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Automation Testing Life Cycle – A Complete Overview

August 10, 2023Aayush Saxena
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Automation Testing Life Cycle - A Complete Overview
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In this article, we’ll explore the stages and methodologies involved in automation testing, that is, the stages of automation testing life cycle. We’ll cover everything from determining the scope of test automation to creating a solid test plan and strategy. You’ll also learn about setting up the perfect test environment, developing and executing automation test scripts, and analyzing test results and generating insightful reports. Whether you’re a manual tester, test engineer, or part of a QA team, this article is here to provide educational and conceptual learning to help you navigate the world of automation testing.

Stages of Automation Testing Life Cycle

Automation testing life cycle refers to the process of automating software testing to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. It involves the use of automation tools to execute test cases and generate test results and reports. The automation testing life cycle consists of six stages, namely:

1.  Determining the scope of test automation

2.  Selecting the right automation tool

3.  Test plan + Test design + Test strategy

4.  Setting up the test environment

5.  Automation test script development + Execution

6.  Analysis + Generation of test results & test reports

Let’s go through these stages in detail below:

1. Determining the Scope Of Test Automation

The first stage of the automation testing life cycle is to determine the scope of test automation. This involves identifying the test cases that can be automated and deciding which ones should be automated based on factors such as their complexity, frequency, and criticality.
You can follow the below mentioned points for a clear over view –

  • Assess the application or system under test to understand its architecture, functionality, and testing requirements.
  • Identify test cases that are suitable for automation based on their complexity, frequency, and criticality.
  • Analyze the complexity of the application to identify areas that would benefit the most from automation, such as repetitive tasks or complex calculations.
  • Consider the frequency of test execution, automating test cases that are executed frequently to save time and effort.
  • Prioritize automation for test cases covering critical functionalities or scenarios prone to human error.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders, including QA analysts, developers, and business representatives, to gather insights and define the most appropriate scope for automation.
  • Define a focused scope for test automation to maximize the benefits, improving efficiency, test coverage, and overall software quality.

By following these steps to determine the scope of test automation, you can ensure that your automation efforts are targeted and yield the desired outcomes.

2. Selecting The Right Automation Tool

The second stage is to select the right automation tool. There are different categories of test automation, including front-end testing, performance testing, database testing, and more. For each category, there are several automation tools available. Here are the top 3 tools for each category:

Front-End Testing:

This category involves testing the user interface and functionality of web applications. The top 3 tools for front-end testing are:

1. TestSigma: An intuitive and cloud-based test automation tool designed for both technical and non-technical users. It offers a codeless approach to automation testing, making it easy to create and execute test cases without programming knowledge.

  • Supports cross-browser testing
  • Provides a collaborative test environment
  • Offers built-in test management and reporting features

2. Selenium: A popular open-source tool for automating web browsers. It supports multiple programming languages and browsers.

  • Supports cross-browser testing
  • Supports parallel test execution

3. TestComplete: A commercial tool for testing desktop, mobile, and web applications. It supports multiple scripting languages and platforms.

  • Supports object recognition
  • Supports data-driven testing

4. Katalon Studio: A free tool for testing web, API, and mobile applications. It supports scripting in multiple languages and integrates with other testing tools.

  • Supports record and playback
  • Supports integration with CI/CD tools.

Performance Testing:

This category involves testing the performance and scalability of web applications. The top 3 tools for performance testing are:

1. JMeter: A popular open-source tool for testing web applications. It supports multiple protocols and can simulate large user loads.

  • Supports distributed testing
  • Supports reporting and analysis

2. LoadRunner: A commercial tool for testing web and mobile applications. It supports multiple protocols and can simulate large user loads.

  • Supports correlation and parameterization
  • Supports cloud-based testing.

3. Gatling: An open-source tool for testing web applications. It supports scripting in Scala and can simulate large user loads.

  • Supports real-time reporting
  • Supports scenario simulation

Database Testing:

This category involves testing the functionality and performance of databases. The top 3 tools for database testing are:

1. dbForge Studio: A commercial tool for testing SQL databases. It supports multiple database management systems and can automate database testing.

  • Supports data comparison and synchronization
  • Supports schema comparison and synchronization

2. SQLTest: A commercial tool for testing SQL databases. It supports multiple database management systems and can automate database testing.

  • Supports data generation
  • Supports data masking

3. Data Factory: A commercial tool for testing SQL databases. It supports multiple database management systems and can automate database testing.

  • Supports data masking
  • Supports data generation

Before we proceed ahead to the next stage, one of the most crucial aspect for selecting the right automation tool, also depends on the team’s skills and budget.
For a more detailed insight into it, kindly hop on to TestSigma’s blog here.

3. Test Plan + Test Design + Test Strategy

  • First up, we have the Test Plan. Think of it as your roadmap for testing success. This document outlines the overall approach, objectives, and resources needed for a smooth test execution. It helps you define the scope of your testing, identify the testing environments, and assign roles and responsibilities to your team members. A good test plan sets the stage for efficient and effective testing.
  • Next, we move on to Test Design. This is where you roll up your sleeves and start crafting test cases that align with your project requirements. Test cases are like little experiments that you design to validate different aspects of your application. By developing well-designed test cases, you ensure that you cover various scenarios, functionalities, and edge cases. This helps you identify any potential defects and ensure comprehensive test coverage. Don’t forget to think about the test data too – the inputs, expected outputs, and preconditions needed to execute your test cases effectively.
  • Lastly, we have the Test Strategy. This is where you define the guidelines and techniques that will guide your test execution. Your test strategy determines how you select test cases, prioritize them, and decide on their execution sequence. It also covers important considerations like choosing the right automation frameworks, identifying reusable components, and implementing best practices for test automation. Additionally, your test strategy may include guidelines for defect tracking, reporting, and communication within your testing team. It’s all about ensuring a strategic and organized approach to your testing efforts.

4. Setting Up The Test Environment

Now that you have your test plan, test design, and test strategy in place, it’s time to create the ideal test environment for your automation testing.

Imagine the test environment as a simulated version of the real-world system or application that you’ll be testing. It’s crucial to set up a test environment that closely resembles the production environment to ensure accurate and reliable results. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Hardware and Software Configuration:

First and foremost, make sure you have the necessary hardware and software infrastructure to support your testing efforts. This includes setting up the required servers, networks, and devices. If you’re testing a web application, ensure that you have the right web servers, databases, and browsers installed. For mobile app testing, you might need physical devices or emulators.

  • Test Data and Test Assets:

To perform meaningful tests, you’ll need a representative set of test data. Prepare the necessary datasets that cover various scenarios and conditions. This can include sample user profiles, different input combinations, and data to simulate different system states. Additionally, gather any required test assets such as test scripts, automation frameworks, or libraries that will be used during the testing process.

  • Dependencies and Integrations:

Consider the dependencies and integrations your application relies on. Identify any external systems, APIs, databases, or services that need to be integrated into your test environment. Ensure that these dependencies are properly configured and available for testing. If necessary, mock or stub certain components to isolate the system under test.

  • Isolation and Reproducibility:

To maintain a controlled testing environment, it’s crucial to isolate your test environment from the production environment. This helps prevent any unintended interference or impact on the live system. You can achieve this by using separate databases, dedicated servers, or virtualization techniques. Also, strive for reproducibility, ensuring that you can recreate the test environment for future testing or debugging purposes.

By setting up a well-configured and reliable test environment, you ensure that your automation tests run smoothly and provide accurate results. Remember, a robust test environment contributes to the overall success of your automation testing efforts.

5. Automation Test Script Development + Execution

Now comes the exciting part of automation testing – developing and executing your automation test scripts. This step allows you to automate the execution of test cases, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Automation Test Script Development:

Automation test script development involves writing scripts or code that simulate user interactions and validate expected outcomes. These scripts are typically created using the chosen automation tool or framework.

When developing your test scripts, keep the following in mind:

  • Script Structure and Organization: Plan the structure of your scripts to ensure readability, maintainability, and reusability. Use proper coding practices such as modularization, function libraries, and object-oriented programming principles.
  • Scripting Language: Depending on your automation tool, you may use languages like Java, Python, C#, or JavaScript. Choose a language that aligns with your team’s expertise and the requirements of your application.
  • Element Identification and Interaction: Identify the elements of your application’s user interface that need interaction, such as buttons, input fields, dropdowns, and checkboxes. Use appropriate locators or identifiers to interact with these elements programmatically.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Leverage data-driven testing techniques to execute the same test script with different sets of test data. This allows you to validate a wide range of scenarios efficiently.
  • Error Handling and Reporting: Implement error handling mechanisms within your scripts to capture and report failures(or exceptions) encountered during test execution. This helps in troubleshooting and debugging any issues that arise.

Execution of Automation Test Scripts:

Once your test scripts are developed, it’s time to execute them. The execution phase involves running the scripts using the automation tool or framework. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Test Execution Environment: Ensure that your test environment is set up correctly, as discussed in the previous step. This includes having the necessary hardware, software, and dependencies in place.
  • Test Execution Control: Define the order of test script execution based on your test strategy. You may execute scripts sequentially, in parallel, or in a specific order to simulate different scenarios.
  • Logging and Reporting: Capture detailed logs during test execution to track the progress, identify issues, and generate comprehensive test reports. These reports provide valuable insights into the test results and help in analyzing the application’s quality.
  • Result Analysis: Analyze the test results to identify any failures, errors, or unexpected behavior. Investigate and debug the root causes of these issues, making necessary adjustments to the test scripts or test environment as required.
  • Iterative Refinement: Automation testing is an iterative process. Continuously refine and enhance your test scripts based on feedback, changes in the application, and new test scenarios that emerge.

By developing and executing automation test scripts, you achieve faster and more accurate test execution while reducing human error. Automation empowers you to focus on more complex and critical aspects of testing, ultimately improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your testing efforts.

6. Analysis + Generation Of Test Results & Test Reports

The final step in the automation testing life cycle is the analysis and generation of test results and reports. This crucial phase provides valuable insights into the overall test execution, helping you assess the quality of the application under test.

  • Analysis of Test Results: After executing your automation test scripts, it’s time to analyze the test results. This involves examining the outcome of each test case, identifying any failures or errors, and understanding the overall health of the application. Here’s what you need to consider:
  • Test Case Status: Review the status of each test case executed. Determine whether it passed, failed, or encountered any errors or exceptions. Categorize the failures based on severity and impact.
  • Defect Identification: Identify any defects or issues discovered during the test execution. Log these defects in a defect tracking system or issue management tool. Provide detailed information about the failure, steps to reproduce it, and any additional relevant data.
  • Root Cause Analysis: Investigate the root causes of test failures or errors. This may involve analyzing logs, examining the test environment, or debugging the application. Understanding the underlying reasons for failures helps in resolving them effectively.
  • Test Coverage Analysis: Evaluate the coverage achieved by your test suite. Assess whether the automation tests adequately cover the intended functionalities, scenarios, and edge cases. Identify any gaps in coverage and plan for additional test cases, if required.

Generation of Test Results and Reports:

Once the analysis is complete, it’s time to generate comprehensive test results and reports. These documents provide a summary of the test execution and serve as a reference for stakeholders. Here’s what to include:

  • Test Execution Summary: Summarize the overall test execution, including the total number of test cases executed, passed, failed, and any outstanding issues. Provide metrics such as test case success rate and defect density.
  • Detailed Test Results: Present detailed information about each test case executed, including the test case ID, description, expected result, and actual result. Highlight any failures or issues encountered during the test.
  • Defect Reports: Compile a separate report specifically focusing on the defects discovered during the test execution. Include defect details, such as the defect ID, description, priority, severity, and status.
  • Test Coverage Metrics: Provide insights into the coverage achieved by your automation tests. This can include metrics such as the percentage of requirements covered, the percentage of code coverage, and the number of test cases executed per module or feature.
  • Recommendations and Next Steps: Based on the analysis of test results, provide recommendations for improvements or corrective actions. Outline the next steps in the testing process, such as retesting failed test cases, addressing defects, or refining the test suite.

Generating well-structured and informative test results and reports helps in effective communication, decision-making, and tracking of the overall testing progress. It enables stakeholders to gain visibility into the application’s quality and make informed decisions regarding its readiness for release.

Remember, the analysis and generation of test results and reports bring you closer to achieving your testing goals and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the application’s behavior.

Summary

In summary, the automation testing life cycle consists of six stages, including determining the scope of test automation, selecting the right automation tool, creating a test plan and strategy, setting up the test environment, developing and executing automation test scripts, and analyzing and generating test results and reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the 7 steps in software testing life cycle?

The 7 steps in software testing life cycle are:

1.  Planning

2.  Test design

3.  Test execution

4.  Defect reporting

5.  Test analysis

6.  Test closure

7.  Test maintenance

Q2. What is an example of automation testing life cycle?


An example of automation testing life cycle is automating the testing of a web application using TestSigma. This involves identifying suitable test cases, selecting TestSigma as the automation tool, creating a specific test plan, setting up the test environment, developing and executing automation test scripts with TestSigma, and analyzing the test results. TestSigma offers a user-friendly and codeless approach, allowing both technical and non-technical users to easily create and execute test cases. By following this example of automation testing life cycle with TestSigma, organizations can streamline web application testing and obtain reliable results.

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