Organizations are increasingly turning to test automation to replace the time-consuming and resource-intensive everyday testing of applications and systems. With the rise of incremental approaches, test execution automation is a hot issue that has become nearly inescapable.
The explanation is simple: as incremental approaches, and more broadly Agile methods become more democratised, regression tests are getting more numerous and are being conducted more frequently.
However, a tester might make a few mistakes that will not only force test automation to fail over time, but will also have an influence on its ROI. The time necessary to manually conduct regression tests, for example, rapidly becomes unsustainable for any team working on such a project.
Why are companies interested in test automation?
There are numerous strong arguments for businesses to consider automating their testing processes. There are significant cost savings compared to manual testing. Because release cycles are becoming shorter, testing must become more efficient. Test automation increases product quality by detecting issues earlier in the process, which is the most convincing argument. This might take a week to execute a set of human tests, but the same tests might be repeated once or twice a day if they were automated.
What kinds of tests are usually automated?
Automated browser testing is often divided into two categories. Functional tests guarantee that all components of the software application are operating properly while unit tests focus on particular source code functions. Unit test automation is normally the responsibility of the developer, but functional test automation is primarily the responsibility of the software test team.
Test Automation tools Vs effectiveness
There are a variety of test automation solutions in the market, each with varying levels of efficiency and requirements. Automation tools can be classified into the following categories:
Hand Coded Test Development: These use underlying automation APIs such as those offered by Selenium, Appium, or mobile device OSs to construct automation scripts using popular programming languages.
AI Assisted Auto Discovery & Playback: These can be said to be self-discovery of pathways utilizing learning algorithm in the app, with the possibility to replay any of the paths found. It possesses the ability to adapt to application modifications in a restricted way without compromising the test script.
Abstract Syntax Test Tools: To define test cases, these use simple language, keyword phrases, or procedural text (Cucumber/Gherkin), with the actual automation code being driven by the abstract test specifications. Some technologies need human coding of the automated code triggered by abstract test definitions, while others include assistance routines that deal with more typical cases that may be deduced from the application components.
Smart Record & Playback Test Tools: This can be said as adaptive monitoring of user engagement with the app, storage of multiple object IDs, and machine learning ability to react to application changes in a restricted manner without compromising the test script.
Dumb Record & Playback Test Tools: These are brute force methods of capturing users’ interactions with the program. These test scripts are extremely fragile, and even the tiniest modification in the application might cause them to fail.
Test Automation and its failures
When we refer to automating tests, we usually compare its speed, efficiency and functionality to manual testing, along with how many more features it can cover while being consistent and reliable. However, focusing too much on its merits might lead to unrealistic expectations, causing you to believe that just implementing automated testing would provide you with those benefits.
That can’t be completely true, as automation tests are also prone to failing, especially if you don’t pay close attention to the most common causes. The following are the top ten causes why test automation fails.
1. Uncertainty about when to employ automation
Given that you won’t be able to automated all tests, you’ll need to determine when test automation is the best choice and when should manual testing be opted. Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to distinguish between the two, resulting in manual testing being used when automated testing would be a superior option – and vice versa.
When testing a stable piece that requires numerous repeats of the same activity, test automation is always preferable. Automating tests to verify a software feature, for example, is a fantastic idea, but not for testing across rendering difficulties.
2. Non-Reusable Static Data Record/Play Trap
Most test automation systems come with built-in record and play capabilities, which allow users to convert user activities on the existing application into test automation scripts. Users may rapidly construct automated tests for their circumstances using these. While this is easy to do, the catch is these scripts are created using static data that is seldom reused. Furthermore, any validations performed with the naked eye are not recorded by tools. Furthermore, every time the recorded scenario changes, testing teams will have to rerecord these. Any dynamic data that is lost during re-recording must be manually imported again. When choosing a tool or automating a script, it’s important to prevent the record and play method.
3. Non-existent parallel execution Vs testing framework
Automated tests may grow exceedingly complicated at times, requiring several activities in each run. Furthermore, sophisticated software frequently needs a set of automated tests to ensure that all criteria are met. This results in a big test backlog in the framework, which may be easily dealt with by running tests in parallel.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of knowledge and skill, many teams do not integrate parallel execution. It allows you to run various tests in different conditions, allowing you to make better use of your time and prevent timeout issues that might cause test automations to fail.
4. Lack of Maintenance
It isn’t enough to simply design, write, and execute tests. Various advancements like modifications, deletions, and addition of new features help the product evolve at an overall level. Tests can be varyingly valid for different versions across a product’s lifecycle. As a result, the regression tests should be periodically updated.
5. Misplaced Priorities
Test automation users frequently exhibit wrong priorities. Often these include prioritizing automating tests that are seldom performed and have low use cases value above tests that support application functionality and are not stabilized or are not as vital. In order to demonstrate progress, automation engineers often automate the simplest test case first.
6. Testing insufficiency and neglected reports
Automation necessitates the robustness and reliability of the testing. When a test fails, the testers must be certain that it is the result of human error. When this is not the case, the robustness must be near to 100 percent. Indeed, as with an integration chain, having a run of 100 tests that are 95 percent reliable is seemingly difficult. You must thus keep a count of your reports and testing numbers.
7. Testing everything
It’s all too tempting to believe that automated testing will solve all of your testing issues. The truth is that automated testing is not a substitute for manual testing. A human eye can verify some things better than a computer. Usability and exploratory testing, for example, are better left to manual testing teams. Testers must agree on what should and should not be automated, as well as when automated test cycles should be executed. Manual testers should constantly consider automation as a helping hand.
8. Picking unsuitable tools
Some tools are tailored to certain technologies, while others enable you to do specific sorts of tests including performance, user interfaces, webservices, etc. Selecting your tools is a critical aspect as trying to automating with one tool and then discovering that it cannot do a required set of operations only ends up wasting time and resources.
9. Ignoring the Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery Pipeline
The goal of CI/CD is to reduce the time it takes for software to be released. It allows teams to integrate minor incremental code changes on a continuous basis, test them fast, and make them accessible to end users. Test automation is an important part of the CI/CD process. Teams frequently fail to integrate automated tests with the CI/CD pipeline, which means they aren’t getting the most of automated tests or the CI/CD tool. To swiftly provide quality releases to the market, test teams must design automated build acceptance, smoke, and/or restricted regression test suites and connect them with their CI/CD workflow.
10. Maintenance of Automation
Regular maintenance is required for any test automation, whether it is performed automatically by the tool or manually by the user. Many professionals in this field do not consider maintenance effort when choosing an automation tool. neither are automated scripts designed with the goal of minimizing maintenance overhead. It is also seen that maintenance is also completely ignored for an extended period of time – all of these collectively reduces test automation coverage and progress.
When choosing an automation technology, it’s important to consider the maintenance costs. An instrument that has the ability to self-heal is clearly superior than one that does not. Even with self-healing solutions, test teams must stay on top of any incoming application updates and ensure that automation scripts are maintained from time to time.
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It’s critical to automate your testing if you want to increase your productivity and efficiency while also improving the quality of the items you create. As a result, you should strive to include automated tests in your testing framework at all times. That does not imply that you must embrace such tests without question.
There are various mistakes to avoid if you want to get through your automated testing strategy. To prevent them, you’ll need a mix of experience, skills, and the right tools.
Now that you’ve learned about the problems of test automation and how to overcome them, it’s time to plan for all of them and reduce the chances of test automation failures.
Well, test automation isn’t rocket science, and its success is primarily dependent on the test strategy’s preparation and execution. It’s the most effective strategy to avoid automation testing failures, since failing to pay attention to these details might lead to the loss of test automation jobs. To achieve the greatest outcomes, all testing problems and bottlenecks must be adequately addressed.