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 faced in automation testing by Agile teams:
What are the challenges in Automation Testing
Test Automation is by no means a new trend or practice. Many organizations have in fact been using automated tests effectively in their DevOps journey to see significant ROI benefits.
Effective test automation depends on a number of factors – communication and collaboration, tool selection, selecting the right KPIs and metrics, an appropriate test plan and strategy among others. these are just some of the common factors for test automation success.
Yet, as requirements evolve and are continuously integrated into the product’s final code, time is of essence. Frequent builds also decrease the stability of the code and it is necessary to address QA and test automation efficiently. Especially in Agile and DevOps projects, the functionality and UI change across Sprints. Automating QA is therefore complicated in most Agile organizations.
1. Ensuring Adequate Test Automation Coverage
When measuring test automation success, code coverage is one of the most popular metrics used. It measures the degree to which the source code is executed when a test suite runs. The higher the coverage, the less chances of unnoticed bugs creeping into production.
Since code is integrated continuously, there are chances that critical tests for a particular requirement are missed out. Unanticipated code changes can also lead to limited test coverage during automation.
One factor that can help ensure the right amount of coverage is the infrastructure. When applications are tested against multiple combinations of browsers and operating systems, test scripts need to run in parallel to run each test against the configuration in a justifiable time frame. The infrastructure must support the strategy of parallelization.
2. If you Automate Chaos, all you get is Faster Chaos
Whether manual or automated, a stable QA process is key to success. If your underlying QA strategy and process is chaotic, you are simply adding more chaos to the process.
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 teamwork, 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.
3. 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.
4. Getting started
One of the biggest test automation challenge is “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.
5. 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.
QMetry Automation Studio (QAS) offers scalable test automation that allows for easy transition from manual to automated testing. It unifies test automation for web, web services and mobile for Agile and DevOps teams to Shift left.