With the IT industry having undergone numerous dynamic changes, it has brought forth a number of new perspectives and objectives for automated testing. This pertains specifically to those areas that have emerged in the past decade such as e-commerce, SaaS applications, and cloud-based services.
Over the past five years, there has been a rapid growth in the number of Scrum and Agile projects while the IT industry has adopted the use of numerous new tools to be in tune with an ever-changing approach. One of the most noticeable advancements in this field has been that of automation testing.
Automated testing offers a number of benefits but at the same time, if not done correctly, it may result in failure. Some of the common sins committed while automating testing in an agile environment include – choosing the wrong time to start automation and making use of inappropriate automation testing tools. The test automation framework also deserves special attention.
Download Free E-Book: AUTOMATED TESTING IN AGILE
Let us now take a look at some of the top mistakes that you should avoid while running an automation test in an agile environment.
1) Selecting the wrong automation tool
Problem: A popular automation tool may contain a commendable, rich set of features while being extremely affordable. Nevertheless, there may be hidden problems that are not too obvious at first glance. A lack of reliability and insufficient product support are among the problems usually encountered. Both open source and commercial tools can be prone to such issues. An agile environment can be used for performing test-driven as well as behavior-driven development. However, the high licensing cost often proves to be a stumbling block in automating the testing process.
Solution: While selecting a commercial test automation tool for your project, considering the prices and features of the tool are not enough; you need to analyze the recommendations and feedback from those individuals who have successfully implemented the same on real-time projects. The first thing you need to consider is the community support for these tools are powered by support from the user community and not necessarily a vendor. A strong community and active forum will help resolve the issues you may encounter with your automation tool.
2) Choosing the wrong time to start
Problem: A common mistake at the start of test automation is starting on the automation too early. The efforts required in redevelopment of automation scripts does not always justify the benefits, or lack of it, achieved in the final stage of iteration. This is a particularly serious issue for graphical user interface (GUI) test automation. A GUI test automation script is more likely to be broken down by development than other automated test types such as API tests or unit tests. An early start of test automation may result in spending meaningless, repeatable efforts on redeveloping the automated tests.
Solution: Over the phase of a development process, the Quality Assurance (QA) team members should spend a good amount of time in the creation of detailed manual test scripts for automation. If the test cases have sufficient details, you can automate them successfully once the given feature has completed. Writing an automated test from beforehand may not be a bad idea but it should be done only when an individual is certain that further developments within the respective iteration will not disrupt the new tests.
3) Inability to select the right development framework
Problem: The biggest issue with the traditional agile framework is that the absence of user points does not encourage the inclusion of test automation framework development tasks. However, it is far from a secret that a good and effective test automation calls for both framework and tools. Even after spending a few thousand dollars on test automation tools, a framework will yet be needed for test automation engineers so that it fits in easily with an agile development process.
Solution: A test automation framework does not require more than two weeks to develop so you should probably take care of it in the very first agile iteration. However, you should also take note that in certain cases the project requirements may run over a number of iterations before it is completed. The development product can be tested within that duration itself. While the manual testers will have to deal with an increase in their workload, these tests will be limited to development and back-end tests so that the pressure balances itself.
4) The right test case selection
Problem: Another mistake in agile test automation process is to try and automate all the test cases. However, if the focus lies on efficiency and quality, automating them all does not represent a viable solution. It can lead to a useless expenditure of money and effort without contributing value to the overall product.
Solution: Some cases are better off when automated while others do not prove so effective. A test case should be automated only when it requires lot of manual testing and consumes lot of time in executing manually. If you have an application whose functionality frequently changes, then automating the test may prove too expensive and is not a viable solution.
5) Test automation or manual testing: The right way forward
Problem: When the automated testing and manual testing teams within an organization are not on the same wavelength, it proves to be an agile test automation error. You may end up spending a whole lot of effort only to be greeted by a sub-par software in the end. Sometimes, a lack of skills on the part of the manual testing team forces them to hand-off responsibility to the automated testing team, leading to loss of synchronization among the units. Moreover, certain sections of the application receive greater focus while others are not covered at all.
Solution: Ideally QA team members should work closely with Agile teams for a better quality, early delivery and value for business. Whilst this might not be cost effective always and in varied circumstances QA teams can also work in distributed locations. The test cases should be presented in easily readable and understandable formats so that even non-technical staff can understand it. This can be achieved in a number of ways such as keyword-driven frameworks or maintaining a clean code. Moreover, agile development dictates that you have only one testing team to take care of the manual as well as automated testing process, working closely with the team of developers.
These are some of the most common mistakes that affect test automation efficiency of a project, leading to production of poor quality in results. Test automation activities should be considered an integral part of project quality assurance and if you are serious, avoiding most of these mistakes won’t be too big a task!