Modern delivery practises from Agile to DevOps to Continuous Delivery have changed the way software is being delivered. Software releases are made on a daily basis and the testing process should begin as early as the requirements specification and planning phase to keep up.
Is this release of software in shorter time cycle a boon or a bane?
Frequent, shorter software releases can reduce the chances of risk and increase business value. As the builds are tested every time before release, there is better quality and better test coverage with less defects.
Any change in the build can be made easily, especially when they are not interdependent.
However, this short release cycle does leave a pressure on the team to develop and test faster. And, without the right testing approach, it will be difficult to meet the continuous delivery standards.
As we understand, Manual Testing is not the best testing approach to match the pace of Agile development and Continuous Delivery. In such short cycles it is difficult to test every feature of the application, manually.
Manual Testing has been the go-to approach to testing since a long time but it is a tedious process when the test cycles are repeated frequently.
Let’s discuss some of the major challenges in manually testing an application:
Gap between dev complete and test complete
The most critical tail back in ensuring the continuous delivery of software is caused by a delay to start.
Testing of an application that starts when development completes, impacts the continuous delivery cycle. Inadequate traditional test practises and testing tools adopted compounds to this.
It is never enough to emphasize on the fact that Testing should be involved at the initial stages of the SDLC best, in parallel with development. Immediate feedback and an increased collaboration will enhance the quality of the software.
Increased Cost, Time and Resources
The manual testing team must comprise a group of enduring testers.
The manual testing approach can be quite repetitive and the testers need to work under pressure to meet the delivery time. This requires the participation of a large number of manual testers scrutinizing every feature of the application on each device it is intended to run with a great deal of attention.
This process can be time consuming with a large number of test cases being tested by hand.
The cost involved in testing a software manually increases with increasing time and application size.
To ensure that the continuous delivery needs of a large application is met, a huge number of manual testers and resources would be required.
Difficult to cope with changes
Manual Testing is not the best option for applications that are intended for long term. Such applications may undergo a lot of updates and enhancements continuously. Having to check all of these changes on every device, repeatedly for the same and different release each time is tedious and time consuming.
With the variety of device configurations available now, it would be rather difficult to check the working on each of these while delivering software continuously.
Errors due to mistakes
We are bound to make mistakes and there’s no denying that.
An error left unnoticed can escape into further stages and impact the quality of the application. The accuracy of scripted test results is more in less time compared to Manual testing.
As testers repeat the same tests many times there is a good chance of missing out a few things. There wouldn’t be enough time to fix these errors during continuous software delivery.
Lack of real or close to real Test Environments
Another important issue is with test environments.
It is necessary to ensure that the actual test environment is provided to testers to cover all possible errors that may occur at the user’s end.
Manual Testers need to manually check for compatibility and other possible errors in all the device/OS/browser combinations. Considering the multitude of device configurations and orientations available today, this is a rather difficult and time-consuming task. Also, setting up these test environments manually for each tester is not easy.
Less Test Coverage
Errors that appear on a single platform can only be checked at a time. Quite often, manual testers may miss out on a few test cases and this can affect the overall coverage of the tests.
There is a need for cross-functional collaborative teams that shares process updates as testing progresses. An agile team must ensure the participation of multiple testers across teams at any time. With huge test cases that needs to be manually tested, there may not be enough time for collaboration efforts across different teams.
Immediate feedback will help the developers make quick error fixes and save time. Practising Manual Testing in Agile and Continuous Delivery model is practically infeasible.
Manual Testing can be a bottleneck which requires tremendous testing effort. To ensure faster, continuous delivery of quality software with lesser ROI payback time, Manual Testing is not enough.
And hence Test Automation.
Today, the software industry has accepted the fact that Test Automation is a better replacement for Manual Testing.
Functional Testers manually go through every feature of the application on each device/OS/ browsers, try out all possible input combinations, compare and document the outcome with the expected one, manually, each time.
This is rather time consuming.
It is hardly the case that a set of programmed (automated) scripts miss out on some tests. Test Automation scripts need only be written once and can be executed any number of times repeatedly.
Test Automation is best suited for testing such reusable units, especially when the application undergoes a lot of updates and enhancements and retesting is required. Hence, it is best suited to match the modern Agile and Continuous Delivery practices.
However, a sudden shift towards Test Automation can be a bit overwhelming for functional testers.
The Test Automation tool being adopted should allow for a smooth transition from Manual Testing to Test Automation.
Why is there a retreat to begin Test Automation?
1. The major reason would be the need for programming skills.
Test Automation demands programming knowledge and depending on the application, would require expertise in multiple languages and technologies.
A test automation tool like Testsigma is easy for just anyone.
It allows Manual testers to take charge of test automation with no additional programming knowledge. The test scripts are developed using simple natural language and involves no complex coding.
2. Test Automation demands the usage of several tools
To automate each application type, different sets of tools might be required. Integrations with Bug tracking and Reporting tools, Continuous Integration (CI)/Continuous Delivery (CD) tools, Test Management tools, etc are all necessary to automate tests to enable Continuous Delivery.
One tool that suffices every application type hardly exist.
It is required to set up all of these tools before getting started. The time and cost involved to set up and ramp up the test automation process is huge.
Testsigma provides all the essential components and necessary integrations with external tools to ensure Continuous Delivery.
3. Insufficient test reports
The Test Automation tool should provide a detailed report on the test runs, more than just Passed/Failed for better troubleshooting.
A share detailed failure report with cross-links to rectify the errors is essential.
The actionable results provided by Testsigma’s AI strategy indicates what when and why failed and identifies other tests which may as well be affected and tries auto-correcting these affected automated tests.
Thus, potential failures can be identified upfront and a lot of effort, execution time and cost is saved.
4. Gradual ROI
As the demand to continuously deliver applications faster increases, one may need to do effective planning to create test runs faster and achieve better ROI.
It involves several requisites and a huge initial investment to get started. However, Test Automation efforts in Continuous Delivery would pay off as effective ROI, but only gradually due to huge initial time, high set up resource cost and need for continuous maintenance.
Testsigma saves time and maintenance efforts to create reliable tests with a well-managed test data. There are no requisites to get started and there’s no long wait needed to start seeing ROI.
The objective of Test Automation is to simplify testing as much as possible with minimum effort.
A platform that incorporates all the essential elements of test automation into one will make the Test Automation process in Continuous Delivery effective and affordable.
Such is Testsigma, the Test Automation tool on cloud with an in-built ecosystem of all the essential requisites to get started with Testing right away. Testsigma allows for the testing of Web, Mobile, and Web services anytime, anywhere while ensuring faster continuous delivery of the application into the market with no compromise in Quality.