What’s Ailing Your Test Automation?

Jasmine Chokshi
July 3, 2018

Enterprises have long adopted agile frameworks and test automation as they gravitate towards the DevOps practice. One of the key challenges to automating in a DevOps world is to find out what to automate and a clear triage process. Businesses find test automation crucial to achieve the level of code coverage they require to provide an optimal user experience. But often post implementation, they seem stuck in the second gear and wonder about the efficiency of their automation efforts.

Here are some reasons why your test automation practice could be slowing down:

Not using the best tools for the job

This is one of the most important decisions in your automation journey to maximize the value that automated testing brings. If you find that your automation efforts are not up to the mark, you need to re-evaluate the parameters for your project and the ‘fitness’ of your tool to accomplish these. Ranging from ease of adoption, support, script creation time, object recognition, framework support, continuous integration, scripting language to advanced reporting capabilities, there could be a number of features that can make or break the deal for you.

Too much too soon

Automation is a significant investment and it is often too tempting to go all in and automated a large portion of your deployment pipeline. Over-engineering in this manner will slow down the possibility of immediate gains and seeing value from your test automation. Build your automation incrementally and ideally run your automation tests in parallel until you are satisfied with the outcome, instead of integrating with your development pipeline.

Lack of a clear triage process

A defined triage process is vital to the success of your efforts. If you don’t have consistent documentation of your bugs and bug triage, then you will waste a lot of time and effort. To fast-track your triage process, help your dev teams with easy access to logs, screenshots and test result assets. Triage your automation test results just like bugs so that it allows you to look further into issues that are beyond pass/fail.

Unorganized test cases and framework

The aim of automation is to ultimately shorten the cycles and make things easier for development teams. It needs maintenance however. Without well-planned and well-maintained test cases, automation will be a drag and sub-optimal experience.

Update test cases consistently to address UI changes, browser/OS changes, automation library changes etc to stay on track. One must also factor in maintenance during framework construction. Complicated design patterns can lead to expensive, difficult and frequent maintenance efforts. Automation is necessary to achieve agile development. For automation to deliver true value and agility, you need to spend some time getting things right the first time.

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