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Test Automation and Modern QA

Today, almost all the software organizations want to switch to test automation and reap the benefits it promises. But, it can become a nightmare when you implement it without proper planning.

Many teams are struggling to deal with the problems which arise while working with and implementing test automation. Having an idea about the different sets and sizes of problems you may face can give you more clarity on how to deal with them.

Key Issues with Modern QA

Automated testing has become the core and integral part of any modern software development process. Its main objective is supposed to help deliver quality-based software on a continuous basis. But the question is - is it really happening?

Most of the test automation within agile development is in a terrible state. Even after hiring best automation experts and spending huge amounts of money, there are lots of bugs that are found in the production environments.

The problem lies in the fact that:

i. Due to the prevalence of Agile, DevOps and other such development practices, most of the testers are not testing any more.

There is pressure on them, all the time, to automate everything and there is no time left for exploratory testing that helps find bugs in unexpected places.

ii. As the majority of the traditional testers are becoming more technical by taking coding lessons and adapting in the Agile environment, there is a steep decline in manual testing.

The core reason behind this shift in mentality is that a lot of testers have started believing that automated testing is superior to manual testing.

Due to this, those exploratory testers are vanishing who used to do real testing with a curiosity to examine the system’s behavior by exercising thoughtful scenarios.

Common Problems with Test Automation

Now let’s have a look at why test automation is not delivering value. Here are some of the most common test automation issues:

i. Unrealistic Expectations of automated testing

Although test automation has many benefits, it does not mean that automating each and every process will improve efficiency. Some organizations tend to have unrealistic expectations of test automation which can complicate the entire testing process.

ii. Use of Wrong Tools
If you choose the wrong tools, then test automation will not work effectively for you. With so many options available in the market, the chances are high that you select the wrong one.

When you select the wrong tool, it would be difficult to meet your test automation goals and you will face scalability issues. So make sure that you choose the right test automation tool wisely.

For Example: It is important to ask some questions to yourself before making the final selection such as will it meet your goals, what are the requirements criteria of the tool, is the tool affordable, does it match your team’s skill level, etc.

iii. Automating Useless Tests
This is one of the most common mistakes the QA team makes. They start automating test cases randomly. This affects the software quality as you will not be able to cover the most important scenarios. You will only get too many useless tests and low test coverage.

The key is to find what’s worth automating. Do your research before writing the test scripts.

iv. Approach to Follow: It is better to start with the unit tests, as they are easy and fast to complete. Then move on to API, integration, and component testing. Lastly, automate the UI tests.

v. Wrong Testing Time
Many teams start testing after the development process is over and the whole build is ready. This is not a good approach as it doesn’t necessarily give you a quality product.

For example: In one incident, the QA team couldn’t delete orders, and the system just keeps adding new orders at the bottom. After running some 20 tests, the new orders started appearing on Page 2.

That created a layer of back and forth where the code was unable to do what it was supposed to do on the first pass. This can be known as “failure demand” which unnecessarily creates extra work because the system failed the first time around.

Automated tests should be created and run in parallel with the development process. Make sure to start running tests since the early stages of the development and continue through the software development life cycle.

vi. Lack of Proper Testing
This is one of the trickiest automation problems. This problem usually occurs when QA teams rely too much on automation and keep their focus more on tests passing than on discovering test scenarios.

When the team relies too much on automation, it decreases the human intervention which could result in poor test design along with ineffective testing. It is important to train your team properly and ensure that they have the right technical skills before implementing the automation.

vii. Maintenance of Automated Tests

A lot of test automation initiatives fall victim to high maintenance costs. Whenever a software is changed or updated, you need to update your tests so that they can be re-run successfully.

You will abandon test automation when your cost and effort in updating the tests will be much higher than to re-run them manually.

Considering the present times, all the managers want to leverage test automation but in reality, it is not easy. The more unrealistic expectations the management has with the test automation, the more it can ruin the whole process.

It’s not about automating story after story and not realizing the importance of integration tests or forgetting about the bigger picture.

You can easily solve all your automation problems. Find out what’s worth automating and what’s not, run tests in parallel with the development, and choose your automation tools wisely which can help meet your objectives.

It is important to choose one such reliable automation testing tool that can meet all your testing goals and also simplify the whole process. That makes test creation and maintenance easy - thus, the extra time can be used for exploratory testing.

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