Essential Elements of Test Automation
Most of the organizations that follow agile and continuous delivery practices do so with one aim – to release software products faster and with better quality. But the major challenges that such organizations face are – Over dependence on manual test practices, an increased quality cost and increased time to market.
Though not all tests can be automated, one cannot rely completely on manual test practices anymore for fast-paced application delivery needs. Thus, an obvious solution is the shift towards Automation Testing where possible.
Not only just automation, smart test automation is what is needed to deliver quality software products faster. This can only be made possible with proper test automation strategies to increase test coverage faster at a reduced cost.
While we write scripts to test an application, Automated Software Testing is not just about programming the test actions. It is an ecosystem of various components.
In this article, we will discuss about these essential elements that are essential for the success of test automation:
- A well-trained test automation team
- Right tool for automated software testing
- A strong test automation framework
- Support for integration with needed tools
- Availability of realistic test environments and executions
- Support for proper reporting
Lets discuss these points in detail below:
1. A well-trained test automation team
Automation testing is a different approach. Here, scripts are written to automate test steps. This is in contrast to manual testing where tests are run manually by a human.
Good quality and good number of automated tests result in reduced quality costs with increased test coverage. But, achieving that result may take time because writing test script is a slow process. Thus, during the time automated tests are being written, testers may be needed to continue testing the application manually.
To keep the automated test creation time to a minimum, a dedicated team will be required for automation testing. This team should be able to quickly adapt to various technologies needed for writing the tests for example – Selenium for web or Appium for mobile applications.
This means, the automation testing team should have expertise in multiple technologies for multiple application types. If required, the team must be trained on the application, the tools and technologies to be used in Automation Testing.
2. Right tool for automated software testing
Choosing the right automated software testing tool might be the most crucial step for the success of your test automation process. The automation testing tool must be chosen such that:
- It meets technical expectations of the team (related to test creation and execution)
- It meets business requirements (should support automation of required workflows and needed application types)
- It should be within budget
Today’s business requirements demand support for different application types and not just one. There may be applications that are Web-based, mobile, desktop or API based.
Each application type would require different sets of tools and one tool that suffices every application type hardly exists.
The team should be familiar with the testing tools being used and should require only a short learning curve for beginners.
It would be a good idea also to consider the requirements of an upcoming project while selecting the tools to reduce extra cost inputs.
Here is also an article that might help you better: 10 Points to Help You Choose the Right Test Automation Tool
3. Strong test automation framework
A strong framework improves the test structuring, reusability, and maintenance of code. It also helps reduce the time and effort required to create and maintain Automated tests.
A framework is critical as it brings multiple tools like Test Management tools, Continuous Integration tools, Reporting tools, Collaboration tools and multiple resources together to make Test Automation effective.
There are different framework types available according to your development process like Linear, Module-based, Data Driven, Keyword Driven, Hybrid.
It is essential to have one solid framework that supports every application of your Project. Test development, Maintenance of test scripts and Execution efficiency are heavily dependent on the Test Automation Framework that you choose and is critical to the success of the Test Automation process.
4. Support for Integration with needed tools
Integrations with external tools make test automation complete. It is essential to view requirements, test results, identify and track bugs systematically.
Common integrations for automated software testing are integrations with bug tracking/reporting tools (say, Bugzilla or JIRA), test management tools like JIRA or ALM or continuous integration tools like Jenkins or TeamCity.
These integrations will make the Test Automation process complete and enable continuous testing. Without these, only a part of the whole testing process is merely achieved.
Some tool integrations that are important for test automation are:
i. Test Management Tool
Not every test case can be automated. Some tests have to remain Manual especially, to check usability. Even though the tests are automated, it is necessary to document the functionality that the automated test is supposed to test. Your automation tool may not support this beforehand.
For this, dummy manual test cases can be written in your Test Management tool and be automatically integrated into your Test Automation Framework or Automated Software Testing tool.
This brings together both Manual and Automation Test cases in a common platform to avoid redundant efforts and to know the test coverage across Manual and Automation Testing at any point of time.
ii. Bug Tracking Tool
A bug ignored at the initial stages would be more expensive to fix at a later stage, worse, when brought back from Production. The qualified failed tests should be collected and reported automatically into the Bug Tracking tool.
Continuous Integration help developers get actionable feedback for every change in the build by running automated tests with near zero interventions.
Each build committed by a developer is verified by running the right set of automated test cases at the right stage automatically and continuously to analyze possible business risks at a very early stage.
Additionally, integrations with Collaboration Tools like Email or Slack that involves the Management, Developers, Testers, end users or anyone who can contribute to the project would make the whole development lifecycle more transparent and Agile.
Anyone can suggest or point out changes, track progress and communicate better. A common platform would allow the sharing of execution results immediately for quick feedback.
5. Availability of realistic test environments and executions
Availability of realistic test environments is important to execute tests continuously. With growing number of end user devices, it is required to have enough realistic test environments for application testing.
Also, having multiple test environments will help run tests in parallel for faster feedback and for Cross OS, Cross Device, and Cross Browser testing.
6. Support for proper reporting
Proper reporting with charts and tables that are well explaining themselves give clear ideas on the test results. A detailed failure report as to what, when and why failed and how long it took to run is highly necessary for clear understanding and quick error correction.
If the reports are better complimented with screenshots and videos, it would be easier for people working at different levels of the project to understand better and take appropriate action.
These are just some of the basic Requirements to check before getting started with Automation Testing. Based on the process and the application types there may be multiple other things to consider.
It takes significant time and effort to set the Test Automation ecosystem but is highly essential in ensuring a successful Automated Software Testing process. The objective of automated software testing is to simplify as much of the testing effort as possible with minimum effort.
A right selection of automation tools, test processes, and the team makes automated software testing successful. Though it involves several requisites and huge initial investment to get started, automated software testing efforts would pay off as effective ROI gradually.
When all your test automation needs can be fulfilled by a single platform, it means better management opportunities with better results.
Testsigma is a cloud based test automation platform, that lets you automation for web, mobile and web services from single place anytime, anywhere. Because it is completely cloud based, it also means near zero initial time and efforts.
Get started on an easy and smart path to software test automation with Testsigma
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