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Best Practices of Test Automation

Test automation is essential for the speed and flexibility of agile and DevOps. Here are some best practices to always keep in mind.

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Agile operations have put pressure on quality assurance teams to ensure predictable, fast delivery, but this can often be a challenge to achieve. In order to realize the speed and flexibility of agile, automation integration is essential. As organizations begin to understand how beneficial agile can be, they are increasingly turning to automation to facilitate this type of environment. Here are a few test automation best practices that teams must keep in mind:

1. Select the Right Tools

The success of your automation effort will largely come as a result of having the best test management tool for your team. Software Testing Help noted that choosing a tool that's familiar to your resources will be critical. For example, if you're developing with a certain programming language, the solution should offer that language to write script and be able to integrate well with current systems. This will minimize the learning curve and make it significantly easier for QA teams to utilize the automation tool effectively.

In the same vein, having the best staff to use these tools will help boost effectiveness and productivity.

"Some managers have the misconception that if they select a right tool, they can easily automate anything," Software Testing Help stated. "Beware, automation tools do not give you everything. They make the process easier. But you need skilled resources to complete the process."

2. Reevaluate Tests

Automated tests cannot be set and forgotten about - they require regular maintenance. Just as trends change and new functionality is added to apps, the tests must be reviewed to ensure that these elements are accounted for. Testing Excellence noted that regular evaluations will help remove uncertainty from automated tests and keep tests up-to-date. This will yield the accurate outcomes QA needs, providing information for easy decision-making.

"When there are failures, we have to analyze the results to see what had gone wrong, and when we have lots of inconsistent or false positive results, it increases analysis time," Testing Excellence stated. "Don't be afraid to remove unstable test from regression packs; instead aim for consistent clean results that you can rely on."

3. Design an Effective Framework

As with any other project, teams must create a strategy for how they will support automation and ensure that their members backed by available resources. The test automation framework will define the scripting methodology, execution of tests and reporting of results. According to Nalashaa, this framework not only gives everyone a common standard to achieve goals, but also focuses on the maintainability of automation. QA will need to establish scripting standards for business components, separate scripts and data, and ensure that future endeavors are thought through before building out the test framework library.

While this seems like a lot to factor in, these elements are all essential to determining the best way to accommodate automation and ensure that the right amount of QA management is provided.

"The tests will change and good automation framework will support and facilitate change," Nalashaa stated. "If there is any change in any test, it should be very easy to change the automation suite, and in some cases not required to change at all. In addition, performance is also important. In a typical automated test suite, several tests will be executed. If each test can be executed faster by a second or so, it will matter! Ultimately we are talking about cutting down the time to test!"

Automation can be an effective tool for QA testing, but teams must follow best practices to fully utilize it. By evaluating tests, selecting the best automated testing tools and designing a successful framework, automation efforts are more likely to yield the benefits organizations expect.

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Published at DZone with permission of Chris Wright. See the original article here.

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