mistakes which organizations tend to make while indulging in the fresh setup of automation process are:
- Not understanding the benefits of automation
- Not setting automation goals
- Using automation to improve a bad process
- Automating larger tasks as opposed to automating time-consuming tasks
Before you implement your automation strategy, understand these test automation mistakes and prevent making them.
What are the basic principles to achieve success while automating a process?
Some simple tips can be kept in mind while implementing automation:
1. Keep things simple. Do what is required. You should not overdo things to make it look fancy and complicated.
2. Doing simple things does not mean automating an easy process. It means you should take baby steps to achieve your automation goals. You may start automating with a simple feature, but it may happen that the final implementation of automation turns out to be complex.
3. The team should be cross-functional. You should not restrict the automation job either only with the testers or only with the developers. Each of the disciplines has to step into each other’s shoes to achieve automation of the project. This approach gives everyone an in-depth knowledge of the project and also the ability to tackle any technical issues that may arise.
4. Take your time to understand the application which you want to automate. Design it well to avoid technical mistakes.
5. Keep asking for feedback frequently from clients and testers to ensure the right product is being built.
6. Apply proper coding standards and practices. The design should be simple, try to keep the tests independent of each other. Consider factors like “maintainability” of the test suit.
7. Automation for a team is not just the implementation and maintenance, but it also includes the integration of the automated suite to Continuous Integration(CI). It requires testers to learn and adopt new skills, new tools, and technologies.
Tips for QA team members to achieve a good success rate in automation
- Each individual is responsible for their work product and its quality.
- You should be responsible for your work, how to do, what to do and when to do. Team lead should not tell you what to do, every single day.
- You should never hesitate in communicating, asking questions no matter even if you feel it is irrelevant, raise concerns, red-flags or issues as soon as they arise.
- You should keep yourself updated and never stop learning.
Tips for QA Team Leads to achieve success in automation
- Establish strong processes and train your associates in such a way that they can work independently with minimum or no supervision
- Consider the team’s opinion on timelines, schedules, effort estimations, and planning.
- You should be approachable to the team for any type of communication.
- Be a team player and share responsibilities.
In a competitive market, where the client demands high-quality products with fast-paced delivery, automation surely helps, if chosen wisely. Before automating any process, understand the requirement well, find out the limitations, list down all requirements that can be automated.
Once the requirements are thoroughly understood, then comes the crucial part of tool selection. While selecting the right test automation tool, always focus on return on investment, time-saving on the process, cost-saving and overall benefits it brings to organizations.
You should not just run behind automation and think it would create magic and help in faster delivery of the product. Wisely select the areas of automation, have a clear test strategy and test plan. Start automating a smaller module, everyday repetitive activities and focus on larger modules later to avoid the common test automation mistakes we are likely to make.
To excel in the world of automation, you should keep upgrading your testing skillsets, take up challenges and never give up!