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July 27, 2016

Test Automation

Testing has become an integral part of the development process today. Especially since most systems allow the user a lot flexibility on how to interact with the back-end. The number of permutations and combinations of user input and expected are significantly higher. This makes a formal testing discipline very important in an IT organization.

However as we move an AGILE model of delivery – Manual Testing may not be enough. It will either be too slow – or we many need to a lot of resources to ensure that Manual Testing can keep pace with the development – which is pumping out code for the user stories sprint after sprint. If Testing cannot keep up then the AGILE cycle will not complete – since all work streams need to work at the same pace. As such Manual Testing may not be enough for an AGILE delivery model.

A combination of Manual and Automation Testing however can be ideal for an AGILE methodology. While the developers are processing the user stories –the testers can script the manual test cases at the same time developing automation scripts as when the development artifacts are ready. With this there will be a very short time gap between dev complete and test complete. Once complete and executed – the automation scripts can then be part of a regression stack – which gets executed on every change. This will save a lot of time and effort when the team has to make changes to existing code based on user input.

Automation testing needs to be built on a very solid foundation. There are a lot of tools which can get the job done as far test automation is concerned. There are specific tools which are focused on Web, some focused specially on Mobile platforms. It is important to choose the right tool. And the right tool will be influenced by a lot factors such as – Cost, East of implementation, Versatility of the tool , Ability to integrate the tool with the existing infrastructure, Ease of management of Testing Artifacts etc..

The next thing to do after choosing the tool for Test Automation is to look at establishing a framework for Test automation , how will the scripting be done, how can the common actions be reused, how can we keep the upgrading the regressing stack, what kind of reporting tool/DB shall be used. If the framework is not established then it can lead to a lot of haphazard test automation done – without any way to consolidate and manage. This can actually lead to increased costs.

Last but not least – Test Automation needs to end up saving money for the organization. A good target is in less than 6 months of implementing a test automation framework – the overall testing costs need to be down by more than 20%. And within a year more than 50% of all regressing testing needs to be automated. If proper ROI evaluation for Test automation is not done – the organization may never know that problems exist and may end up losing money on the automation investment.