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Effective Planning, Right Expectations, Skilled Resources are Key Indicators for Test Automation Success

  • 20/07/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Ensuring application quality has become one of the key IT challenges given the time and budgetary constraints in the current economic scenario. There is immense pressure on enterprises to ensure all the three, cost, time and quality to achieve customer delight. Flexibility is also one of the key factors for enterprises to keep pace with the ongoing changes in the market place. While testing ensures higher quality levels, it often gets axed due to improper planning and extra coding time required by the development teams.

Test Automation, one of the key areas of testing, has gained huge prominence over the past few years and it is mainly due to various potential benefits it can bring to an organization. While reasons might be plenty for organizations to take the automation route like reduced costs, speed time-to-market for applications, increase repeatability of test execution, and effectively utilize resources, most often they fail to gain potential benefits out of it. Effective planning, clear understanding, right expectations, and skilled testers are the key drivers that determine the success of a test automation project. Enterprises must also have a clear understanding about when to automate, what to automate, and how much to automate.

Before automating, organizations need to develop a solid test plan for what should be tested, how testing will be executed, and put down their success criteria. Most often test automation is seen as a magic bullet to reduce costs and increase test coverage, while it is important for enterprises to set realistic goals and understand where they will reap the benefits of automation. Manual testing should be the preferred choice to test applications with higher complexity while automation should be implemented for tests that are re-run on a regularly basis. Once an application goes live, most enterprises come up with new updates and hot fixes. It is imperative for enterprises to ensure faster product updates and fixes, so as to keep the customers intact. If majority of the test cases are repetitive in nature, it is more than logical for enterprises to automate them for faster turnaround time, and reduction in regression costs.

Manual testing should be employed to prepare test cases for new functionality and subsequently turn them to automation based on the requirements. If an application life cycle is very short and test cases are not repetitive in nature, enterprises should steer clear of automation as it requires great amounts of investments in tool costs, time and skilled resources. Some of the potential benefits that can be accrued through automation include, faster defect location, expanded test coverage, reuse of test cases, ease report generation, and reduced time and costs, while reducing human errors. While choosing the right tool set based on the development style and application profile plays a prominent role in getting the test automation right, enterprises should also realize that test automation is a specialist’s job and it should be carried out in a planned manner to reap potential benefits.

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