While automated testing has great benefits for companies, numerous test automation challenges ranging from project planning to technical problems can compromise the effort and ultimately cause the failure of this endeavor. Furthermore, reportedly, up to 50% of test automation projects fail just because companies struggled to realize the potential business results of their investment.
Understanding test automation and possible issues beforehand is critical for success, and this article will show you some of the most common issues along with suggestions for their solutions.
Understanding the capabilities and limitations of test automation
As mentioned above, it is necessary to know what to expect from test automation in the first place, as unrealistic expectations can lead to low ROI and make test automation ineffective in your business scenario.
What test automation can do?
Automating your tests can significantly speed up the process of their execution, which is one of the major factors contributing to financial savings. The speed of execution, combined with support for parallel test execution and scheduling tests for execution without human intervention, can considerably increase test coverage. It can also help to avoid human mistakes manual testers may make during test execution.
What test automation cannot do?
Test automation itself is unable to improve the quality of your software. It can only help to avoid human errors in test execution and speed up the feedback delivery, while the quality of test scripts, which determines testing efficiency, is still the responsibility of testers.
While significantly expanding test coverage, it still cannot guarantee the coverage of all possible test cases, as they require preparation by testers. Additionally, many test methodologies are more effective when performed by humans, for instance, ad hoc testing, usability testing, or UX/UI testing.
Identifying a goal for test automation
To make your test automation project successful, it should have a clear and measurable goal based on realistic expectations. It is highly recommended to resign from abstract definitions such as achieving “great coverage” or “reduced testing time” and specify them by adding metrics and time frames. Here are some examples of preferable definitions of test automation goals:
- Reducing testing time by 50% within six months after the implementation of the regression testing solution.
- Covering 90% of test cases involving critical business functionality within three months after the tool implementation.
- Reducing the rate of false-negative and positive results in tests by 30% in two months.
There is a common misconception that investment in test automation is required only in the case of proprietary solutions associated with high licensing costs. In reality, investment is also needed for the implementation of open-source frameworks like Selenium, and in many business scenarios, proprietary tools may prove to be cheaper in the long run, as their setup and maintenance require less attention from developers.
The best way to understand the most effective category of tools in your particular scenario is to assess the company’s requirements, budget, and expectations. For instance, if a company aims to reduce dependence on manual testers to the maximum extent, and especially if it needs a solution dedicated to a specific type of software, comprehensive proprietary no-code testing tools like Executive Automats can be a feasible choice. Despite the initial payment, they create many opportunities for considerable savings due to their simple and fast setup, user-friendly interface, and the possibility to use without programming skills.
Finding the right tool for test automation
The financial aspect is just one of the test automation challenges considered for the choice of a tool.
The choice of the best tool for test automation is also not easy when it comes to assessing its functionality. For instance, better results can be yielded if the tool supports automation of other features, such as automated reporting. It is also necessary to carefully assess the types of testing supported by a chosen tool. Most test automation products are dedicated to functional testing, which is only one of the test types you may need to perform.
In the case of frameworks like Selenium, companies may have greater freedom to customize their testing environment and add necessary functionality; however, it will require costly assistance from competent developers. In the case of proprietary products, customization may be rather limited, which makes ultimate solutions like Executive Automats, which also supports performance testing, a better choice.
Identifying test automation strategy
Understanding test automation and the choice of the right tool itself are not enough for the success of your project, which also requires a proper strategy. Starting testing without taking time to develop such a strategy can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the test automation project.
One of the most challenging points in your strategy would be the choice of test cases, which should be based on the thorough assessment of the tested software and the impact of its diverse components on business operations.
Test script maintenance is another weak point that should be kept in mind before testers start building test scripts. Test scripts created with considerations of test case maintenance prove to simplify maintenance and make it less cost-demanding.
Bottom line – prepare for test automation challenges in advance
Some automation challenges may be inevitable and come to you as a surprise; for instance, tested software may undergo significant changes and require substantial upgrades to your testing strategy. Yet, many of the test automation challenges, especially those discussed in this article, are easy to foresee, and it is sensible to learn about them early enough before they turn into real issues for your project.