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Automate testing to speed up releases – maximize quality with optimum efforts

Ashish Katrekar
June 25, 2021
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According to World Quality Report 2020-21,

  • 50% reported difficulty in aligning appropriate tools for automated testing as the most common challenge.
  • This can be explained from the fact that – 42% of respondents reported a lack of professional test expertise in agile teams. Which means that lack of skills leads to uncertainty about identifying and applying the right tools.
  • Test Automation is being given higher priority, to find an immediate answer to the perennial need to speed up the software development lifecycle and to lower costs.

If you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur, you already know the importance of testing and test automation. With so many players in the market, you need to push your app or newer versions at a shorter time. This has resulted in faster releases becoming the new normal for entrepreneurs. To keep up with the faster release cycles, companies need to adopt DevOps – CI/CD pipeline approach. This entails testing being considered in this pipeline. But the question is how you can implement testing in this pipeline? The answer lies in continuous testing supported by test automation.

Here are a few strategies and tips to make the process faster and efficient.

1. Parallel test execution can be a gamechanger

Running your tests in multiple sessions can significantly help in reducing the execution time. For example, in QMetry Automation Studio, this option can be used when the test cases have to be used independently without any sequence to be followed. This option will execute all the test cases in parallel mode at the same time which saves test suite execution time.

2. Testing on remote machines

Another way to reduce the overall testing time is to segregate test execution on different machines in a remote execution setup. Segregate the test cases so that no test groups should wait for the test execution of other groups aligned on different remote machines.

Command Line Interface is one such technique used by engineers to allow you to execute your automation tests in headless testing mode which means that your test execution runs without opening and performing automated operations in browser. CLI mode also known as browser less automation works by using the command line mode to execute scripts, thus eliminating the need for automation studio to trigger execution.

You can also schedule recurring execution of projects through Command Line Interface.

This feature particularly saves a lot of time during execution as browsers do not open or perform any actions. In your CI/CD pipeline, integrate with a remote machine which triggers automation through command line and your test executions will work on their own.

3. Short valuable test suites are useful

Another strategy that you can try to reduce the time for testing is to choose the essential tests and segregate them in a smaller suite that is faster. Although they may be very basic, these are important to qualify your app for further testing. If it fails in this gross level testing, there is no point in proceeding further. Thus, it optimizes the time.

Using tags can be a useful tactic to group and execute set of test cases. For example, consider a scenario where the test suite has different test types. Instead of adding all the test scenarios in a single test suite or multiple test suites, you can use tags and perform “grouping” test methods. This will help in segregating the test scenarios in different test categories and save time.

4. Are you smartly using the wait time?

If a test keeps failing because the backend didn’t respond on time, the common practice is to put a sleep time. However, this creates a compounding effect in the test time. Instead, use conditional wait so that your test doesn’t need to wait unnecessarily.

5. Are you using a test harness?

As we know, a test harness helps to automate the testing process. The studs, drivers, and other tools present help carry out a test case accurately. The test engine and the test script repository of a test harness help in automation testing by offering the necessary information needed to compile and run the test. Additionally, it also generates reports after test execution, thus facilitating a comparison between the actual result and the expected result. It also helps testers to manage complex conditions that might be difficult to simulate manually.

Other factors to keep in mind

Stay organized

Staying organized is one of the underrated tips when it comes to automating testing and speeding up releases. While putting your software through various test cases, perhaps the last thing that comes to your mind is keeping it organized. However, efficient test management is a critical skill that a tester should have. Keeping all your data and automation reports organized will help you in ready reckon in the future if you need to re-run the test in a shorter time.

Communication is the key

Finally, your team is the most powerful tool that you have. Maintain an open and transparent communication system so that everyone is on the same page. Remember, a communication gap will only delay your process.

These are some of the key strategies that you may want to implement for speeding your releases. However, each team environment is different, and thus, implementation will be different based on your test framework.

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