Test Automation is a key requirement in the world of DevOps and Agile testing. And yet anyone who has attempted test automation will tell you that it’s not a walk in the park. The difference between automated testing and effective automated testing is a significant one. It is indeed difficult for teams starting this journey to adopt it successfully and leverage its full potential. Here are some of the common challenges that teams face:
Test Automation Challenges
Communication and collaboration
For any new practice, tool or framework, user adoption and collaboration are the biggest challenges. Since test automation requires even more planning, strategizing, communication and team work, team members need to be on the same page and put in a certain degree of effort to make it happen.
Resolving communication challenges: Management buy-in is important to establish clear set of expectations for all team members. Create clear line of communications and points of contact for each process. Foster a culture that promotes transparency and active involvement of employees.
Selecting the Right Tools
With so many acclaimed and comprehensive test automation tools available, it is a paradox of choice. It is difficult to know what will work best for your requirements.
“54% of IT leaders indicate that their organizations lack suitable tools for automation while provisioning test environments to their teams.” -World Quality Report 2014-2015
Resolving the choice paralysis: Ask questions, opt for product evaluation, check out reviews and support extended by tool vendors. There are many online forums where you can put across your doubts and get some direction. Do a cost versus benefits analysis to see if it measures up to your expected ROI.
Where do you start automating and how? The tools don’t have answers on how to get started. Since you can’t automate all your tests, a strategy and test plan are required.
One approach is to start small and identify a set of test cases and validations for functional scenarios. Begin with a Proof of Concept phase with the aim of creating early automation assets. Once you are satisfied you can build on from here.
Resolving the test approach: Experts recommend two popular approaches to solve the where to begin dilemma: Risk-based testing or Test Automation Pyramid. Risk-based testing prioritizes high-risk test elements first based on financial risk or probability of failure and structures accordingly. Whereas the Test Automation Pyramid has unit tests at the base level, API/integration/component tests at the middle level and last layer is that of UI tests.
Setting measurable and realistic goals
After making a significant investment in test automation you expect it to work like a magic bullet. Remember the human element is also equally important. And the true value of tests lies in the information it provides and the decisions you make based on the data.
Resolving the expectations and KPIs: Make sure the development and testing teams, management and other stakeholders agree to the desired outcomes and KPIs of your automation plan.
Most companies recognize the benefits of Test Automation. Yet they are thrown by the complexity, challenges and initial investment cost to get started. There are many pieces to the puzzle, namely people, processes, culture and technology. With the right approach you can set up a smart test automation suite that has a huge long-term payback.