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Best Automation Testing Practices In Agile And Continuous Delivery

Working in an Agile environment means you frequently release software to production while ensuring that the software exhibits the best possible quality. In order to achieve this quality, you need to test early and test often. You must ensure that you have every information on the table before you set your sail.

Automated testing well syncs with the Agile development methodology. As the application(or software) moves into the continuous deployment phase, test automation becomes critical and offers instant feedback to the Dev team.

The automated tests should be reliable and must be implemented continuously in order to get instant feedback. For this, you need to ensure that most of the quality assurance is completed while new features are being developed within the sprint. The new functionalities should not hamper the workflow of the existing features of the application.

The concern here is that the Sprint duration is low which makes it practically impossible to execute the entire test case when the application advances towards the end of the Sprint. An automated Test Suite is your answer here.

Prioritize and group Test Cases into Test Suites. An initial investment in planning and designing the test automation process would definitely pay off in the long run. 

It is evident that introducing automation testing into Agile and Continuous delivery has a risk of failure. This is because the test object changes with time as the object is improvised by the developers in every Sprint. Test automation that undergo constant changes would eventually require high maintenance.

So, an obvious question arises, “How do you create a sustainable automated testing architecture for Agile and Continuous Delivery?”

Despite the fact that test object changes continuously, it is not possible to work in Agile and Continuous Delivery without Test Automation to cope with changing requirements.
Refer Why Use Automation Testing Tools in Accelerated Development cycles

Here are some of the best practices you should follow:

Keep Tests Small And Run Lean

Your continuous testing process should aim at providing value to the business. Instead of investing in producing artifacts that may not pass any value, create a testing strategy that is aesthetically lean. Short test cases will help you remove unnecessary test data, enable instant modifications as per regression requirements, and help slice down the maintenance of large test suites.

Create High-Quality Test Scripts

While writing test scripts, testers should ensure that the scripts are flexible to accommodate regression testing requirements. The scripts may be measured for accuracy, maintainability, portability, integrity, and performance. This will ensure a seamless execution of regression tests without much intervention from the testers.

Introduce DevOps When Possible

DevOps collaborates the development, testing, and operations role in a product life cycle. With DevOps, you can make the most out of collaboration and cross-functioning of the Dev and QA teams and yield a high-speed delivery process. Since DevOps is driven by shared development, integration, and real time testing, the entire Agile cycle becomes more efficient when backed with DevOps.

Work Closely With Business Analysts

Continuous testing would require you to test correctly from the very beginning. Make sure that the entire team has a clear picture of the product and business requirements before flagging off Development. This means that the QA team should work closely with Business Analysts best if they are a part of the Test Automation process. Ensure that every user story you create matches the acceptance criteria. Create an end-to-end test scenario based on the current trends and analytics in order to understand user activities and behavior.

Implement A Sound QA Practise

Build an Agile QA strategy which drives development. Perform regular QA workshops that enable testers to improve their technical skills.

Follow The Best Practices For Test Automation

Know when you should follow the manual testing approach. Automate regression tests, performance tests, and security tests where possible. You need to strike a proper balance between Automated Testing and Manual Testing.

Ideally, you should perform automated testing from a Continuous Integration server. Create fast processing smoke regression packs and run them whenever the application is updated.

Automate The Deployments

Continuous testing works best when the deployments are automated incrementally. Instead of waiting for DevOps to deploy the product’s release and QA team to test thereafter, automate the entire cycle.

Automation should not be limited to merely testing and verification. Whenever you find the process to be lagging due to repetitive manual procedures, introduce automation in order to eliminate manual effort and time.

Use The Best Automation Tool

Be prepared to invest your time and effort in evaluating Popular Automation Testing tools in the market. Selecting the right test automation tools is a crucial part of the continuous delivery process. Before you pin down your choice on a certain tool, make sure that it meets the basic requirements to meet your test automation program.

Here are a few features to begin with, regardless of your custom testing needs:

  • An OS friendly tool – The number of operating systems a tool supports, the better.
  • Intuitive – The tool should come with an easy-to-understand UI (videos, screenshots and logs for clear understanding for all user levels) and should provide relatively easy functionality.  
  • User-friendliness – This will help the QA team to instantly start with the test automation process.
  • Seamless Integration – Tool should provide collaboration with Bug tracking, CI/CD integration and collaboration.
  • The tool should provide instant and precise results to make informed decisions.
  • A Steep learning curve – Easier the tool, lesser is the need for team training.
  • Tool should be versatile enough to be used in various other projects.
  • Data Driven testing  – the tool should test multiple datasets and values and execute a single test script with different input values stored in Excel, CSV or XML formats.
  • Support Cross Browser/Cross Device testing in parallel and for all versions of web browsers.
  • Allow SMEs, QA Analysts, and stakeholders to provide their feedback and inputs
  • Adapt to changing elements of an application UI.
  • Finally, the tool should justify its pricing.

You may find a few other tips in How to select the right Automation Testing Tool?

Keep A Check On The Development Environment

QA team should keep an eye on the development environment. This may include virtual machines and cloud environments that are integrated with external database and services. The idea behind this approach is that a bug may not always lie within the application. Sometimes, the reason of concern could be the environment, network conditions, configuration, and backend database.

Keeping a check on the actual development environment will help you save time when detecting the cause of test failure.

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