CI CD Test Automation | Ways To Enhance the Robustness

October 17, 2023Shruti Sharma
Enhancing the robustness of CI/CD Pipeline

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Quality Assurance is a very important part of a successful software development methodology. With the trend turning towards Agile, Kanban software development methodologies, a quick testing feedback, quick deployment and a quick deliverable have become a must. You must ensure that you research and plan to suit these SDLC methodologies to facilitate your CI/CD pipeline. And thus comes, the CI CD test automation practice comes into the picture.

But just implementing a CI/CD pipeline is not enough. The Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery/Deployment pipeline must always be valuable to ensure the product’s success and the overall software development process.

What is CI CD Automation testing?

CI/CD in automation testing is a software development practice that aims to automate the process of building, testing, and deploying applications. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) is a widely-known software development practice that leverages automated techniques to enable frequent and efficient delivery of applications to end-users. The key components of CI/CD include continuous integration, delivery, and deployment, which collectively streamline the app development process and ensure optimal performance and quality.

Why should CI CD Testing be Automated?

CI/CD should be automated because this type of testing is highly effective for handling repetitive tasks, delivering more consistent results than manual processes. The inherent risk of missing critical details or performing routine checks inconsistently is eliminated when automated tools are utilized.

Phases of CI/CD

Phases of CI/CD pipeline show the idea of agile methodology in practice as it works to overcome the challenges of earlier models. But before you jump the gun to adopt the agile methodology and accept CI CD test automation, understand their phases.

Continuous Integration (CI)

  • Commit: The developer commits regular code changes to the version control system.
  • Build: The above code commits are useful in building a functioning module using tools.
  • Test: Regular testing verifies the code changes and to test every build. DevOps engineers usually undertake this task.
  • Deploy: Then, deploy the builds to a common Development Environment for developers and QA to verify their code.

Continuous Delivery (CD)

  • Deploy: Move the build from the Development Environment to Testing Environment once the last build is complete and ready for validation.
  • Test: QA team performs various tests, including Regression, Integration, and Performance testing, at the end of each sprint to check the quality of the final product.

Continuous Deployment (CD)

  • Deploy: This phase consists of moving the final builds from the Testing Environment to the Production Environment.
  • Monitor: After the successful deployment in the last stage, QA will regularly monitor the performance, security, and overall operation of the Production Environment.
  • Roll Back: This phase allows for rolling back the changes made to the Production Environment in case any of the builds break or any product issues arise.

Role of Automation Testing in CI/CD

The whole idea of the CI/CD pipeline is based on implementing meaningful Automation. And clearly, Automation testing is at the core of CI CD, as it focuses on the application’s continuous building, testing, and delivery.

Quick test failure and detection, timely feedback to the developers, and fast resolution make CI/CD test automation a success. And thus, here is a list of all the different roles Automation testing plays in CI CD:

  • Automates redundant tasks and reduces the associated manual efforts
  • Provides quick and timely feedback
  • Identifies possible errors in the latest builds or application sprint in record low time.
  • Offers high test coverage with higher accuracy
  • Helps to generate multiple test results and ensures product consistency
  • Enables QA and developers to work together and track product development from scratch

Where do Automation Tests fit in CI/CD pipelines?

As mentioned in the above section, Automation testing is certainly at the center of CI/CD pipelines. Simply put, you cannot do CI/CD without test automation.

You must have noticed in the above sections that every stage (in CI or CD) has its own function. And the testing step consists of running automated scripts that check for build consistency and proper functions. You can perform multiple tests to ensure that your builds are error-free before moving them to the Production Environment.

Importance of CI CD Test Automation

The goal of CI/CD is to enable continuous development, testing, delivery, and deployment of the application. The idea is to fail fast and provide a quick resolution that can be easily rolled out for real-life use. Know here – more about Fail Fast Concept.

Types of Automated Testing that are used in CI CD Pipeline.

Here are some of the crucial tests that CI CD automation testing undertakes within itself:

Unit Testing

Developers write and run Unit tests as a part of the build phase. And many of the teams follow the Test-Driven Development (TDD) approach for this.

Integration Testing

After building and committing all the builds, QA executes Integration testing by combining and verifying all these different builds together.

Regression Testing

Once the application’s functionality and UI are complete, Regressing testing takes the front seat. It is the last verification stage before executing Acceptance testing for the users.

Performance and Load Testing

Performance checks for reliability, speed, and security of the application. Load testing verifies the application’s functions under stress or in real-life load conditions. Read about Performance Testing

Advantages of Implementing a CI/CD Pipeline

Implementing a successful CI/CD pipeline in an Agile or Kanban Development Process has several advantages, as mentioned below:

  1. Developers can check in their changes and get actionable feedback about build quality
  2. CI/CD ensures feedback after every check-in. This, in general, means a faster development process
  3. Faster deployment enables developers to provide any number of bug fixing in a minimum amount of time
  4. The version control system used with a CI/CD tool enables the developers to roll back any code check-in with ease
  5. You can only deploy on the customer’s end after ensuring that it does not break
  6. CI/CD test automation helps achieve better code coverage by reporting it after every test run

Above steps help developers quickly update the code to make it error-free and deployable and also help the company to ship better code faster. But all of this can only be beneficial in the long run if any overhead caused by any CI/CD pipeline component is resolved early on.

The most important feedback that the CI/CD pipeline provides is automated test results. You receive these outputs after execution of every developer checks in some new code in the form of a new feature or a bug fix. So to keep the feedback useful at all times, it is essential that the validity of these test cases and the quality of the feedback is always proper.

Are there Automated Tests that shouldn’t be included in the CI CD Pipelines?

When considering automation, it’s necessary to decide what to automate and what not to automate. Even if tests are automated, they may belong outside your CI/CD pipelines. 

For example, End-to-end tests with complex data requirements should be secured for execution in a proper test environment outside of a pipeline due to their complexity and time-consuming nature.

Or tests that take too much time for test execution might not belong to the CICD pipeline. In the end, to achieve effective results out of your automated tests in the CICD pipeline, you should have some parameters, and you should make sure that your tests help you achieve those parameters. What tests would then be included would depend on these parameters and the project specifications.

Some examples of tests that should not be a part of your CICD tests:

Mutation testing is an excellent way to check unit testing coverage and see what may have been missed. However, it’s a lengthy process and best done as part of a review process instead of in pipelines.

Load and stress testing is important for testing performance, but it should be done in something other than pipelines. A dedicated environment and specific conditions are necessary to stress test the limits of your application under test.

How Do you Find the Right CI CD Test Automation Tool?

Test automation is commonly necessary to achieve Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD). However, not all test automation tools are equally effective in enabling CI/CD.

The goal of CI/CD is to ensure quality and speed in an agile manner. Therefore, your test automation tool should save your time and help you be more effective with your automated tests.

Thus, look for features that:
1. Help you save time. For example easy to learn, implement and execute.
2. Improve the effectiveness of your test results. For example self healing and customizable reporting.

Ways To Enhance Robustness of CI CD Test Automation:

Below are the steps that a professional QA should take to keep the CI/CD pipeline robust at all times:

  1. Automation of the most important features and workflows is done first. The first step is automating the most crucial workflows and scenarios to serve as smoke testing for any build. Once this is in place, you must increase the automated test cases logically according to the priority of the test cases.
  2. The Automated test cases and their failure reports are concise and helpful. If a test case has a lot of steps, it may fail initially and not report subsequent failures, so for concise and accurate error report in minimum time, test cases should be short and should provide helpful errors/exceptions to help to debug.
  3. Any failure should receive treatment as soon as possible instead of simply commenting or skipping the test case. To keep the automation consistent and useful, any flaky test case should be receive immediate and timely care according to its priority.
  4. If any area is not automated, make sure it is stable. If, during automation, any area is left out, we need to ensure that this is not prone to errors.
  5. The Automation test suite should not take too long to run. To not defeat the purpose of quick feedback, there should always be a time limit for automation testing to keep in mind for how long the test(s) should run.

When more and more test cases are automated regularly, it is natural that the execution time for all the test cases will increase. In such scenarios, the test suites must be configured according to priority, and all the test cases should only be run before an actual release as part of a certification.

Another important part here is the infrastructure use; the machines used to run the test cases should be such that they can handle the load appropriately.

Testsigma supports running your test cases in parallel and helps significantly reduce the execution time!

CI CD Test Automation: Benefits

  1. The Automation test runs are stable and reliable. Flaky test runs waste more time than they save. So, whenever the test cases are designed, the stability and reliability of the test cases should always be given the utmost importance. Hence the quality of automation and automation test tool used becomes all the more important here.
  2. Cover as many test cases under automation as possible. Adding test cases to the automation test suite should be a practice from the time the software starts its design. You should further continue carrying this out whenever a new feature is added to keep the test cases up to date at all times.
  3. If the automation tool, like Testsigma is easy to use for a non-technical person, developers, QA, product managers, and clients can automate the test cases. This ensures that a feature is tested from all possible perspectives during an automation run.
  4. Keep the automation test suite up to date. Even if there is a small change in the product, the corresponding test case should always retain the updates to test for the new behaviour.
  5. Maintenance of such test cases becomes easier by tools like Testsigma that have AI as their core. With cross-browser testing and responsiveness testing gaining more and more importance, execution of test cases should be supported for all supported browsers and devices. Again, Testsigma provides the support for running your test cases on the cloud on multiple browsers and devices
  6. Reduce duplication of efforts. Test Cases design must be in such a way that if there is some piece of code or functionality that is run again and again, it is created as a stub and not duplicated.
  7. To maximize test and code coverage, start automation as soon as possible and keep adding to the test cases as and when new features are added.
  8. The test case status, either pass and failures, should be reported effectively for swift action. Testsigma integrates with most of the CI tools and sends a well-composed report for quick action.

Testsigma is undoubtedly one such tool that will help a professional QA keep the CI/CD pipeline robust. The NLP support for creating test cases enables all product stakeholders to add test cases.

Testsigma is the fastest yet reliable cloud+local based CI/CD setup and integrates with your preferred CI/CD tools.

The NLP support also promotes shift-left testing, as there is no need for the source code to start writing the test cases. Read more about this here. Testsigma also has an AI core that will help maintain your test cases with minimum effort. With a scalable test environment on the cloud supporting execution of devices on multiple browsers and devices, efficient and economic management of your CI/CD pipeline was never so easy!


The software world has moved on and adopted CI/CD after agile to continue with the delivery of top-notch products as test automation is gaining traction and becoming an absolute necessity in every software development and testing organization. CI stands for Continuous Integration, and CD refers to Continuous Delivery/Deployment, both of which aim at providing quick action to develop, test, deliver, and deploy the application. But these are simply not just the stages of CI CD; they are the major functions in CI/CD that are necessary for every way. This blog highlights the importance of CI CD test automation and how you can implement it in your business to perform better and deliver the best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is CI CD in automation testing?

CI CD in Automation testing stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery/Deployment. It is the method of frequently developing, testing, delivering, and deploying application features for quick bug resolution and overall feedback.

Is automated testing a part of CI CD?

Yes, automated testing is part of CI CD. It undertakes to validate the application (or builds) by making it go through different testing, such as Unit, Integration, Regression, Performance, and Load.

What is the QA role in CI CD?

The QA’s role in CI/CD is to validate the product’s functionality against user requirements to ensure that the application meets the necessary business goals.

Suggested Readings

CI CD Tools

Jenkins VS Travis

Circle CI VS Travis CI

Gitlab VS Jenkins

Devops VS CICD

Maven VS Jenkins

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