Test Automation Best Practices


Test automation’s value to the QA function of IT businesses is undeniable. The key advantages it offers of efficient, cost-effective, and reliable results, facilitating frequent innovation make it extremely valuable to IT firms in their pursuit of surviving and thriving in the intensely competitive markets of today.

However, to ensure that you fully reap the rewards of this strategy, it is important to implement it right and adopt the best practices in executing it. There are several test automation best practices that can ensure your business gets the most out of your test automation. We take a look at some of them:

Choose the Right Tests to Automate

This is key for automation to deliver quality results. We know that not every test should be automated. Choosing the right tests to automate can play a huge role in making your test automation strategy a successful one.

Typically, repetitive tasks, those prone to human error, the ones that are manually impossible to do, or ones with multiple sets of data are most suited for automation.

Selecting the right tasks to automate helps maximize utilization of resources, while also optimizing the efficiency and accuracy of the quality assurance process.

Automate Tests Run on Multiple Platforms

Many tests are run across several different hardware and software platforms and search engines. These tests are best done via automation as it will help significantly cut down the time and cost invested in them.

Test Early and Frequently

It is best to get automated testing involved early in the process of application development. The earlier that testing is done, the sooner the various bugs can be detected.

Early detection helps fix the problem in the starting phases of the development process, which reduces the cost of fixing the bugs.

Additionally, it is important to run the automated tests as frequently as possible. The more frequently the tests are run the more glitches can be identified and fixed, thus ensuring higher quality results.

Related post: Innovation in Retail: a Test Automation Story

Integrate Test Automation with Continuous Integration

Continuous integration is a valuable strategy for businesses in the current economy.

Integrating test automation into it facilitates continuous testing, which shortens the feedback cycle. A shorter feedback cycle helps develop quality software quicker, helping you to introduce new products much more frequently into the market.

Maintain Accuracy and Consistency of Automated Tests

Even automated tests run the risk of becoming outdated, in which case they will fail to provide consistently reliable testing.

Therefore, it is important to regularly review your automated tests, and upgrade them if required, so they offer consistency in their results.

Additionally, a review of tests can help identify the weak ones that are giving false positives too often or failing to detect bugs regularly. This can allow the team to fix the problems and ensure improved accuracy of the automated tests.

Maximize Test Coverage

One benefit test automation is said to offer over manual testing is that it offers a much higher coverage when testing due to its efficiency.

It is important to make sure that you do your best to achieve the maximum test coverage possible to optimize the rewards gained from testing over a much larger sample such as a much clearer picture and much more accurate and reliable results.

Design Comprehensive Automated Testing Solutions Where Possible

While we know that not everything can be automated, we must also acknowledge that a lot of inter-connected functions can sometimes be automated to great effect.

It is important that when such scenarios exist, you work to create comprehensive automation solutions because they will offer the highest levels of productivity and quality combined.

It is also important to note that in some testing processes the ideal approach is the combined use of manual and automated testing. In these cases too, it is important to develop a well-coordinated solution helping connect the manual testing with the automated testing flawlessly to maximize efficiency and quality of the process.

Design Re-Usable Test Suits Where Possible

One key advantage of test automation is the facility it provides of being able to use the same test suite for various different tests, cutting down on the time and cost invested in the planning of new tests every time.

To be able to fully reap the rewards that re-usable codes offer, make it a point to try and design re-usable test suits wherever possible. This will help divert freed up resources where they can be better utilized.

Ensure Collective Ownership for Test Automation

Businesses tend to make the error of hiring a single engineer for the job of automated testing.

However, for automated testing to work as an effective component of QA, it is essential that the entire QA team is involved in the process of implementing test automation.

For test automation to be seamlessly integrated into the various QA processes, it is only logical that everyone involved in QA is knowledgeable about it and ensures its effective implementation.

Develop UI-Resistant Automated Tests Where Possible

If your automated tests are affected by changes to your UI then you will find your test automation plans changing very often in the development phase particularly, when the UI design will see frequent changes.

This can be frustrating and time-consuming and has the potential to adversely affect the accuracy of your results. Therefore, one good practice to adopt is to develop UI-resistant tests so changes to them do not affect your test results.

Avoid GUI Testing Where Alternatives Are Available

GUI testing is one of the more complex and time-consuming tests. So, if there is ever a chance that you can achieve your goal with an alternate means such as line input and the like, then it is best to use that.

Avoiding GUI automation can help reduce feedback cycles and shorten product development time, both of which can offer key competitive advantages to you against your competitors.

While these are some of the test automation best practices that can help you get the most out of your test automation strategy, there are many others as well.

Finally, it is important to remember that managing test automation is like any other software development, which means, to be effective, it needs to be planned out thoroughly, designed competently, implemented effectively, and maintained, reviewed, and upgraded regularly.

What Makes Test Automation Key to Continuous Testing

One key best practice in the software market is developing a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. And, to do so effectively you need to have continuous testing integrated into the system of CI/CD itself.

The only way to have an effective continuous testing process in place is to have automated processes in place where possible. Automated testing allows you to detect bugs early, allowing for a quicker fix and lesser lead time for the product to hit the market. Additionally, the extensive features of automated testing tools mean reduced testing efforts required, which allows the testing team to focus more on the continuous development side.

Test automation’s value in the quality assurance department cannot be denied. However, its rewards can only be fully reaped if it is done the right way. This involves taking several informed decisions when integrating automation into your testing strategy.

Test automation is fast becoming a deeply embedded and pervasive component of quality assurance systems in software companies. However, there may be some still on the fence or simply unaware of how much automation to use, whether it truly is as beneficial as it is hyped to be, and if the benefits outweigh the cons of test automation. To automate or not automate? This is the question we intend to answer in this article.

Test automation helps produce higher quality, more cost-effective software at a much faster pace, It is these advantages that have made automation such a critical component of continuous testing- a process considered central to the success of software businesses today.

Perhaps the more prudent question is how much to automate? Because it is important to remember that, while automation has become the dominant component of testing, there are still some areas that can only be manually tested or where manual testing is likely to give better results.