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⛩ Caio Zullo for ⛩ Essential Developer

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iOS Automation Testing Tools vs. Economics: Is It Worth The Cost?

iOS Testing Automation Tools can be a polarizing topic amongst developers, but today we’ll be looking at this topic from a different angle – the business side.

In the business world, one thing wins most debates: economics. It’s futile to oppose business economic arguments with technical arguments such as “best practices,” “morality” or “it is the right thing to do.”

Successful business people understand that everything has a cost, and they extensively analyze actions to evaluate the return on investment (ROI). In simple terms, actions can generate either positive or negative returns. If we, the developers, want to influence decisions with our technical experience, it’s up to us to translate technical jargons to economic arguments.

Can iOS Automation Testing Tools have a positive ROI?

Absolutely. iOS Automation Testing Tools can generate a fantastic ROI; however, a positive return is not a given. There are costs for writing automated tests, where the most obvious one is the time we take to write and maintain them. To achieve a positive ROI, everyone on the team is required to produce quality and disciplined work. The team has to carefully plan for, produce and maintain a fast, reliable, precise and reproducible test suite. Let’s break it down more:

  • Fast : Tests run in seconds or a few minutes, rather than hours or days.
  • Reliable : When they pass, we’re confident everything works and “we ship.”
  • Precise : When they fail, we know precisely where the problem is.
  • Reproducible : We can run the tests over and over and obtain the same result: Pass or fail. No flakiness is allowed.

An automated suite of tests with the above positive characteristics is one of the pillars to support the long-term sustainability of the project, improving quality and speed while reducing cost and risk in the short and long-term. Such a test suite promotes confidence and trust between the tech team and the business, which makes it a valuable asset.

Can iOS Automation Testing Tools have a negative ROI?

Unfortunately, yes. iOS Automation Testing Tools can have a negative ROI when the automated tests are not fast, reliable, precise and reproducible.

  • Slow : Tests that take hours or days to run, so we don’t run them often. Over time, we tend to start ignoring errors and even deleting tests that don’t build or pass.
  • Unreliable : Tests that are passing but we don’t trust them. We still end up testing everything manually.
  • Inaccurate : When tests fail, we don’t know what the problem is. We need to debug extensively and test the app manually to find the problem.
  • Irreproducible : Tests that sometimes pass and sometimes fail. In this case, the results are unpredictable. We often ignore them because we believe it’s a false-negative.

An automated suite of tests with the above negative characteristics is expensive to build and maintain. Such a test suite is a burden and a liability to the business as it generates little to no value with a high cost.

“But I’m Not a Tester!”

Manually or automated, every developer ends up testing the software as part of the development cycle. Manual testing usually is slow and tedious, where developers can spend a lot of time debugging and manually running the app over and over again, and waiting times (building, setting up state, navigating, etc.) increase rapidly as the complexity of the system increases. Automation can drastically improve productivity. Also, it can reduce tedious and error-prone manual tasks, helping developers maintain a constant pace throughout the development cycle.

When we develop our skills to provenly (and repeatedly) produce fast, reliable, precise and reproducible tests, we can generate a positive ROI, and we can positively stand out in the job market.


Prosperity and growth are positive things that can help companies better compensate their employees. As a result, developers can have a more sustainable pace, and an enjoyable place to work. iOS Testing Automation is one of the processes that can help us achieve sustainable growth and can be a rewarding skill to master.

At Essential Developer, we help individuals and companies find a healthy work/life balance, where people are constantly evolving. Most importantly, they are proud of the work they produce in the short and long-term.

Do you want to step up as a developer? We believe our free iOS Career Course can help you find a prosperous path. Register now and discover how to be among the top 1%.

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