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Test Automation on Large Agile Projects

By following these tips, teams can better understand how automation can benefit their operations and how to leverage it successfully.

· DevOps Zone

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Software development has changed considerably in a short amount of time, as more organizations transition from waterfall methods in favor of agile approaches. Agile has not only enabled teams to boost their capabilities across projects, but to increase the scope of their applications to reach more users and provide the functionality they expect.

However, in order to facilitate these advantages, quality assurance teams must ensure that the projects have been fully tested, mitigating potential vulnerabilities. In an agile environment, solely doing manual testing is no longer viable, as it can lead to redundancies and cost a lot of unnecessary time. For this reason, many QA teams have turned to automation to better meet their testing needs. Let's take a deeper look at tips to support test automation integration in large agile projects.

Early Discovery ofIssues

The "fail fast" mentality of agile automated testing means that the sooner a test fails, the quicker development teams can get to work on fixing the problem. With large projects, it's even more likely that a critical defect will be overlooked, adversely affecting the finished product. Automation can help reduce these risks by ensuring that testcases are executed as needed and teams will be instantly notified of any issues. Identifying vulnerabilities early on can reduce the time and cost required to address it.

Test automation can also be integrated with software testing metrics to provide overall performance insight. InfoQ contributor Rajneesh Namta noted that clear reporting can help people better understand what went wrong and where. The accessibility of these results will empower stakeholders to participate in making projects even better and ensuring that testing goes smoothly across projects while yielding the expected results.

Assess Testing Approaches for Each Project

Each piece of software has its unique requirements, which means that utilizing all of the same test cases across projects is not going to be viable. There will likely be some tests that are reusable, but QA teams must make sure to consider each project on an individual basis to ensure that the right cases are being automated. TechTarget contributor David Johnson noted that the agile testing approach that yields the highest return will be dependent on how experienced the team is in deploying agile, the existing code base and the long-term application ownership. In order to choose the best methodology, teams must carefully consider their testing needs and the expectations attached to the project.

"Testing must deal with the functionality introduced by the current sprint, the existing functionality within the application space and the maturity and stability of the existing application space," Johnson wrote. "As there are only a limited number of testing approaches available, the application and investment in any given approach must be weighed against the overall return on testing investment."

Make Automation Meaningful

One common myth is that if a team pursues automation, everything must be automated. However, this is not the case. The tests that are likely to be automated are highly repeatable and adjustable as needed. Namta noted that the maintainability and execution time for the tests should be considered before deciding which cases to automate, as these tests become a part of the production code base that must be maintained for the entire life of the application. Overly complex tests are going to be difficult to maintain, and can end up slowing down operations.

Leveraging resources can help make automation more successful and meaningful in testing efforts. Assets like best test management software can help prioritize cases and ensure that automation efforts stay on track with schedule expectations.

"If you focus on the big picture, the real goal is to support new development efforts by providing rapid feedback to the team," Namta wrote. "This helps keep everyone informed about the current state of the project so that interested stakeholders can make informed decisions. Since tools and frameworks are only a means to achieve a much broader end, it is important to not get obsessed with the new tools and lose sight of the ultimate goal."

Automation is quickly becoming a priority for organizations to maximize responsiveness in the agile environment and support development efforts. By following these tips, teams can better understand how automation can benefit their operations and how to leverage it successfully.

The DevOps zone is brought to you in partnership with Sonatype Nexus. Use the Nexus Suite to automate your software supply chain and ensure you're using the highest quality open source components at every step of the development lifecycle. Get Nexus today

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Published at DZone with permission of Sanjay Zalavadia, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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