Developing a Testing Strategy With the Automation Testing Life Cycle
Take a look at this strategic approach to developing a smooth and effective automated testing pipeline.
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Project managers and developers now face the challenge of building applications with fewer resources and within an ever-shrinking schedule. Developers have to do more with less, and it is the responsibility of organizations to test the application adequately, quickly and thoroughly. Organizations are, therefore, moving to automation testing to accomplish this goal efficiently.
When it comes to automation testing, many of us believe that it is just a part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), but to achieve the best results with automation testing, one must follow the complete cycle of automation testing, known as the Automation Testing Life Cycle.
This is article is intended for learners, innovators and entrepreneurs who want to learn how the implementation of the complete automation testing life cycle can enhance the quality of software products. Here I will be talking about a complete guide to Automation Testing Life Cycle.
6 Stages Of Automation Testing Life Cycle Methodology
The implementation of automation testing life cycle executes in parallel with the software development life cycle process.
The structured automation testing life cycle comprises of a multi-stage process that supports the activities required to utilize and introduce an automated test tool, develop and run test cases, develop test design, build and handle test data and environment.
In the automation testing life cycle, test design is constructed to portray test efforts, to give the project and test team a framework on the scope of the test program.
- Determining The Scope Of Test Automation
- Selecting The Right Tool For Automation
- Test Plan + Test Design + Test Strategy
- Setting Up The Test Environment
- Automation Test Script Development + Execution
- Analysis + Generation Of Test Reports
Determining The Scope Of Test Automation
This is the first stage of automation testing life cycle and it aims to identify the feasibility of automation. Every aspect should be considered while analyzing the feasibility. It is also essential to perform a feasibility analysis on the manual test case pack that allows automation engineers to design the test scripts.
In this particular stage, the following questions should always be asked.
- Which modules of the applications can be automated and which cannot?
- Which tests can be automated and how do you automate them?
- Factors like cost, team size and expertise should also be considered.
These feasibility checks should be done before starting the test automation:
- Test Case Automation Feasibility
- AUT Automation Feasibility
Navigate through the application screens under the test and mention all UI components of the application to perform feasibility analysis in an effective way. Identify a percentage of UI components to be automated via an automation testing tool.
Try to find automation testing tools that can help to automate UI components with few alterations.
Selecting The Right Automation Tool
Automation testing is highly tool-dependent. That is why finding the right automation testing tool is a critical phase for an automation testing life cycle. When you are looking for an automation tool you need to keep in mind the budget, technologies being used in the project, your team's familiarity of the tool with resources on-board, intuitiveness, flexibility and more. Choose a tool that provides you with a support team who can take care of queries or issues.
For example, if you are looking for an automated browser compatibility testing tool then you need to keep in mind the variety of browsers offered, the capability of capturing video logs, metadata of automation scripts among different browsers and devices, and a mechanism for highlighting and tracking bugs.
Test Plan + Test Design + Test Strategy
Next is the phase of the automation testing life cycle methodology that defines how to approach and accomplish the goal of test automation. Selecting a test automation framework is the first and foremost thing to do in the Test Strategy phase of Automation Testing Life Cycle.
Selecting a tool depends on the technologies used in the application. Understand your product completely before starting the automation test.
For example, if it is a desktop application, learn which language it is built upon. Or, if you want to test a web application, learn about the deprecated feature you use which may not be compatible across various browsers.
During the test planning phase, the testing team decides the test procedure creation standards and guidelines; hardware; software and network to support test environment; a preliminary test schedule; test data requirements; defect tracking procedure and associated tracking tool and a procedure to control test configuration and staging environments.
The team of test engineers develops a test architecture to describe the test program structure and the way test procedures are managed after the test program model is designed.
After designing comes the test architecture, where the structure of the entire test program is described along with the management of test procedure.
Make sure to consider the following things when planning a test management strategy:
- Gather all manual test cases from the test management tool to identify which test case needs to be automated.
- Identify which framework is to be used after understanding the pros and cons of the testing tool.
- Build a test suite for the automation test case in the tool for test management.
- Be sure to mention background, risks, and dependencies between the tool and application in the test plan.
- Seek approval on test strategy from clients or stakeholders.
Setting Up The Test Environment
As the name indicates, this stage of Automation Testing Life Cycle involves setting up a machine or remote machine where test cases will be executed. Why would we need remote machines? Because unless we live in an ideal world, your users will be using different machines to access your website or web application on the internet.
Keeping a check on different devices is one thing, but we also need to be cautious about various browsers and browser versions, as your website may render differently from one browser to another. Cross-browser compatibility testing is a procedure in which testers test a website or a web app across multiple browser versions to make sure we deliver a seamless user experience to all our customers.
The environment setup phase needs thorough planning, as you need to ensure that you are able to maximize your test coverage across as many different scenarios as possible. It is the responsibility of thetest team to schedule and track environment setup activities; install test environment software, network resources, and hardware; and refine test databases and develop test bed scripts and environment setup scripts.
Key Areas For Test Environment Setup
- Test data – Many times test environment is not populated with the same data as Production, which makes your product very brittle once the code changes are put into the production environment.
- Front-End Running Environment – Make sure your have a front-end running environment to perform load testing for analyzing the capability of handling web traffic.
- Checklist of all the Systems, modules and applications to be put under test.
- An isolated Database server for staging environment.
- Test across various client operating systems.
- Test across browsers and browser versions.
- Make sure you test your website on a low and high network to realize the difference between rendering time and overall appearance of the website or web-app.
- Documentation is key – Make sure you cover all the configuration guides/installation guides/user manuals and so on in a central repository.
Test environment setup involves the following tasks:
- Tool licenses.
- Setup utilities like advanced text editors and comparison tools.
- Automation framework implementation
- AUT access and valid credentials
- Add-ins licenses
Various organizations utilize a staging environment to test the software. The best approach is to copy production data to test. It helps the test engineer to uncover the issues without corrupting the production data. Here are 13 reasons that lead to failure of staging environments.
Best Practices To Setup A Test Environment Management
- Gather and understand the test environments thoroughly and train the testing team members.
- Check for the required software, licenses, and hardware.
- Maintain a checklist of automation tools and their configurations.
- Maintain a cross-browser testing matrix to ensure you cover the tests on numerous browsers and versions with respect to priority and market share.
- Make sure to test using real-time traffic to ensure your changes are more sustainable.
- Planning the scheduled use of the test environment.
Automation Test Script Development + Execution
Once you install the test environment, it is the time to execute the test script. So, this phase of the automation testing life cycle is dedicated to the execution of all test scripts.
To perform script execution, signed-off and unit-tested test scripts are delivered to automation testing team.
It is essential to ensure that all test scripts are running correctly. So, there is a need to take care of the following things before developing a test script:
- Creation of test scripts based on actual requirements.
- Create a common method of function that can be used throughout the testing process.
- Make sure to create a reusable, structured and easy script so that a third person can understand it clearly. Here are 8 actionable insights for writing better automation code.
- Perform code reviewing of test scripts for better quality assurance.
- Make use of better reporting.
Once the test script is developed successfully, it should be executed by keeping the following things in mind:
- A test script should include all functional aspects according to the test case.
- Run test scripts in multiple environments and across multiple platforms.
- If possible, batch execution can be done to save time and efforts.
- If the failure occurs due to some functionality, write a bug report.
To execute test scripts and procedures, the test team has to comply with a schedule decided for procedure execution. Evaluations for test outcomes are executed and test results documentation is prepared during this phase.
Test outcome evaluations are executed and documentation for test results is prepared.
Plans designed for the unit, system, user acceptance, and integration testing are run to test the system as a whole. Code profiling is done at the time of unit testing. Profiling discovers instances when there is inappropriate scaling of algorithms, resource utilization and instantiations.
Analysis + Generation Of Test Results and Test Reports
After all types of testing are performed, the testing team analyzes to identify what a particular functionality or component that experience a relative number of problems reports.
The result of the analysis indicates whether it requires additional test efforts and procedures or not. Test results generated from the analysis can confirm whether executed test scripts/procedures can identify errors.
This is the last phase of automation testing life cycle and the test reports are shared with all involved stakeholders at this stage. This is why test reports are crucial for analyzing how well your web-app responds to adversity.
Automating testing is an effective way to meet testing goals within the appropriate timelines and with adequate resources. However, make sure you implement the complete automation testing life cycle to get the expected results and test the application in the best possible way. Automating tests without a plan or a sequence can lead to massive scripts which might often fail and involve manual intervention too.
A planned and well-structured automation life cycle methodology is all you need for successful automated testing. Happy testing!
Published at DZone with permission of Smriti Arya. See the original article here.
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