Automation-Strategy

One of the inevitable steps before any product launch is its thorough inspection. We want to ship a stable product that is less prone to breaking and we also want to have high confidence that it’s going to work as expected. Every successful developer would agree that as far as any software is concerned, the making and checking must go hand in hand. You keep testing on the go!

Software testing is the analysis and review of the software product or the web service that has been created by a crafty troupe of developers. Software testing ensures that the software:

  • Meets the specified needs. 
  • Accepts, verifies, and responds to the inputs accurately. 
  • Is and remains efficient in its task. 
  • Adheres to the time limit of any task. 
  • Is agreeable with the platform(s) it is installed on. 
  • Fulfils the common requirements of its clients and/or sponsors. 

Software testing also provides an impartial outlook of the software to evaluate the risks (if any) of the implementation of the product. 

Software development is a huge project. It includes numerous elements and thus testing such a vast venture requires methodical planning. One of the many techniques used is automation. 

Tests are simply scripts that run against the code we’ve written. They are simulated scenarios which we can use to see the results produced. If the outcome is dissimilar to the one intended, the test case raises a flag to warn that something isn’t right. When these tests are run by computers that is called automated testing. 

Automation uses software tools and code and the power of computers to test the software product developed. These tools and code together create test cases that are a set of predetermined inputs and their expected results. Writing test cases and scenarios (a collection of test cases) is a way to ensure a level of quality and catch bugs before they reach the users. Automation aims to outperform the physical & mental output of people. By using computers to run thousands of test cases in a matter of moments, automated testing proves to be an excellent aid to manual testing. Together they’re both essential for testing software today. 

How to carry out test automation

Before answering the above question, let us go through the automation testing life cycle first. Understanding it helps in building a good automation test strategy. 

THE LIFE CYCLE:

  • Deciding the feasibility of automation – This includes identifying which modules & tests can be automated and also determine factors like cost, team size and expertise. 
  • Choosing the appropriate tool – As automation is majorly tool dependent, this one’s a prominent step for success. 
  • The framework -This phase is about planning and designing a test suite as per your test targets determined during the first step. The designing is followed by developing the test architecture which recounts the flow and management of the test procedure. 
  • Layout the test environment – Gather the required hardware and software and try to maximize your test coverage across as many different scenarios as possible. 
  • Create & execute the test case scenarios – A set of instructions on how to test the software under observation is determined and executed. The test cases must be recyclable, strategic and well documented. 
  • Develop and explore the test reports – The test results are analyzed to see if they’re sufficient for digging out the bugs or could they use an extra hand from additional test cases. 

                 

Formulating the test strategy

Strategy and planning are the building blocks of success. A rational game plan is your shield in today’s chaotic world. Likewise, working out the necessary roadmap of test automation ensures timely and error-free project delivery. 

So how to draft the perfect test strategy? The upcoming steps are going to guide you in this regard:

Clarity of the goal 

Not all test cases are fit for automation. The smart approach is the detailed inspection of the test plan and selecting those which need automation. Finding the fine balance between manual and automated testing is crucial. 

  • Automate the tasks that are repetitive for manual testers so that they can use their full focus in finding new testing scenarios and bugs. 
  • Tests that can only have objective outcomes. When the final result can be clearly stated as success or failure, it is good to go with automation. 
  • In case of tests that require a lot of data entry, automation proves to be a valuable time saver. 
  • Tests that operate through multiple data sets should be automated. Also when numerous browsers are involved, that task is well taken care of by automation. 
  • Automation is not that friendly with custom controls. Not that they can’t be automated but it is difficult. Automation just obeys; it is not that creative. Therefore, tests with steady UIs and regular controls (ordinary buttons, edit boxes, combo boxes, or grids) are better candidates for automation. 
  • Simple, consistent, stable and not involving risks: ideal types of automation test cases. 
  • Automation aids in cases subjected to human errors. 
  • Automating long, time taking test scenarios is kind of a protocol. 
  • Regression and smoke testing. Regression testing is checking out every new functionality that is added and smoke testing refers to the process of getting instant and consistently helpful feedback about the system. Both of these need a long and tiring session of scrutiny and hence are suited for automation. 

The team

Build or hire a troupe that is specifically directed towards carrying the automation. A team consisting of at least one automation architect leading several automation engineers works best. The volume of the team depends on the complexity and size of the project. Test automation requires undivided attention as it is a full-time job consisting of many versatile aspects to look after. Hence it gets very difficult for manual testers to manage alone. 

The tool

Go for the automation tool that’s most agreeable with your resources. There’s plenty available in the market. First, enlist your test requirements and begin shortlisting the suitable tools accordingly. 

Next, you consider the monetary parameters. There is licensing cost, maintenance and extensibility cost, and training and supporting cost. There are a lot many cost-effective tools which will take care of all this. 

One such tool is LambdaTest: a cloud-based time-saving and efficient economic tool with an online grid for Selenium test automation. It presents the provision of testing on Selenium Grid Cloud of 2000+ Desktop & Mobile Browsers. Minimize your testing time by performing tests in parallel using LambdaTest for a quick go to market product launch.

It has a free sign up, 60-minute free testing session every month, great customer support and along with the option of geolocation testing it surely is a master testing tool. 

Establishing the right environment

The test environment’s hardware and software configuration must resemble the production environment. The test environment has to be a safe & predictable space where the predetermined results of the tests are stored. The test environment is set up based on the following factors:

  • The requirements of the environment: The environment needs a server setup as the whole testing may not be carried out on localhost. A network setup that handles the congestion in a way not to bother other employees. Furthermore, a bunch of different OSs for carrying out web testing and a bug reporting tool. 
  • Compulsory tools with proper licenses. 
  • The management of the test data: Appropriate storing and masking of the data under test is crucial for security reasons.

The efficiency of the test cases

A test case must be well-written, reusable and comprehensible. 

Plausible and powerful manual test cases turn out to be valuable for automation. Strong manual test cases point out the tests with weaker bug tracking ability. Using manual test cases for automating save the time of smoke testing as they don’t need to be backed by feedback about their quality. They’re secure as an actual human has already approved their accuracy. 

The test scripts must-have trait of reusability. This aids in making the scripting process easier and shorter. 

More often than not, the test scripts are not run by the people who designed it. Hence it is important for the test scripts to be understandable as well as brief. 

One of the protocols for the success of the test scripts is prioritizing them. The importance of the feature or component under test decides what scripts have to be run first. 

The maturity model of Automation

When automation is applied to many different levels of an organization, it becomes crucial to find where the company stands in terms of its knowledge of automation. The current situation of the company determines the required level and area of progress and improvement. This measure of knowledge of automation is called the Automation Maturity Model

The automation maturity model is used to improvise the automation test strategy. The automation maturity model can be divided into five phases: Initial Phase, Managed Phase, Define Phase, Measured Phase and Optimize Phase. 

Initial phase: Completion of prerequisites of automation. 

Managed Phase:  Automation achieved without any central infrastructure. 

Define Phase: Central automated process across the application life-cycle is built.

Measured Phase: The carefully analyzed metrics of the automated process are measured against the business goals.

Optimize Phase: Self-service automation, self-learning using analytics and self-remediation are taken care of in this phase. 

It is mandatory to fabricate an insightful test automation strategy if you want to explore and enjoy the full benefits of automation. Experts say that most of the bugs get caught in the test automation development phase itself. So a successful test strategy is actually the building block of a successful automation session thus resulting in an excellent error-free product. Shipping large defects in your application make it difficult to retain and gain customers. A robust strategy that uses a result-oriented approach works towards making the developers & testers more confident about the product quality.