5 Simple Steps to Help You Implement Test Automation
Many companies today realize that manual tests simply no longer suffice to ensure optimal software quality. Looking for a solution, they invest in a test automation platform or tool and think the problem is automatically solved.
Unfortunately, these organizations often quickly hit a wall.
To get the best return on investment with test automation, you need to make sure that the test automation platform or solution you chose has been implemented correctly within your organization, as test automation requires a strategic approach.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you choose and implement a test automation platform within your organization.
1) Start with a Pilot Project
You need to learn how to walk before you can run. A pilot project can help you implement a test automation platform gradually as your team experiments with the new platform and masters new skills.
By starting with a simple project, your team, including your QA specialists, developers and project managers, will be able to adjust their work processes while exploring the new platform’s functionalities.
To succeed, define precise goals at the start of the pilot project and focus first and foremost on improving your development processes and pipeline without trying to get too fancy. In some cases, it might even help you to map out what your current testing process is to better understand what’s working and what needs to be improved.
Critical thinking is crucial here. Many teams think that automation is all about buying tools and running them to test an application almost independently of the development process, while it’s actually all about integrating automation tools throughout the process and using them to amplify the team’s testing capabilities.
2) Don’t Try to Automate Everything Right from the Start
If you have a limited budget and a tight production calendar, a simpler, less ambitious test automation strategy is probably the right way to go. Instead of trying to automate all your tests, you can start with an urgent business need.
For example, let’s say your application contains a billing module that sends invoices to your clients. If this module contains bugs or errors, it will have immediate and very negative consequences for your company.
Automating all tests for this module only therefore makes sense not only from a development perspective, but also from a business perspective. By automating tests for this module, you will get a lot of business value while starting your journey towards test automation.
If this is all your budget or production calendar allows you to do, it’s already a step in the right direction.
3) Choose a Test Automation Platform That’s Versatile and Multi-Technology
Your test automation platform should be compatible with several technologies and programming languages so that you can accomplish your business goals today while also retaining flexibility for your future projects.
You should also choose a platform that complements your current development model. For example, if your company has never used DevOps, don’t try to implement a new test automation platform at the same time as you implement a new development structure.
You risk causing important problems within your team by introducing too many big changes all at the same time. Instead, start by implementing high importance tools like JIRA, an issue tracking tool that’s easy to use, easy to implement and greatly facilitates development.
4) Rely on Data
One important benefit of implementing automated tests is the data they produce, which can give you an overview of the current software quality of your application, helping you identify the precise source of a bug or an error and so much more.
Start integrating data into your company’s work flow so that you and your team can take better decisions based on accurate, up-to-date data. Better data combined with powerful reporting tools can be an awesome combination that increases transparency amongst the team and makes it very clear to everyone involved what issues still need to be fixed and how the project is doing overall.
By focusing on data and integrating it into your internal processes, you’ll get more business value out of your automated tests and you’ll be able to guide the development process of your application as it progresses over time.
5) Designate an Automation “Champion”
Tools can be wonderful, but even the best tools aren’t very useful without passionate, dedicated people using them on a daily basis. Some teams purchase an automation tool, but then fail to properly implement it within the organization.
Since no one’s familiar with the tool, no one’s championing it, so the adoption rate is almost nonexistent and the tool isn’t used to its maximum potential. To avoid this, it can be a good idea to designate an automation “champion” within your company. This person is responsible for exploring the tool, encouraging others to use it and helping them learn new skills.
Your automation champion will also help combat resistance within your organization. Change can be difficult, so some team members may not be as keen as others to jump onto the automation bandwagon. Your automation champion can help convince them that this is the way to go by singing the gospel of automation and demonstrating how test automation can help the team solve concrete problems.
By designating a champion, not only will the tool be implemented faster, but you’ll also encourage team members to act like leaders.
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The Role of Test Automation
While test automation is crucial to ensure optimal software quality, every project is different, so it’s possible to use test automation in conjunction with manual tests to ensure optimal coverage while respecting the established budget.
Both manual tests and automated tests can be an important part of any software development project. That being said, test automation is clearly becoming more powerful and easier to implement as tools continue to gain maturity.
If you still haven’t embraced test automation, now’s a great time to dive in and discover how test automation can empower your team, improve your internal processes and help you deliver killer software quality.
What is the role of test automation within your organization? Let us know in the comments!