How to switch to Automated Software Testing
As most in the IT industry know, manual software testing requires a lot of time and effort, to ensure that the code is working correctly. And besides the testing, itself, manual testers also need to record their findings, which are a different kind of work, in and of itself. The main benefit of automated testing, however, is that it will eliminate all of these problems.
Nevertheless, manual testing is still functional, especially when drawing many insights that the automated testing could miss. Regardless, automated testing is exceptionally well suited for projects that require testing in the same area, over and over again, as well as projects that already went through an initial manual testing process. When implemented correctly, automated testing can and will deliver many benefits to organizations that want to provide higher-quality software at a much faster pace.
There are, however, some challenges when transitioning from manual to automated software testing. For starters, many organizations are not prepared for the impact that this transition will have on their practices. Also, automated tests require a series of complex processes, which, in turn, need expertise in the area.
There is also the issue that, even though automation does benefit testing, there is still need for manual testing. And lastly, it's important to remember that application development teams usually start their automation at the graphical user interface (GUI) level, but these tests are expensive to create, slow to implement, and somewhat hard to maintain.
But with that said, eight steps will significantly help you in streamlining this transition.
The Steps for a Successful Transition
Setting a Clear Set of Goals - When you start automating your tests, it's always important to establish a clear and balanced set of goals. When measured, these goals will help you identify the best approach to automation, as well as the right tools for the job.
Test automation requires a significant investment. It may also include skilled employees and an evaluation of the current state of the manual testing. It will determine the most efficient approach to the transition. In any case, it will take some time and research before you can decide which framework will work for you best.
Focus on Areas with the Greatest Benefit
Automation may not always be the best way to find various software problems. With this in mind, you should strike a healthy balance between the cost of automation and the time required for manually doing these tests. If some tests are easy to do manually, don't invest in automation here.
Manual Testing is Still Relevant
While almost every type of test can be automated, some are better left for manual testing. Usability as exploratory testing, for instance, work better when a person is working on the project and do not need automation.
Automation Is More Than Functional Testing
As mentioned, most teams start automation at the GUI level. But it is not the most efficient way. The make sure that you find problems faster and more comfortable, testing needs to happen at multiple levels.
Regular Maintenance and a Good Test Design
A poor test design will produce tests that will be hard to understand and maintain, as well as false positives that will waste a lot of time to research and discover.
The Right Tools
There are a variety of tools available for automated testing. These can be either commercially available or open-source. It's advisable that you choose the ones that will work best with your team, your practices, and application targets.
A Stable Codebase
Before you start implementing automated software testing, make sure that your codebase is stable enough so that it can withstand the demands of testing. The importance of a stable codebase is exacerbated when you have to deal with agile projects. The primary challenge will be to architect for stability. Even if the actual code and implementation frequently change in these types of projects, the code’s intent will, most likely, stay the same.
By dedicating the necessary time and resources to your test automation efforts, you can treat this transition as any other software development project. You should develop the right strategy by setting simple, yet clear and achievable goals. Select the solutions that will match your team's skills and will work with your development style.
If you want to learn more about automation testing and how to best make the transition; contact us today.