Automated Testing: When to Start?
The main problem with automation testing is unknowledgeable, which test cases to automate and on which stage to implement automation testing.
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Software testing is an essential part of the development process. This part helps to prevent failures in a final product, to deliver it faster, and save budgets. Among various types of software testing, there is a very important one that facilitates testing activity. It's automation testing. In big projects with thousands of code lines to provide manual testing is impossible. Implementing test automation helps to cope with it. Besides testing thousands of code lines in minutes, automation testing is provided for continuous, regression, and functional testing. It shortens the time of the development process and helps testers to focus on core tasks of testing activity.
However, the main problem with automation testing is unknowledgeable, which test cases to automate and on which stage to implement automation testing. We will try to clear up the main questions.
Automation Testing Benefits
First of all, what are the benefits of automation testing? Knowledge of these benefits can facilitate the right decisions.
Expand coverage. Sometimes product owners want to add new features to an existing application. When programmers make those code changes, it can cause failures in particular parts of an app or the entire system. With automation testing, it is easy to maintain a system in a stable and workable state. Automation testing tools can scan code, check changes, and report about problems. Software testers decide which failures programmers should eliminate, according to reports. Also, in big projects that are permanently growing, automation testing is the only correct solution. Checking code manually in this situation can last forever.
Higher safety. The testing process is much cheaper than fixing failures, especially when a product already launches. Hence, early automation testing allows a development team to shrink the feedback cycle, identify and prevent errors that reduce project costs. Comprehensive testing helps to exclude failure associated with the human factor. In complex test scenarios, with various data to test, it is more rational to provide automation testing. Automation testing provides higher safety and helps the development team feel more confident about system stability.
Faster validation. Testing is always a repetitive process. Some test cases testers should repeat permanently, and it takes a lot of time. But automation testing shortens this process from weeks to hours. According to Infoworld research, 88 % of companies that automate 50% of test cases experience a faster testing cycle. Moreover, automation testing allows a team to reuse test cases. Writing test cases requires a lot of time and deep experience, but for automation, testers can write test cases once and reuse it unlimited quantity times.
Which Test Cases to Automate?
You can't automate every test case not only because it's impossible, but sometimes it's necessary. Moreover, thoughtless usage of automation testing leads to an increasing expense and missing failures.
For automation testing cases should be:
Permanently repetitive. If you are going to test a function just once or twice, it shouldn't be automated. Select functions that require ongoing checking and testing. Chosen for automation test cases should be the foundation for your regression testing strategy.
Associated with high risks. Risk analyses can show the most vulnerable part and important parts of a system. Risks associated with the human factor can be automated. It can be routine tasks with a high number of data or pages with high web traffic, or payment process.
With a huge range of variety of data. In such a kind of testing as regression, testers have to deal with a huge amount of data, as it requires to check existing functions of a system after code changes. To test code manually takes months, so automation is a great solution for regression testing.
Efficient. Automation testing is an expensive activity, and ROI is a great way to evaluate your efforts and values of automation in particular cases. ROI includes such metrics as the cost of software testing tools and training for new employees, overall test duration, the number of bugs, and time for their elimination. With RIO calculation, you will know which testing activities you should automate to get benefits in the long run. It's important to automate that is most important for business goals and that is most used.
More and more companies tend to implement automation testing at the beginning of the project development. According to an empirical rule Defect Cost Increase (DCI) in software development is cheaper to verify failures in the early stages of development than fix it. Such methods as Agile and Lean support the idea that testing should be provided early and often. The Agile framework development process is split into short sprints. Automation testing is an essential part of each of them. A development team implements new features and at the beginning of the sprint, the team provides automation regression testing to ensure that new functionality doesn't cause bugs. After this team can test a new feature. These actions reduce risk and number of failures.
In such a software development technique as a waterfall, the development team provides software testing at the end of the project and only once. As a result, a number of critical failures and bugs leads to huge expenses. Moreover, the testers team can't duly identify the reasons for failures. There is one more significant difference between the Agile and Waterfall model. The team can't make changes after the launching of the project in the Waterfall model, while Agile is flexible and adaptable to changes and requirements.
Although automation testing is an expensive solution, it will bring a lot of benefits in the long run. If you design a testing strategy, select a software development model, evaluate risks, and choose the right cases for automation you will increase efficiency and profit. We recommend implementing automation as early as you can and make it as often as you can. Thus, you will reduce the number of failures and save money, because eliminating bugs is cheaper than fixing them.
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