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Top 5 Mistakes Companies Make When Building Test Automation

Introduction

In the age of Agile and DevOps, test automation has become a critical component of software development. It enables companies to save time and resources by executing repetitive and complex test scenarios automatically. However, when implementing test automation, organizations often make mistakes that can hinder its effectiveness and even compromise the quality of their software products. In this article, we will discuss in detail the top 5 mistakes companies make when building test automation and provide insights on how to avoid them.

1. Inadequate Planning and Strategy

One of the most common mistakes made by companies when implementing test automation is the lack of proper planning and strategy. Test automation projects require a well-defined plan to ensure successful execution and maximize returns on investment.

A comprehensive plan should include the following components:
  • Objectives and goals: Clearly define the purpose and goals of the test automation project. Establish the expected benefits and improvements in software quality, test coverage, and overall efficiency.
  • Resources and skills: Identify the necessary resources, including personnel with the appropriate skills and expertise, to execute the test automation project successfully.
  • Tools and frameworks: Research and select the most suitable test automation tools and frameworks that align with the project’s objectives and the company’s technology stack.
  • Time and budget: Allocate sufficient time and budget for the project, taking into consideration the learning curve and potential challenges that may arise during implementation.

It is also vital to mention that manual and automated testing are two different approaches; hence, they follow different criteria. Therefore, it is mandatory to have a dedicated test automation plan and strategy in place before commencing automation projects.

By thoroughly planning and strategizing, companies can ensure a smooth test automation process, reducing the likelihood of encountering obstacles that could derail the project.

2. Failing to Select the Correct Tests for Automation

Another common mistake companies make is attempting to automate everything without considering the feasibility and return on investment. It is essential to understand that not all test cases are suitable for automation. Some scenarios are better automation candidates than the others due to certain criteria.

Main factors to consider when selecting tests for automation include:
  • Test frequency: Prioritize automating tests that are executed frequently or are part of regression test suites. Automating these tests will save considerable time and resources in the long run.
  • Test repeatability: Select tests that are deterministic and produce consistent results. Unpredictable or non-deterministic tests may lead to false positives or negatives, undermining the credibility of the automation efforts.
  • Test stability: Focus on automating tests for stable features and functionalities that are unlikely to change frequently. This will minimize the time and effort spent on maintaining and updating test scripts due to changes in the application.
  • Test complexity: Automate tests that are complex and time-consuming to perform manually, such as load, stress, and performance tests. Automation can efficiently execute these tests, providing valuable insights into the application’s performance and reliability.
  • Business criticality: Prioritize automating tests that verify critical business functionalities, as these are essential for ensuring the application meets user requirements and expectations.

Fortunately, if you’re using testRigor, the team can author tests much faster than with any other automation tool, meaning that even you make a mistake – it likely won’t hurt as much as with other tools. testRigor also supports a wide range of testing types, such as visual, audio, 2FA testing, and more. This flexibility allows you to automate a much larger set of tests with ease.

However, it’s still essential to prioritize tests based on the criteria mentioned above to optimize your test automation efforts and maximize their impact on software quality. By carefully selecting the right tests to automate, the company can deliver higher-quality software products and enhance customer satisfaction.

3. Heavily Focusing on UI

Many companies tend to focus heavily on user interface (UI) automation, ignoring other important aspects of the software, such as the application programming interface (API) and the database layer. Overlooking these components can lead to missed opportunities for thorough end-to-end testing and potential quality issues in the final product.

It is a solid idea to keep testing pyramid concept in mind, which suggests that e2e tests sit on top of the pyramid, and should be executed after unit and integration (which include API and DB layer) tests.

API integration tests are highly recommended for automation because they can easily handle frequent changes and quick release cycles without the risk of breaking tests in the presentation layer. They are also faster to execute compared to UI tests, reducing the overall test execution time and providing quicker feedback to developers.

Database automation is essential for ensuring data integrity, maintaining data quality, and validating large-scale database operations. Companies should adopt efficient and effective approaches to database automation to minimize the risk of data validation errors and improve maintainability. This involves automating tasks such as data migration, schema updates, and data validation tests.

4. Unrealistic Expectations: 100% Automation Coverage

Striving for 100% automation coverage is unrealistic and often counterproductive. Not all functionalities can or should be automated, and some are better tested using manual approaches. Companies must prioritize automating critical, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks while accepting that some scenarios will remain manual.

For instance, testing mobile devices may require actions like connecting and disconnecting Wi-Fi, switching networks, or handling incoming and outgoing phone calls. These complex scenarios are difficult and costly to automate, making manual testing a more practical option.

Another example is testing complex workflows that involve multiple systems or third-party integrations. These scenarios may require manual intervention or validation due to the inherent complexity and potential unpredictability of external factors. Although, if you use testRigor, you can have cross-platform tests across web, mobile, and desktop applications – making your life easier. Anyway, it is essential to strike a balance between automation and manual testing to ensure comprehensive test coverage without incurring excessive costs or complexity.

By setting realistic expectations and focusing on automating the most valuable test cases, companies can optimize their test automation efforts and achieve better results in terms of software quality, test coverage, and resource efficiency.

5. Lack of Mandatory Review Process

A formal review process is crucial for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of test automation projects. Companies often overlook the importance of reviewing test scenarios, scripts, and results, leading to compromised quality and missed customer expectations.

A robust review process should involve multiple team members to identify potential issues and areas for improvement. Regular reviews can help ensure that test automation efforts align with project requirements, maximize coverage, and maintain high-quality deliverables. Key components of an effective review process include:
  • Peer review: Encourage team members to review each other’s test scripts and provide feedback to improve the overall quality and maintainability of the test automation suite.
  • Test case review: Evaluate test cases to ensure they cover all necessary scenarios and meet acceptance criteria. Remove redundant or low-value test cases to optimize test execution time and resource usage.
  • Test results analysis: Analyze test results to identify trends, recurring issues, and potential areas for improvement. Use this information to refine test cases and prioritize automation efforts.
  • Continuous improvement: Regularly review and update test automation processes, tools, and frameworks to ensure they remain aligned with the project’s objectives and the company’s technology stack.

Using a no-code plain English functional testing tool such as testRigor promotes excellent visibility within the team, as it allows all technical and non-technical users to collaborate and contribute to test authoring. This makes it a lot easier for the team to make sure tests are testing for the right things and include everything that needs to be in the testing scope.

Conclusion

Avoiding these common mistakes can significantly improve the success and effectiveness of test automation projects. By carefully planning and strategizing, focusing on the right features for automation, ensuring end-to-end coverage, setting realistic expectations, and implementing a robust review process, companies can reap the benefits of test automation while minimizing risks and maximizing the return on investment. As a result, organizations can deliver higher-quality software products and achieve greater customer satisfaction in today’s competitive market.

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