How to Develop a Test Automation Strategy?

Many enterprises nowadays adopt agile technologies to deliver high quality software applications in a faster and more efficient way. In addition to making software release cycles shorter, agile methodology also emphasizes on test automation. As a decision maker, you must consider automating various software testing efforts to enhance test coverage, reduce overall testing time, and generate more reliable test results. You must develop a comprehensive test automation strategy to automate the testing efforts in an effective and realistic way. At the same time, a clearly-defined strategy will help you to identify and prevent common test automation failures. However, you must focus on a number of factors to develop a test automation strategy which is both result-oriented and cost-effective.

10 Key Factors to Focus on while Devising a Test Automation Strategy

1) Automating the Right Tests

Your test automation strategy must not explore ways to automate all software testing efforts. Instead, it should focus on integrating manual and automated testing seamlessly into the software development lifecycle (SDLC). While developing the strategy, you must identify the tests that must be automated to prevent manual testers from performing repeated tasks. Likewise, you need to automate the tests that require manual testers to put extra time and effort. The test automation strategy must make additional time available to manual testers to cover new testing scenarios and identifying new bugs.

2) Understanding the Nature and Requirements of the Software

While developing the test automation strategy, you must keep in mind the exact nature and precise requirements of the software for testing. For instance, if the developers have used Java to develop the application, you need to choose test automation tools which provide features to simplify and accelerate Java application testing. Likewise, if you are planning for web application testing, you need to opt for tools that help testers to evaluate the website across major web browsers. The understanding of the software to be tested will help you to choose the right automation testing tools and automate various tests.

3) Selecting the Right Test Automation Tools

Test automation tool selection is often considered as the most important objective of each test automation strategy. You have option to choose from a wide range of automation testing tools according to the nature and requirements of the application. The open-source test automation tools will help you to reduce overall test automation cost. But you must remember that the open source testing tools often lack some of the robust features provided by licensed testing tools.

Hence, the testers may not produce reliable test results using open source testing tools. It is always important to shortlist the open source and licenses test automation frameworks based on the precise testing requirements. Also, you must evaluate the shortlisted testing tools based on important parameters like features, performance, training and support, maintenance cost, licensing cost and stability. You can even consider using the tools providing record-and-playback functionality to save the time and effort required to write test cases for various automated tests.

4) Supplementing the Testing Tool with Skilled Resources

The right test automation tools will definitely help you to evaluate the software elaborately and quickly. But you cannot assess the quality of the software application accurately simply by selecting the right testing tools. Your test automation strategy must focus on supplementing the test automation tools with skilled resources. You can even consider selecting the tools that enable the existing testing professionals to write test scripts in their preferred programming language. Otherwise, you have to provide additional training to the testers to write test scripts in a new programming language. However, you must not expect the manual testers to automate various tests and write test scripts.

5) Writing Test Cases manually before Automation

It is difficult to fully automate many tests. Despite automating such tests, some bugs or defects in the application will remain undetected. But the testers can easily automate these tests by writing and executing the test cases manually. While writing the test cases manually, the testers will ensure that the steps in software QA testing and expected results are defined clearly. Likewise, the testers must run the test cases manually to understand the navigation flow and identify the objects. The manual execution of test cases will further help the testing professionals to detect certain bugs before writing scripts for automated tests. Interested readers can read on how to coordinate manual and automated testing efforts.

6) Running Automated Tests throughout a Sprint

Agile methodology emphasizes on getting a software application tested throughout the SDLC. But with sprints getting shorter, you need to ensure that automated tests are executed before, during, and after each sprint. Before programmers write a specific feature or functionality, the testers can perform assess business requirements by performing keyword-based tests. Likewise, they need to perform unit testing during the sprint to ensure that check the quality of each unit. They can even write test scripts before the code is available for testing. At the same time, the testing professionals also need to execute automated tests after the sprint to assess the quality of the software. Your test automation strategy must focus on execution of automated tests throughout the sprint.

7) Developing Scalable and Reusable Automated Tests

In addition to automating the right test cases and executing test scripts continuously, your test automation strategy also need to focus on development of reusable and scalable test cases. The testers can reuse test cases efficiently when they are short. While writing test scripts, the testers must explore ways to create small and individual test cases and keep the navigation separated from tasks completed or interaction. At the same time, they also need to keep the automated test cased flexible by getting them separated from the user interface (UI). When the test scripts remain separated from the UI, it becomes easier for developers to make changes it time the application changes.

8) Managing and Executing Test Cases

The test automation strategy must clearly define the process of executing and managing test cases. Once the tester executes the test case, its status must change to either pass or fail based on the outcome. The test automation tools automatically changes the status of test cases based on predefined success criteria. You need to define the success criteria for each test case in the strategy. Also, strategy needs to ensure that outcome of each automated test run must remain measurable and result-oriented.

9) Setting up the Testing Environment

The test automation strategy must focus on creating a robust testing environment. The testing environment will include the hardware and software required to perform various tests automatically and efficiently. Also, the environment must enable testing professionals to create and run automated tests without any hassle or delay. You can always create a robust automated testing environment by implementing the exact testing environment requirements. Also, you need to ensure that the testing environment replicates the stage environment which replicated the production environment.

10) Documenting Both Positive and Negative Lessons Learnt

In addition to implementing a comprehensive test automation strategy, it is also important to measure the effectiveness of the strategy. While developing the strategy, you must define the specific target to measure its effectiveness. You also need to review the effectiveness of the strategy based on both positive and negative lessons learnt. The lessons learnt will further help you to improve the test automation strategy and address new problems. Hence, the test automation strategy must focus on capturing and documenting both positive and negative lessons learnt for future reference.

On the whole, you must focus on a number of important factors to develop a test automation strategy that accelerated testing efforts without increasing testing cost. It is also important to keep test automation strategy flexible enough to accommodate the required changes. You also need to evaluate the test automation strategy periodically to get best results.

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