Test automation still creates a lot of debates. Known for its effectiveness, automated software testing can produce highly accurate results, stimulate product time-to-market, enhance the team’s overall efficiency, and optimize development costs in the long run. However, the only way to receive these benefits is to perform AT smartly.
What does ‘smartly’ imply in this context? Automation has its optimal point, and exceeding it can have an adverse influence on efficiency. The potential of test automation isn’t infinite, so it is essential to automate only what’s really important and know when to stop.
Automation coverage and the probable advantages range from product to product. In this article, we’ll explain the basics of smart automation to help you know this subject a little bit better.
Manual vs Automated Testing
We’ve discussed in some of the earlier blog posts that manual and automated testing shouldn’t be handled as opposites. One doesn’t substitute the other – they always go hand-in-hand. While automation guarantees faster execution and accurate outcomes, there are some areas where human data is crucial. The correct decision is to determine the balance of manual and automated activities that will serve a product. A team should be aware of two general mistakes when seeking this balance.
The Ambition to Automate Everything
A wish to automate as much as possible won’t do any good. Automating everything is not reasonable. As we’ve discussed before, it is not effective. Automation isn’t going to make the work simpler by default. It takes time to build an AT suit. Moreover, it needs maintenance in the future. If the effort doesn’t explain the potential benefits, it is smarter to go with manual testing.
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The Iconic Test Pyramid
The Software Testing Pyramid is a well-known principle that helps to pick the correct cases for automation. According to it, unit tests have the highest ROI as they help to prevent severe errors on the higher levels. Then come automated elements, integration, and API tests. GUI tests are at the head of the pyramid as highly impractical – twisted to maintain, with many false-negative outcomes, etc.
The Software Testing Pyramid is the alternative to the Ice-Cream Cone policy. It is another common practice with the opposite method. Only a small part of unit tests are automated, while GUI tests are automated warmly.
Unfortunately, neither of these models operates flawlessly. Of course, they are perfectly applicable in some cases but surely aren’t universal. In practice, you’ll require to estimate the range of automated tests against the functionality and see whether AT benefits you reach the set business goals. A reference to a geometric figure or some other shape is the least appropriate variable in this formula.
Achieving the Optimal Level of Automation
When it comes to automation, it appears that there are more questions than answers. And the next one is how to obtain the optimal level of automation? There are a few tips that help QA teams to determine this.
Cases, When Automation Is Reasonable
To select test cases for automation, it is important to consider how often you will run them, how much effort the automation process will need, and what supplies it will save.
When a team chooses test cases for automation, they if the potential options match the following standards:
- Belong to the stable functionality that won’t undergo modifications.
- Have clear pass/fail standards and results.
- Are time-consuming if done manually.
- Include large data sets or complicated input parameters
- Need testing in multiple systems and their combinations.
- Don’t need human input or creativity
- Will be repeated for an extended time in the future.
- The cost of automation makes sense.
As a rule, tests that are right to automate meet at least several of the abovementioned conditions.
Things That Can and Things That Should Be Automated
After a QA specialist determines the areas that can be automated, they require to decide what should be automated. Writing and maintenance of automated tests need time. If you end up with 50% of tests being useful, it implies you have wasted the rest 50% of the time on writing the rest. After that, you will require to wait until those tests finish to run. At the very best, automating too much will make the builds hard. If worst comes to worst, the automation efforts will transform into a logistical nightmare. So if automation is necessary, it is a good reason to go on with manual testing.
To discover the balance, decide what features are important for the viability of your software product. They apparently are going to make smoke or a regression testing suite, which is the first and most fit candidate for automation. If the checks are quicker and cheaper to run manually, do it manually. If there is a range of repetitive tasks, use autotests.
Careful Analysis of Previous Bugs
A QA team can get a better knowledge of what to automate by examining their previous interactions with a product. It makes sense to automate tasks where manual execution influences the speed or accuracy of performance. The same works for the bug-prone functionality, where bugs tend to pop up after every build. The experience of testing similar products can also appear in handy.
Go Beyond Tech Knowledge
Another way to discover the core business-critical functionality is to consider it with stakeholders. Developers, QA engineers, and stakeholders can have various priorities when it comes to an end-product, considering entirely different features as the most significant. Therefore, tech specialists can find out something unexpected and consider the areas for automation.
To Sum Up
Too much of anything is too much. If you choose to go for automation, don’t overdo it. As you’ve just seen, there is a limit to the advantages automated testing can deliver. Here are some points to keep in mind:
- The plan to automate everything is not viable. The resources employed on it overweigh the potential benefits.
- The Test Pyramid may look like a perfect formula, but it doesn’t always operate in practice.
- A QA team requires to determine what areas can be automated and then decide what should be.
- There are two methods to picking the target for automation – analyzing your past bugs and target defect-prone functionality or incorporating the features stakeholders think business-critical.
If you don’t have much experience with test automation, think QA outsourcing. It may be more effective than hiring an in-house Test Automation Engineer. Specialists from a software testing company will analyze your product and provide a strategy that will work best, becoming a full-fledged extension of your team.
At TestUnity, we strive for the highest quality in every project, and our professional QA specialists are ready to ensure it. Contact us if you’re looking for a dedicated team to enhance your product’s quality.
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