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4 Easy Tips to Start Integrating Test Automation into Your Projects

07.01.2019

Testing an application regularly and in depth throughout the development cycle is a must-have today as users have sky-high expectations when it comes to software quality. Unfortunately, manual tests are flawed, costly and can lead to human errors.

To ensure optimal software quality, your development team needs to adopt end-to-end testing and continuous testing, which complement perfectly a continuous integration and continuous development model.

While test automation is gaining in popularity, many organizations are still hesitating to adopt advanced test strategies, not knowing where to start. Here are 4 easy tips to help you get started with test automation.

1) Talk About the Advantages and Return on Investment of Test Automation with Your Bosses

QA specialists are often given difficult mandates: they must ensure software quality while delivering on time and within budget. Without the support of the management team, implementing end-to-end testing within your organization is going to be difficult.

To convince your bosses, talk about your current challenges in development and be honest about software quality within your organization. Because test automation requires an initial investment, it can seem scary. Some tools must be put into place and test scripts must be written. On the other hand, this investment will quickly be recuperated as these scripts will be used each time the application is tested.

Moreover, since tests are automated, the application can be tested as many times as necessary throughout the development cycle.

If you’re facing internal resistance such as, for example, manual testers who are afraid of change, talk to them about their new role within a development process that uses test automation. Instead of executing tests manually, which is often repetitive and not very stimulating, they can help determine a test strategy and write test scripts in collaboration with the development team, a role that’s much more creative.

If your bosses are still hesitating, you can also mention the data that test automation generates, which can be used to improve project management, generate reports and allow everyone involved in the project to obtain a precise and up to date overview of the project’s current state. This data can also be used to prove a positive return on investment at the end of a project.

Lastly, it’s possible to implement end-to-end testing without transforming your entire organization. Test automation orchestration can be implemented gradually, starting with a pilot project that allows the development team to acquire new skills and then put those skills into practice.

2) Select the Right Automation Tool

There are many automation tools out there, so how do you choose one? Here are a few factors to consider.

  • Choose a platform that supports your technologies. The test automation tool must be compatible with your technological environment and the programming language used as part of your project. Choosing a tool that’s versatile and flexible can be advantageous as the platform will be able to continue supporting you moving forward, even if your technological choices change in the future.
  • Your platform should allow your QA specialists to be autonomous, even if they don’t have strong technical skills. A test automation platform that offers keyword-driven testing, for example, can greatly facilitate the creation of test scripts, allowing QA specialists to create scripts without requiring complex programming knowledge.
  • Reporting options. One of the most important advantages of test automation is data, which is generated automatically every time tests are executed. This data must be presented clearly by your test automation platform and allow project managers to put together complete reports fairly easily.
  • No manual intervention. Test automation tools are often too narrow and poorly adapted to your needs. They also must be launched manually, which leaves room for human errors. End-to-end testing, on the other hand, allows you to test an application or a business process from beginning to end without requiring manual interventions. Your test data is therefore always reliable, complete and up to date.

3) Develop an Automation Strategy

When it comes to test automation, good planning and preparation can make the difference between a project that’s successful and a failure. For example, during planning, you could choose to automate only a portion of your tests and to combine manual tests with test automation.

It’s sometimes possible to get the best of both worlds by mixing manual and automated tests.

At the beginning of a project, you need to identify the most important tests to automate, then plan how the test scripts will be written, which will serve as a guide for the development team throughout the project.

By dividing your tests into a series of smaller logical tasks, you’ll be able to automate your tests while also maintaining a test automation strategy that’s efficient, well-organized and easy to manage.

We also recommend encouraging your team to constantly look for tasks that could be automated within the testing process. Some tasks can be very difficult to test manually, but very easy to execute via automation.

4) Write Test Scripts and Keep Them up to Date

One sign that end-to-end testing has been implemented correctly in your organization is that test scripts and new functionalities are always developed conjointly, preventing test scripts from being outdated and the application from regressing in quality over time.

To save time, it’s often possible to re-use old test scripts by changing variables or tweaking them slightly. Keyword-driven testing also comes in handy, as it greatly speeds up the creation of new test scripts.

On the development side, this approach encourages collaboration and transparency. Instead of being a separate process that occurs at the end of the development cycle, testing now occurs much earlier in the development cycle, allowing QA specialists to work side by side with developers and other specialists, making sure that everyone is actively involved in the quality assurance process.

In the end, by being better integrated into the development cycle, QA specialists end up bringing much more business value to the table.