Designing a Test Automation Strategy: Key Components for Success

Kobiton, a mobile device testing platform, reports that over 37% of companies that participated in its survey had spent up to 49% of their QA budget on test automation. For 18.2% of these companies, this expenditure reached up to 75%. While this may seem like a substantial investment, it does not necessarily ensure cost-effectiveness if teams do not adopt an effective test automation strategy. If you are aiming for a high and fast ROI, a robust strategy is crucial. Read this article to learn more about an effective approach to automated testing.

Defining a test automation objective

Although it is clear that enterprises choose test automation to streamline the testing process in the first place, it is essential to define the testing goals more precisely. Without clear objectives, assessing the success of a test automation project becomes challenging.

Setting clear, measurable goals with a defined timeframe is crucial. Rather than a broad and abstract objective like β€œenhancing regression testing,” it is more effective to aim for something specific, for instance, β€œincreasing regression testing coverage by 30% within the next six months.”

Selecting a test automation tool

According to Katalon, a quality management platform, 26% of companies found selecting a test automation tool to be one of the most challenging parts of the endeavor.

With the ever-growing number of tools offering newer functionalities, choosing one with the potential for a satisfactory ROI in a specific business context is not straightforward.

Here are some key facts to consider about test automation tools that might help you make the right decision.

  1. All test automation tools require investment. Even if a tool is open-source and free from licensing costs, you will still need to invest in establishing and maintaining the test infrastructure.
  2. Tools that require less coding enable testers to use them more quickly, resulting in more savings for your company. At the same time, frameworks that require extensive coding are often more suitable for building a customizable test infrastructure tailored to your company’s specific needs.
  3. The scope of tasks covered by a test automation solution varies widely, from single-type testing like unit testing to multifunctional software like Executive Automats, which also supports performance testing and automated report generation.
  4. When choosing a test automation tool, it is useful to opt for features that further facilitate robust testing such as parallel execution, integration with version control, support for data-driven testing, browser compatibility, and platform independence.

Choosing tests for automation

Many companies aim for complete test coverage using test automation tools, but achieving this is virtually impossible, especially in the case of testing complex software suites. A strongΒ test automation strategyΒ requires careful test case selection.

One effective way to approach test selection is to automate tests that are repetitive, time-consuming, rule-based, and prone to manual errors.

Another approach prioritizes tests related to high-risk areas and critical functionalities. You can identify these components based on their impact on user experience, business operations, or security.

Additionally, you can employ strategies like the Test Automation Pyramid, which defines the optimal balance between unit testing, integration testing, and end-to-end testing in typical business scenarios.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that not all tests can be automated effectively. Make sure you have manual testers available if your project requires such types of assessment as exploratory testing, usability testing, user experience testing, or accessibility testing.

Test design and development

The quality and design of tests are crucial for the success of any automation project. Creating and maintaining tests are often the most time-consuming aspects and often require significant manual effort.

To reduce the time and resources needed for the development of test scripts, companies can make them modular and independent, focusing on testing specific features and functionalities while avoiding dependencies between test cases. These approaches increase the reusability of test cases, reducing the effort needed for maintenance and creating new tests.

Data-driven testing techniques, which utilize external data sources for test execution rather than embedding test data into scripts, are another effective way to enhance test reusability.

While these methods can simplify test maintenance, it is essential to implement a robust test maintenance routine as part of your test automation strategy. This ensures that tests remain up-to-date and are regularly optimized for improved efficiency.

Leveraging test automation capabilities

Companies transitioning to automated testing should update their overall testing approach to fully leverage the benefits of automation. For example, automated test execution can be scheduled during non-working hours, including nights and weekends, without human intervention.

Automation also facilitates the integration of tests into the CI/CD pipeline for frequent testing, essential for rapid feedback and continuous quality assurance. Additionally, automation simplifies running parallel test executions across multiple devices.

Automating test data generation provides testers with realistic and diverse datasets, essential for comprehensive testing.

Conclusion: powerful test automation strategy

Test automation alone cannot guarantee desired results without an effective test automation strategy. Understanding software testing requirements and automation capabilities is crucial for setting realistic and measurable goals and selecting the right test automation tool.

It is also important to recognize the limitations of test automation and prioritize test scenarios wisely. By developing independent and modular test scripts, companies can significantly increase their reusability and streamline future maintenance.

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