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Test Automation Strategy

What’s Your Test Automation Strategy?

Madhav Shelke
June 19, 2014
  • NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter.
  • A server failure at LAX that turned off air traffic control’s radios and radar screens.
  • A power blackout that darkened most of the eastern seaboard of North America for several days.

Test-Automation-StrategyWhat do these three events have in common, besides being very public examples of technology failures? They’re examples of situations that might have been avoided if more testing had been done on the relevant systems.

Of course, that’s not to say that these situations were caused by a singular issue, but could be rather a cascading effect of a number of issues or the workflow/scenario encountered. However, adequate testing of the systems prior to installation or use might have caught a few of the issues that eventually contributed to these events.

We’re connected even more today

While those events were serious, they happened a number of years ago, when the world wasn’t quite as connected as it is today. The business world has taken advantage of this connectedness and we’re able to do things so much faster than before.

You can attend conference calls on your mobile phone from the airport waiting lounge, implement a cloud solution for your company while you wait for your order in a restaurant, or even chat with an astronaut on the International Space Station. It’s exciting stuff but also mind boggling from quality assurance perspective to get it right first time

Can business keep up with that pace?

Business is struggling to keep up, and software development is no stranger to this struggle. Companies are relying more and more on automated tools to help them with everything from managing code to handling their QA testing. In fact, it’s become a critical and strategic necessity to use test automation for many companies, as overall development times are shrinking. Customer experience cannot be compromised, quality cannot be risked and hence a robust Test Automation Strategy is most essential to today’s agile enterprises.

Get your strategy in place

A clearly defined automated test strategy will help your business keep pace with your market, and hopefully help you avoid any major technology failures. These six phases of planning will allow you to develop a robust testing framework that you can use right away: Evaluation, Planning, Design, Implementation, Deployment and Review.

Test-Automation-Strategy-1

  • Evaluation: Identify and select a tool that is best for your organization based on the cost, technology used, and the extent of automation coverage.
  • Planning: Laying out your entire plan and strategy helps you avoid any issues going forward, as well as gives you contingencies to help solve any obstacles you may encounter. Good planning involves everything from defining a practical return on investment (ROI), identifying all dependencies, using the correct resources at the correct time, as well as outlining a realistic budget to cover all the work.
  • Design: Determine which tasks are manual and which ones can be automated – identify the low hanging fruits, i.e. the test cases which will reap the maximum ROI when automated. Ideally you’d like the majority of them to be automated, as you’ll be able to cover more scenarios and perform more robust tests of your system. But this should be a more longer term goal.
  • Implementation: Start setting up all the tasks and tests you’ve planned. Identify the processes and resources affected by the test plans, and make changes as required. A good automation framework can help significantly accelerate your implementation and eventually the maintenance cycles.
  • Deployment: Now you’re ready to start testing, and using all of the tasks and plans you planned and designed.
  • Review: This isn’t just about reviewing your test results either. Review every facet of your project and testing strategy periodically to find what’s working and what’s not – refine continuously. Maintaining and continuously updating your automation scripts alongside the application changes is the key to ensure longer term ROI. While each project is different, your overall framework should work for all the testing scenarios in your business and market.

The key to your testing strategy

Many executives have the impression that they can simply purchase a test automation tool, assign a resource or two to the test project, and that’s it. However successful test automation involves careful planning, disciplined execution, meticulous maintenance procedures, and a dedicated staff. Not to mention a patient management team that is ready to support the testing team with money, time, and resources.

A successful testing strategy can lead to big things

It’s true. A successful testing strategy and framework can positively impact your business and organization in a number of ways.

  • Provides more comprehensive testing. The most complex test automation tasks are completed easily. And your products become more robust as a result.
  • Promotes the re-use of critical components. Which ultimately increases employee productivity since the time they would have spent on manual tests is saved by the re-use of the components. They can invest that time into other critical areas of their work and business.
  • Reduces maintenance costs. Changes and updates to your testing methodology are done more easily. Because you’ve taken the time to plan and design your solution, your employees adopt these changes quickly and easily, and have less maintenance work to do on the automated test solution.
  • Creates the testing standard for your organization. Your strategy will become the standard that’s used across the organization because it’s complete and robust.

Partner with a pioneer in Test Automation

Test-Automation-Strategy-2 Learn how to accelerate your automation strategy by working with Jade Global. We’ve got more than 200,000 hours of testing experience with all the best-in-class automated testing software solutions, from commercial tools like HP–QTP and Silk Test, to open source tools like Selenium and SoapUI.

Our customers have reduced their manual testing efforts by over 90%, and improved their time to market by 30%. The test automation experts at Jade Global can help you evaluate your tool options, develop Proof of Concepts for you, and provide realistic ROI assessments for your business.

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