Successful test automation implementation: how to drive product value through automated testing?
Automated software testing is a key tool used in advanced development and product delivery practices. By successfully utilizing and adopting automated testing, you can boost productivity and work processes throughout the entire software delivery lifecycle.
If you’re trying to create efficiencies to deliver upon your strategic business objectives, the implementation of QA automation can be your secret weapon. However, that can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll walk you through critical steps in the process of creating a test automation framework that works for your organization.
What’s the state of test automation in 2021?
While the role of quality assurance (QA) is evolving and growing within enterprise software development, the practice is also becoming increasingly complex. The World Quality Report 2020-2021 indicates that quality assurance is now more integrated into development, but it also requires more specific technical skills to perform successfully. Enterprises have been forced to fast-track digital transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus accelerating the role of automation in QA processes.
Source: World Quality Report 2020-2021
The global QA automation market is growing, covering not only development but also DevOps and AI operations. Due to cybersecurity issues and data protection requirements, companies are introducing more complex devices, applications, and software into their ecosystems. The progress of innovation cannot be stopped, and the demand for automation will only grow, so it’s better to be prepared.
Below, you’ll find five key steps to successfully implementing test automation. But first, let’s quickly define what test automation is. If you’re already familiar with the practice, feel free to scroll through to the next section.
What is automated testing implementation?
Automated testing implementation is the focused strategy of completing coherent steps of developing an automation framework to meet objectives, manage processes easily, and increase the benefits of testing.
Complex projects in industries such as e-commerce, FinTech, MedTech, banking, and insurance involve checking the same clusters repeatedly. This is where automation engagement can provide significant benefits to businesses.
What are the benefits of test automation?
The main benefits of automated testing are:
The initial adoption of test automation naturally involves set-up costs. However, once test scripts are ready, repetitive tests can run 24/7 without additional cost. From a long-term perspective, the return on investment from fully-automated testing will be quicker. That said, it’s impossible to deny that there are still cases when it’s better to use manual testing alone. With automated testing implemented, manual testers are elevated to being advisors rather than people who perform mundane tasks.
2. Time efficiency
Automated tests run faster and can be repeated as many times as needed. As a result, the speed of development is increased, reducing the waiting time in your testing process. So, thanks to test automation, you’ll get:
- More frequent releases and updates
- Shorter development cycles
- Faster time-to-market delivery
3. Productivity boost
Automated tests require less supervision and specialist involvement. Software and QA engineers can focus on ad hoc tasks, leaving routine testing to automation. Tests can be run at night so that results are available in the morning, saving time and creating a more continuous delivery cycle. Delivering iterations for your product faster makes updating your app or developing new features more efficient.
4. Error-minimized releases
Minimized intervention by engineers in the testing process makes the result more accurate and ensures fewer errors. Manual testing is still needed at some stages of releasing products, but automation brings more precision and eliminates risks and failures.
5. High-quality performance
Automation allows you to test various platforms, operational systems, or devices at the same time. With automated testing, multiple tests can be run simultaneously to ensure the high-quality performance of the software or application being tested. Using test automation also helps you to create automated test cases and save time for more productive work.
6. Accelerated updates
Faster test execution brings immediate feedback from the delivery team, speeding up the failure fix and time to market. It allows you to bring updates to your product more quickly and regularly. As a result, you’ll see a better user experience and higher customer satisfaction, and the development team will be more responsive.
7. DevOps and CI/CD integration
DevOps practices are based on automated testing implementation. Test automation is a critical element in the CI/CD pipeline to perform continuous testing. Using continuous testing can help you to overcome bottlenecks in your delivery process and enhance the benefits of test automation.
Five steps to implement automation testing
If you have decided to implement test automation into your software development processes, you should consider that digital innovation is different for each organization. An approach that works for one company can be challenging to implement in another. So, you have to check the readiness of your system for test automation implementation first.
You can begin by reviewing our Test Automation Readiness Checklist to identify strategic gaps you need to fix.
It also helps to be aware of common implementation mistakes and how to avoid them, and our five-step guide will help you to perform better and plan your automated testing implementation. By following our guide, you’ll develop a better understanding of the need for automation in your organization and get the answers you need regarding how to implement test automation.
Now that you’re ready to go, here are five steps to start:
1. Define the scope
You need to identify the starting point of your automation journey. Analyze your existing test cases and define whether they need automation or whether they would be better suited to manual testing. Any repetitive activities can be automated, while more complex tasks may need a more detailed look from a QA analyst. Think strategically to:
- Prioritize test cases that provide value
- Extract objectives from the tests you are planning to keep
- Classify test objectives into different test types (UI- tests, data validation, etc.)
- Define the most efficient approach
2. Develop your approach to the automation testing life cycle
The approach you use should correspond with your business needs and highest-priority goals. The effectiveness of your test automation directly depends on the approach you choose. Your automated testing should be directed at the functionality of the feature being tested. It’s best to use an agile approach rather than a waterfall. Iterative operations can help to make the implementation a part of the development process.
Source: Automation Testing Guide
3. Design your backlog
It is important to keep your test implementation backlog separate from your application backlog. By doing so, the maintenance subtasks remain separated, and you can track progress more easily.
Then, write a detailed implementation plan including:
- The scope of work
- Your objectives and goals
- How you will estimate and measure progress
- The team and required resources
- The responsibilities of each team member
4. Specify the measurement of progress
When choosing metrics that should be measured, consider their practical value to the development process. The automation implementation progress shouldn’t count the percentage of automated tests, as it brings zero practical value. Actual measurements should refer to the original goals of automation and assess the impact and efficiency of automating the tests.
Here’s a list of metrics that you might consider:
- Irrelevant test failure
- Frequency of execution
- Total execution time
5. Implement the strategy
After drafting your roadmap and defining the basic principles of the implementation strategy, it’s time to start. Don’t be afraid to integrate automation into your current development cycle. The process of implementing new technologies should take place on an ongoing basis. The efficiency of test automation also lies in continuous improvement.
The primary metrics of sustainable and productive test automation include:
- Continuous value assessment to ensure the effectiveness of automated tests
- Immediate removal of broken tests
- Implementing new approaches and technologies when they come to market
- Refactoring and testing to extract redundancy and boost sustainability
Automated testing implementation is a complex process that involves multiple layers. A successful result depends on the goals and values you define and the business outcomes you want to achieve. Though it may seem intimidating at first, automation brings wider benefits like increased collaboration, a shortened delivery cycle, and enhanced productivity. The test automation journey can be challenging to master, and for some organizations, it can be beneficial to have an experienced partner to help you along the way.
At Forte Group, we have software testing experts with twenty-five years of experience, who have completed more than 300 test automation projects. We provide guidance based on successful lessons learned by enterprises and large companies. Contact us and we’ll help you with assessment, strategy building, and implementation.