How to Develop an Effective Test Automation Strategy
As the name suggests, test automation is all about ‘automating’ tests i.e., eliminating the involvement of people in testing processes; or better to say, reducing the instances of manual testing.
Unit testing, regression testing, smoke testing, integration testing and functional testing are some of the regular tests for which automation is done.
In this article, we will walk you through the process of building a strategy for test automation, but before that, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of test automation.
The Need for Test Automation
Test automation is synonymous with speed, quality and productivity. It vastly increases test coverage and assures remarkable accuracy even for highly complex features. Bugs and other bottlenecks can be easily detected and troubleshooted, thus ensuring neat, clean and error-free code.
All in all, automated testing enables continuous and faster feedback cycles thereby, reducing the time-to-market of the product.
How to Do It?
It’s a fact that many software projects do not have a proper test automation strategy in place. That’s why, such projects run into troubled waters when bugs crop up at the most unexpected stages of the software lifecycle.
Hence, it’s imperative to develop a foolproof test automation strategy to be on the safer side. Below are the key steps that can be implemented.
Select Tests to Automate
You don’t have to apply automation to each and every single test; first, be clear about your goals and accordingly, identify those tests that need to be automated. Usually, the rule of thumb is to automate tests that are mundane, highly repetitive and time-consuming.
Automation should be done for high-risk test cases, tests handling large data sets, tests for checking stable functionalities, tests for examining the app on multiple configurations, performance testing, etc.
Define the Testing Approach
A solid testing approach must clearly define when to develop and run automated tests in a sprint and also how to design and review the test cases. For instance, keyword-based test cases can be developed and run before the sprint.
Also, roles and responsibilities must be properly assigned to the testing team members so that maximum value can be derived from automation.
Choose Test Automation Tools
Picking the right set of test automation tools is dependent on a number of factors – tech stack of the app, experience of testers, compatibility with existing testing environments, cross-platform testing support, licensing costs, and so on.
Tools for mobile apps include Appium, Selendroid, Robotium, to name a few. For web apps, Selenium, TestComplete (for GUI testing), Katalon Studio (for API testing) and Cucumber (Behavior-Driven Development tool) are good choices.
Write and Execute Test Cases
Now, time for action! You need to develop test cases and execute them and for this, certain best practices can be followed. Creating test case templates is one of them as this helps in maximum reuse of test code while reducing redundancy.
Make sure that automated test cases are small and concise. Instead of writing a long and complex test script, break it down into simpler, self-contained test cases. Also, prioritize test scenarios on the basis of the feature/component involved.
Maintain Test Scripts
Finally, review and analyze the tests for pitfalls; detect and resolve bugs that are present. After this process, maintain the test scripts by properly categorizing and optimizing test cases.
It’s important that automated test suites do not increase indiscriminately, especially for regression testing. Hence, periodically clean up obsolete test scripts for ensuring better script maintenance.
Conducting automated software testing is the path to a successful and high quality product that entices users. You can always hire a dedicated team of Agile testers if you feel your existing testing strategy is inadequate or you need assistance in doing automated testing.