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9 Tips to Improve Test Automation Effectiveness & ROI

Tuesday March 7, 2017

9 Tips to Improve Test Automation Effectiveness & ROI

When it comes to testing, enterprises and QA managers often chose automated testing to speed up the release cycles, get rid of tedious tasks and enhance software quality. However, not all test automation projects deliver expected ROI and success. One of the reasons for this can be non-utilization of right test practices. Also, most of the time, we see testers aren’t aware of the correct procedure after implementing the test automation tool which results in reducing the test automation effectiveness.

If you are among the ones who are struggling to make the most of their test automation investments or looking to enhance test automation effectiveness and increase ROI? Here are the 9 tips that you should start following right away:

1. Decide What to Automate

First of all, you must start with identifying what needs to be automated since otherwise, it is difficult to achieve the desired output of the test automation project. Here, you should know that the things that work in a specific environment may not work in another environment. You must also consider various factors like application under test, environment, hardware dependencies, potential impacts and more while deciding what to automate.

You can also get started with the following things:

  • Tasks that are repetitive in nature
  • Features/functions that remain stable for the most part of the application lifecycle
  • Tests that require complicated calculations
  • Tasks that regularly require environment setups
  • Tests that are difficult to perform manually
  • Tasks that are more prone to bugs/errors

You can also utilize a risk-based testing approach to determine which test to automate based on the important business cases and risk scenarios.

2. Prioritize & Divide Tasks

Once you finalize what tests to automate, you can start prioritizing and dividing tests. Here, you can identify the outcome that you wish to achieve through test automation and accordingly plan the next actions. Further, you can club complicated tasks as per their priorities. Once you are done with identifying the priority tasks, start dividing the tasks in a way that meets the expected timeline. Also, it is important to understand that not all the team members have the same skills and experience. Therefore, it is important that you make a new plan, which can help you identify which tests are beneficial for automation.

3. Prepare Test Cases & Scenario Beforehand

It is a good practice to identify the test scenario to create test cases before jumping to test automation. Preparing test cases in advance help in identifying the test execution time and possible defects. It also helps identify other scenarios and workflow of the application that can be automated which you may quite possibly miss if you only focus on known test scenarios and workflows.

4. Identify the Process

Before plunging into full-fledged test automation, make sure you prepare the process of execution. This will help in allocating the right resources at different points of time and ascertain probable risks and action items beforehand. Identifying the test process will also help in finding the best methods to perform the task more effectively and efficiently.

5. Create Tests that Don’t Affect UI Changes

We usually create scripts and keyword-based tests for applications which often gets changed in terms of functional aspects along with the UI. In such cases, the test scripts may not work for the successive versions of the application. Therefore, it is advisable to create tests in a way that don’t affect the changes in the UI by identifying and locating properties and UI objects. Also, by providing unique names for the controls will help ensure that the tests remain stable and unaffected by UI changes to make your automated tests work smoothly without the need to make frequent changes.

6. Utilize Quality Test Data

It is also necessary to have quality test data in place for successful test automation. By quality, we mean that data size should be optimal and contain information and components relevant for application testing requirement. Also, data sets that are combined and separated into different categories like valid data, invalid data, boundary condition, etc. can be considered as quality data set. This data can be read from a database stored in XML, Excel or text file format for conducting data-driven testing. Also, make sure the data that is referred for testing is not obsolete and is updated from time-to-time to get accurate results.

7. Utilize Standardized Test Tools, Frameworks & Techniques

The key to solving most of the testing problems lies in utilizing standardized tools, frameworks and test techniques that are suitable for a particular type of application or test scenario. The techniques recommended by ISTQB such as Behavioral or Black-Box Testing, Structural such as White-Box Testing, State Transition Testing, Exploratory Testing, etc. can be applied for different testing requirements. Also, utilizing the right framework and tools for test automation, test management, bug tracking, reporting, and analytics can help in obtaining the desired output from the test automation project.

8. Don’t Automate Every Test

With an intent to achieve 100% coverage, we often try to automate each and every layer of an application and its components. However, since there can be millions of combinations of tests, automating each and every test result in increased costs and efforts. Moreover, while automating every task, the team might also lose the focus on important tests. Again, for certain complex scenario, it is quite possible that the tests require manual intervention in which case, automation cannot yield the expected result.

9. Review Tests Periodically

It is also important for you to review your test data and cases from time-to-time to identify their validity for tests. Reviewing tests periodically also helps identify unnecessary and outdated tests that are no longer relevant to the current test cycle which always helps in reducing the costs and maintenance efforts. Also, by reviewing tests, you can validate and verify the substance of tests which are likely to have a long-term effect on the test automation project.

Following the 9 tips as outlined above will help you get maximum ROI and benefit out of your test automation investment with quality output. It will also help you test faster, test more and enhance the effectiveness of your test automation program.

What’s your take on this? Are you following any of these or think we have missed out some important tips? Share your views in the comments.

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