Every new piece of software, technique, or tool has some learning curve and takes some time to get used to, but the adoption effort—of which testing is a big part—is almost always worthwhile.
Test automation produces software that is of higher quality in the end and significantly enhances your processes while saving you time and money. However, you can’t just dive in and hope that the automation will give you the outcomes you desire. If you want your releases to go well, you must have a well-defined plan in place.
This article will guide you on how to create and execute an excellent test automation strategy that will ensure that your testing endeavors are entirely justified and that the caliber of your software reflects a well-considered strategy that allows you to maximize your product’s potential even before users begin using it.
Let’s talk about what happens if you don’t have a test automation strategy first. We already know a fair amount about what happens when test automation strategies are not implemented because the lack of them has been tested extensively in the real world.
One frequent mistake is failing to demonstrate the business benefits of implementing new test automation services or other solutions, like browser-based testing or performance testing, before moving forward with their implementation. Sure, that tech is awesome. Yes, there is a chance that this will benefit the company. However, you run a very high risk of the project being canceled—or not even approved—for lack of demonstrating ROI or potential ROI if you don’t take the time to tie that into real business value.
It’s very difficult to have a vision without a plan of action. Programs involving automation frequently change course. It might be necessary to incorporate a new application into your framework for automation, or you might even need to change the technology of the framework. When a problem arises, it’s very simple to decide to put off or abandon the project if you don’t know what your initial vision was. When you have a vision, you have a written process for evaluating any larger pivoting questions that arise and taking appropriate action.
You also run the risk of selecting the incorrect testing automation technology for your project in the absence of a clear test automation strategy—a phenomenon known as “technology efficiency loss.” The test automation technology you use must be compatible with the application you are developing. If you don’t take the time to put that in writing and develop a plan around it, you’ll probably find yourself attempting to force technology into a solution that isn’t appropriate for it.
Testing squeezes were meant to be eliminated by now with agile development processes, but as we all know, that hasn’t happened. Software development still frequently experiences testing squeezes, so if you want to prioritize what to cut first, you need to have a test automation strategy in place.
Which scripts ought to be discarded? Which test was the most crucial to conduct? What did the business value tie into? You’re left stumbling over what to cut and where to look if you don’t understand that or have something similar in the strategy. Frequently, you’ll just end up cutting everything, removing it all so you won’t have to worry about it later.
Now that you are aware of the necessity of a test automation strategy, let’s clarify what one is.
A test automation strategy is, in essence, a miniature version of your overall testing strategy. Your testing automation strategy will be developed using many of the same methods that you used to create and develop your overall testing strategy. Because you’re using many of the same data points to determine what needs to be automated, how to automate it, and which technology is most appropriate to use, your test automation strategy should therefore be on par with your other system and performance testing.
To put it briefly, a test automation strategy is integrated into your overall testing strategy and makes use of the same procedures and instruments to ascertain the user, tester, developer, and all related metrics, as well as who you are testing for.
You might still be puzzled as to what a test automation strategy’s actual goal is. What is the objective?
The main goal is to provide information about the risk, capabilities, and functionality while also developing a dependable, repeatable process for doing so.
It serves as a means of conveying your plans and objectives, too.
It’s also a conversation starter that occasionally serves as a launchpad for a fresh proof-of-concept or new technology that you can implement in your business.
Lastly, it’s an auditing tool that lets you review your plans and make comparisons between what was accomplished and what was anticipated.
Regarding the format, do not worry. It is not required to be a 70-page Word document. It could be an active document, like a mind map. Mind maps are a great tool for test automation techniques. To lead into the larger test automation strategy document that you develop over time, you can begin with concepts or rough sketches. Once more, though, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the format.
Now that you are aware of the benefits, uses, and appearance of test automation strategies, let’s move on to the actual procedures for implementing them.
Step 1: Identify the tests that have high business value.
Establishing what we refer to as the “high business value tests”—that is the flows that, if they ceased to function—is the first step in determining what should be tested first.
Think about Knight Capital Group, a trading company that lost $485 million and went from fully operational to bankrupt in 45 minutes as a result of one software book failing (a high business value test that was overlooked). To determine whether the solution you’re putting forth fits your critical scenarios, make sure to collaborate with your company to identify what your high business value tests are. This will also help you demonstrate true business value with your automation framework, which will be helpful during ROI discussions.
Understanding what to test first and last is essential to any test automation strategy. The method you choose to establish the priority of this testing automation should be based on risk. By calculating the business impact of each item you wish to test and adding it to the likelihood that it will fail, you can determine the risk, or priority, of each one.
The items on your priority list that have the greatest potential to impact business and the highest likelihood of failing should be ranked highest, while the items with the least potential to do so should be ranked lowest. Knowing what to cut first and the testing squeeze mentioned earlier will both benefit greatly from this.
You must comprehend how your entire environment will be impacted by your testing automation solution. Are you able to run this with the correct accounts? Do you have the appropriate access to the environment? Do you have all the libraries, APIs, and other components your testing automation solution might require to communicate with your applications? A solid working solution is essential, one that you can incorporate into your overall framework without complicating matters or leading to tests that are unstable or broken.
Data errors cause many test automation projects to fail. What if, instead of spending endless hours rewriting or repeating your tests, you could use a different script in your automation framework or pre-scripts to validate or load the data and guarantee the accuracy of the data from the beginning?
Every major framework iteration and release should involve a thorough analysis of your data handling, storage, and origin, as well as your retry logic and whether or not masking or de-identifying data is an issue.
Since many testers can now interact directly with Jenkins servers or other build-and-deploy tools, your testing automation strategy needs to account for that.
You must inquire:
- In what location is the code kept?
- In what way are you using it?
- Are the environments you’re using to run it safe?
- Are the open-source software and libraries you use safe to use?
For your test automation framework, you must be performing some sort of security scanning and have a procedure in place for doing so.
There is much to record regarding environmental conditions. Are specific tokens or VPNs required? Does one require a launch box? Who is in charge of that, how does it operate, and where does it reside? In what way are those systems patched? All of this information needs to be documented because it will be very helpful when it comes to establishing logins and onboarding new testers for your company. To put it briefly, you must always know where your code is running and ensure that it is thoroughly documented.
The ability to say things such as “I don’t care whether we have 20,000 or 50,000 test automation scripts, I know these are for my check-out, these are for my login, these are for smoke tests, etc.” will be possible if you can tag and logically group your tests.
Without those tags, you might find yourself having to spend a lot of time investigating the objectives of various tests and selecting which ones to run. To guarantee consistent tagging and frequent updates of the most popular tags, establish a tagging agreement upfront.
As you conduct more testing, you can begin to apply the same testing logic in other contexts to reduce testing time and resources and to create efficiencies. For instance, you probably don’t need three people to run the same test three times if you’re doing the same thing with unit testing, manual testing, and automation testing. Knowing your entire testing automation strategy inside and out, from the unit test to the UI test, will save you a ton of time.
Accept your DevOps and agile tools and put a lot of effort into your documentation. A living document that is updated and reviewed every sprint to ensure you’re staying true to your objectives is what your testing automation strategy should become.
To ensure the success of this process, embrace it and make use of cloud-based resources like GitHub. Having said that, not everything has to be recorded. Nonetheless, you ought to hold frequent check-ins and micro-strategy meetings.
Recall that the primary objective of your test automation strategy should be to concentrate on your communication and goals rather than your format. How are you going to provide value? What’s your overarching technology objective? What impact is it having on the individuals within your company and the surroundings?
Gaining the backing of your project managers, product owners, and business partners is also important because they will be your main source of support when the testing crunch hits. They will trust you to decide what should and shouldn’t be trimmed as long as they comprehend your plan.
Finally, since that’s ultimately what this is all about, don’t forget to use your testing automation strategy as a foundation for making the right technological investments and expanding your company through innovation. Development, originality, and the ability to move forward without going back.
Vishnu Narayan is a content writer who works at ThinkPalm Technologies. He is a passionate writer, a tech enthusiast, and an avid reader who tries to tour the globe with a heart that longs to see more sunsets than Netflix!