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5 Pitfalls of Test Automation

By Tara McLaughlin

Tara McLaughlin

Tara McLaughlin - 8 December 2020

At a 2018 conference, Google gave us a look under the hood by sharing the fact that over 500 million tests were being run per day inside their systems [1]. Two years later, in today’s digital-first world, it is reasonable to assume that this number has only grown.

While most organizations don’t need to test and release on the same scale as Google, the fact remains: demands are only increasing on software development teams to test and release products faster, safer, and at higher quality.

Faster release cycles offer unique benefits, giving  unparalleled insight into your code. This helps to quickly reveal and patch bugs, allowing immediate improvements without significant impact on your customers or business.

With market leaders testing and deploying at such a high pace, how can your organization keep up? The answer: intelligent test automation.

To make the dream of continuous development a reality through intelligent test automation, there are 5 common mistakes to avoid:

 

1. Not Treating it Like a Strategic Initiative

Approaching test automation as a strategic project ensures that:

  • A Project Charter or Statement of Work is created in order to clearly define the goals, scope, roles, and responsibilities
  • Priorities and dependencies are determined in order to identify the most important tests to automate
  • Cost, time, and quality expectations are met

 

2. The wrong test execution infrastructure or test environment

To have complete certainty that the application or system under test behaves the same way in the test environment as it does when live, the right setup is absolutely necessary. It’s important you take care to do the following:

  • Create test data and insert it into the test bed
  • Set up the database
  • Configure the environment
  • Configure the network

Be sure to document all of your actions so that the environment can be replicated.

 

3. Creating big test frameworks

When it comes to creating test frameworks, bigger is not always better. Instead, consider the following best practice for creating test frameworks:

  • Write one test and get it working
  • Write ten more
  • Refactor those tests to pull out common elements and create reusable modules
  • Repeat

 

4. Inadequate reporting

Proper reporting is critical to better understand test failures and clearly communicate the issues to the development team. Here are some common considerations for any good test reporting system:

  • Readability. Your teams need the ability to quickly understand which data points are most relevant, such as test coverage and pass percentage.
  • Accessibility. An accurate report is no good if it’s only accessible to the individual or team responsible for the test. Make sure that other stakeholders can access and understand the reporting, as this also helps with understanding testing data at a macro level.
  • Interoperability. Ensuring that any external program can access report data is key to aligning testing with business priorities.
  • Alerts and notifications. An accurate daily status report is imperative, but should something unexpected arise in between reports, you need to know about it when it happens.
 
5. Forgetting about your users

Test automation isn’t just about confirming that an application meets technical requirements. It’s also about delivering better customer experiences and business outcomes. Advances in AI and ML enable companies to adopt this customer-centric approach to testing.

 

As organizations move from monthly or weekly releases, to releasing by the hour or minute, intelligent test automation is critical to keeping pace.

Regardless of your level of test automation maturity, it’s important to be mindful of the pitfalls outlined above. If deployed strategically, intelligent test automation can accelerate your DevOps journey and help you:

  • Develop better digital products
  • Release them to the market faster
  • Achieve better business outcomes in the form of agility, speed, and reliability

The right solution provider is critical to achieving your test automation goals. To learn more about how Eggplant can help you properly implement your intelligent test automation strategy, read our complete eBook on the subject: 5 Pitfalls of Test Automation, or get in touch with one of test automation experts.