7 Ways to Make Test Automation Effective in Agile Development
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Software development is a complicated process. Since the early days of the software development process, architects realized that without a management framework, this process will divulge into chaos. Thus were born new software development life cycle innovations, from the waterfall model, all the way to agile model.
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When we talk about mobile and web projects, most of them are built using some form of Agile development methodology and all parts of the software development lifecycle, be it development, or deployment, or even testing, is governed by the same fast go-to-market principles.
When we talk about software development, we simply cannot overlook testing, as it is a critical part of the development process. With Agile techniques, it becomes easier to detect bugs earlier in the cycle, which allows developers to fix bugs quickly. But testing in the later stages of software development often requires repeated tests for specific scenarios.
In each agile sprint, developers have few features to build, whereas testers have to test all of the applications. That means testing new features, as well as all old features as well just to make sure that new development has not messed with old product.
In such cases, manual testing becomes a slower and more stressful option. Teams start to cut corners to save time, and the quality of the product goes down. Thus, businesses adopting agile development approaches are moving to automation testing to cope with continuous development and delivery.
Today, we are going to talk about seven different ways to make automation effective in agile development. But, before that, it’s crucial to understand why automation testing is vital for agile development.
Why Automation for Agile Development?
Agile approaches are used to build high-quality software products while reducing the risk associated with high goto-market times. Now, as there are repeated changes involved in any typical agile methodology, having a test automation process in hand is essential for making sure that each time a product is shipped, it’s shipped with the highest possible quality.
Apart from the repeated tests, there are various challenges associated with agile QA professionals, which can only be encountered with automation testing, as agile development is based on integration and continuous analysis of the software product that you are building. Some of the challenges are:
Cracked Code Due to Frequent Build
Code changes in agile development are very common, but it often leads to breakage in code especially during integrations. Continuous integration and continuous deployment require a continuous testing approach as well. This means, implementing an automated testing technique with your CI/CD pipelines to handle this situation easily.
Improper Test Coverage
In later stages of agile development sprints, as the number of features increases exponentially, you will find less and less time to test all these features in the limited time available. That means you would have to leave few user stories from testing hoping that they were not affected in the latest release, but, with automated regression testing, where you have automated testing of all old features, you can release your product with proper functionality and assured quality every time.
When we try to improve the functionality of a web app, we end up making the application more complicated. Also, as it involves a high volume of code, the performance of the app suffers. Thus, automated load testing tools can be beneficial in identifying performance bottlenecks as tracking the performance of your web app.
Insufficient API Testing
Implementing complex APIs in a web app often makes it more complex, and we often overlook API testing in such scenarios. With the help of automation testing tools like LambdaTest, you can overcome these issues quickly.
Complicated Mobile Testing
In the last few years, there has been a massive growth in mobile devices. More and more devices are coming to the market every day, which makes it hard for testers to test each device. With a reliable and robust automation testing suite, you can ensure that the code doesn’t break with each new build.
These challenges show why automation is required in agile development, although there are other benefits of using automation for agile development.
Advantages of Using Automation in Agile Development
Automation testing benefits agile development in multiple ways, such as it provides speed, performance, reliability, programmability, reusability, and much more. Some significant advantages of automation testing in agile development include:
Automation testing allows you to implement continuous integration in agile, which can help in a quick turnaround for the QA team.
Using a well-reputed and reliable automation testing tool, you can ensure the quality of your web app at any given time.
If certain test cases for your application are executed continuously, then using the right automation tool and approach, the daily build execution can be certified easily.
Better Communication and Collaboration
An automation tool not only improves the product quality, but it also enhances communication and collaboration between teams by allowing them to share the testing process with each other.
Now, you know the importance of automation testing in agile development, it’s vital to understand the best methods to make automation effective in agile development.
Ways to Make Automation Effective in Agile Development
There is no doubt that automation testing assists in the application development life cycle. But, there are also some complicated challenges linked with automation testing, which can lead to application failure if you don’t implement automation testing properly. Below, we have covered seven different ways that can help you make automation testing more effective in your agile development approach.
1. Conduct Parallel Testing
One of the main reasons behind not achieving desired results in agile testing with automation is that agile development is all about continuous delivery with a number of short iterations in a development and deployment pipeline. Because of which QA teams often get to run short and frequent regression testing sprints as well. Small testing cycles means that it has now become more complicated for the testers to find, fix, and test the products of each iteration.
Thus, it is essential to allocate enough time for testing, automation testing as well. The first step in reducing the test times is to start executing parallel testing, i.e., running multiple test threads at the same time. Parallel testing will not only improve the automation process, but it will also improve the team’s productivity. It will even allow your testers to invest time in more exploratory testing and actually debugging the issues there are.
2. Develop Quality Tests
Another vital factor to consider is building robust tests. Testers need to develop quality test scripts that can be integrated with regression testing easily. Whether scripted or script-less, the test scripts should be flexible enough to adapt long-term requirements of regression testing, and must meet the below criteria:
The primary objective of filling these criteria is to execute precise, effortless, and high-performance automatic regression testing without any human intervention. If the test scripts are constant and sound, QAs can quickly complete regression testing without going through unnecessary modifications.
3. Adapt DevOps Integration
DevOps is known as the principal of merging the development, testing, and operations roles, which makes it essential for an agile development team. DevOps offers significant benefits like collaboration and cross-functioning from the same team, which is crucial for rapid feature development and continuous delivery of the software development process.
Also, as DevOps endorses a shared working environment, so the development, code integration, and automated testing happen in real-time, which results in a more efficient agile development life cycle.
4. Choose Your Automation Tool Wisely
Choosing an automation tool for automation testing is one of the most challenging tasks, as if you don’t invest quality time in evaluating the capabilities of your automation tool, you might end up wasting your time and money. When you are looking for an automation tool, make sure it meets your testing requirements and ensures the success of your test automation efforts.
To ease your search of automation tools, we have listed a few features and functionalities that every automation tool must-have, no matter what type of testing you’re performing.
First of all, the automation tool must be OS friendly, which means it should support almost every operating system that is used by visitors to access your web app.
Provide support across a wide range of browsers so that you can quickly test the cross-browser compatibility of web app across targeted browsers.
The tool must be capable of meeting the end-to-end requirements of the testing team.
It should have a friendly user interface, simple navigation, and functionality so that even beginners can easily use it for automation testing.
Offers integrated support with cross-functional tools, such as test management tools, bug tracking tools, continuous delivery, etc.
It comes under your budget and provides all the features according to the price.
Capable of maintaining a suite of regression testing seamlessly.
5. Consider Automation a Part of Development
While working with agile approaches, it is advisable to consider automation as an integral part of agile development. That way, you will be able to make the entire testing process more efficient. According to most testers, you should avoid two major traps in agile automation testing:
Automation doesn’t make sense if you try to automate every test or have automation in place for every delivered feature. This is not the right approach to use automation. In fact, you should use automation for reflected changes that occur after implementing a new feature, or in case of regression testing, where you need to execute tests repeatedly.
There is no such thing as 100% code coverage. Software code can never be entirely covered with automated or manual testing. Even if you have covered the entire code, it doesn’t define the quality or relevance of tests. For better quality and performance, opt for one-to-one translation of tests, which is proved to be a practical approach in automation testing. But, it still doesn’t define a hundred percent test coverage of your application, as you cannot automate the entire process even with the one-to-one transition.
One of the best approaches for more effective automation testing in agile development is keeping test cases small and lean. Small test cases are not only easy to execute, but they also allow you to make quick changes according to regression requirements.
Apart from that, it reduces the maintenance of large test suites that contains multiple codes, scenarios, configurations. Almost the entire load on the development process reduces with small and lean test cases.
6. Cross Browser Testing and Cross-Platform Testing From the Get-Go
Even though at the early stages of launch you would be getting very limited traffic from niche browsers, however at later stages when you would be getting more traffic, cross-browser support would start to feel very very important.
Making the whole product cross-browser compatible or cross-platform compatible in the later stages is a very resource and time-intensive. That means performing cross-browser testing of your application from day one.
If you say that investing in a testing infrastructure would be very expensive for a startup, I would be the first one to agree with you. Inhouse testing infrastructure means that you would have to buy a mac machine, a Windows machine, android devices, iOS devices, etc, etc. The cost reaches thousands of dollars.
But that’s where the power of the cloud comes in. You can take help from selenium-as-a-service cross-browser testing platforms like LambdaTest, Testingbot, Browserling, etc. to accelerate your testing. You get a huge list of browsers where you can run your tests on, as well as a scalable cloud infrastructure that you don't have to maintain, scale, or develop.
7. Keep an All-round Visibility of Testing Process
There are multiple members involved in product development like stakeholders, project managers, etc., so the testing process shouldn’t be limited to testers and QAs only. It is wise to ensure that the automation process is accessible and straightforward, and the results of test automation are visible to all the project members. Getting reviews from other members regarding trends, statistics, and overall code quality improvement in the testing process can make a massive difference in implementing more automation.
If you make your test automation data visible to resources, it helps in forming a positive perspective on their own, which in turn makes it easier to update test scripts periodically and promises collaborative effort via mutual cooperation.
8. Monitor Your Development Environment Continuously
It is always helpful to monitor the developers and the development environment continuously. The software development process comprises of a network from the back-end system architecture to front-end interactions, such as virtual machines, cloud simulations, and external database as well.
A bug doesn't need to be always coming from the application; sometimes, it could appear due to any form of bad networks between devices, development environment, configurations, etc.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand the functionality of all the environments associated with your product development. It will help your testing team to focus on the quality of the product rather than scrambling through different data to find the leading cause of the bug. Having everything in place and an eye out for the processes always makes test automation more effective and efficient in agile development.
These are a few techniques or tips that can be followed to make your agile test automation more efficient. And if you’re implementing automation testing in agile development for the first, then you can take help from the cloud-based testing suite – LambdaTest.
Agile approaches are leading businesses towards a better and advanced software development environment. Keeping up with agile development not only requires knowledge, but it also requires resources to cope with the latest trends and innovations in it, and automation testing is one of the major requirements of agile development.
Here, we discussed how you could make your agile automation testing more efficient with seven practical approaches. We hope this article will help you ease the automation testing process in agile development.
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