Implementing a Test Automation Strategy That Works for You
Test automation is key to the success of any IT firm’s QA. The multitude of benefits it offers businesses is undeniable.
However, to get the most out of it and have it deliver the kind of QA results it is meant to, it is necessary to develop and design a test automation strategy that is the right fit for your business.
Here we take a look at how you can go about implementing a test automation strategy that is the right fit for you.
Define Scope of Automation
We know that generically the tasks that should be automated are repetitive ones, those prone to human error, ones that are manually impossible to do, etc.
However, defining the scope of your automation is about specifically identifying the particular areas of your application under testing that should be automated. Knowing what areas need to be automated will give you a clear idea of the types of testing, scripts, tools, and type of framework that will best suit your needs.
Summarily put, this will lay the groundwork for fleshing out the test automation strategy best for your business. Factors to look at when deciding which areas you automate include:
- multiple data set scenarios;
- key features of the project;
- common functionalities across the applications;
- technical feasibility;
- ability to use test-cases across multiple browser settings;
- the complexity of the cases.
Decide on Testing Approach
Which testing approach you take will depend on the nature of your project, your priorities, and what approach you have historically been using.
This is the stage where you firm up the level of testing you have planned, the roles and responsibilities of the relevant team members, and the various testing methods you plan to use together to get optimal results.
Some of the most commonly employed and valuable testing methods used are:
- unit testing, which tests individual unit functionality;
- regression testing, which involves verifying the functionality of the product after making any functional modifications to it. It directly affects your ROI;
- integration testing, which investigates whether all the components of the application under testing work well together;
- cross-browser testing, which makes sure your application is compatible with the various browsers/devices/ screen resolutions;
- smoke testing, which checks to make sure that the overall deployed build is functional once integrated with the application functions. A failed smoke test sends the product back for improvement and upgrade.
Select a Test Automation Framework
The test automation framework offers guidelines on how to write testing scripts and execute test cases. An automation framework helps a business carry out test scripting efficiently and effectively and facilitates proper utilization of resources where it is most needed.
There are several test automation frameworks to choose from:
- module testing framework: this framework divides the application into small sections/modules. A separate test is scripted for each individual module and these tests are then combined to carry out larger tests scripts to tests larger sections/modules at one time;
- library architecture framework: this framework builds on the module framework. Its divides the application, not into small modules, but on the grounds of commonality of functions and archives them in a library, which can be called upon as needed based on the functions required to be tested;
- data-driven testing framework: this framework helps separate the script logic from the testing data. Data is externally stored and fed into the script as required, facilitating convenient testing of multiple data sets;
- keyword-driven testing framework: this framework builds on the data driven framework. It not only keeps data separate from the scripting, but also creates a set of keywords associated with specific tests. The appearance of a keyword will automatically inform the tests that need to be run for that section of the application;
- hybrid testing framework: as its name suggests, this framework is a combination of any of the above-mentioned frameworks. It typically helps maximize the benefits of the frameworks used and minimize their cons.
Choose the Automation Tool to Use
The success of your test automation testing relies heavily on choosing the right automation tool.
To pick the right tool, it is essential you recognize the exact technology your application is based on and what are its testing requirements. This will help you know exactly what you want from your testing tool and help you narrow down on the ones that best suit your purpose.
Additionally, when choosing a tool, you must also be careful to select the one that supports the languages and testing environments that your testers are comfortable with. However, your focus must be to not just look for the supported platforms but also ease of use.
Many tools might offer support for platforms you want but have so many requirements and conditions that using them becomes difficult and tedious for testers.
Cross-platform testing is a must-have for tools, as most businesses want their applications compatible with all the options in the market. If you are unsure about the quality of a tool that seems compatible, check its popularity.
Popularity of a tool is evidence that its users have found it meeting their needs and requirements and it is offering the quality of service you are in need of.
You will have two broad categories to choose from when choosing a tool: Open source testing tools and commercial tools. While the former can be an attractive option for many, the latter is known to offer better support and resources.
Now that your framework is in place, you know what tests you are automating, and what tools you are using, it is time to write the test scripts and execute them.
Having a dedicated test automation team do the job is known to provide high quality results efficiently.
Be aware that sometimes having your existing team to do the job as a part-time activity can be overwhelming and demotivating for them, leading to poor test scripting and execution, which will seriously hurt the effectiveness of your test automation.
Test Automation Maintenance
Many may be under the illusion that once the scripts are underway and testing has begun, the test automation strategy has been effectively implemented. However, such is not the case.
To ensure continued effectiveness of the strategy, it is essential to provide ongoing test automation maintenance.
This means testing scripts need to be constantly reviewed and upgraded when needed and regression tests need to feature regularly when application functionalities are being modified in any way. The focus should be on minimal testing scripts with higher outcomes. Testing scripts should be clear and concise to maximize the accuracy and efficiency of your automated testing process.
These are just a few steps an IT firm may need to follow to develop effective test automation strategies for their business. But, each step requires a custom approach and is heavily contextual.
This means each business must look at its own structure, its philosophy, needs, budget, and nature of application under testing at every step of the way of devising and implementing a test automation strategy to ensure its success.