Considerations for designing a test automation strategy

The importance of test automation is evident. As more and more organizations move towards continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), the elimination of manual processes in the testing pipeline is critical to ensuring a quality product is delivered rapidly and reliably.

But automation in and of itself doesn’t create value for your organization. Automating flawed processes doesn’t help, nor does simply throwing tools at the problem. In this article, we’ll explore a few things to consider when designing a test automation strategy that will yield the rewards you and your team are looking for.

Focus on automating the right tests

Test automation has the potential to improve your existing testing pipeline significantly, but it also requires a rethinking of the testing process as a whole to create actual value. Simply taking each manual process and automating it can lead to wasted time–or worse, it can complicate certain feedback loops that cause more manual work elsewhere in the development pipeline.

The key is to identify which parts of your testing process create bottlenecks and focus on automating those. Automating testing processes outside the bottleneck creates the illusion of speed but doesn’t make things run more quickly. For example, automating a test that runs annually takes more time than it saves. On the other hand, automating repetitive, frequent tests provides immediate value. It’s also important to think about automating high-risk test processes or those with a high degree of failure. Putting solid thought into what you’re automating and why delivers far better results.

Tools are just that: tools

With the rapid proliferation of test automation tools, it can seem as though procuring new tools will automatically bring gains to your testing process. However, tools are only as good as the people that use them and the strategy behind their use. Building the right team with the proper skillsets and focusing on using the right tool for the right job is critical to success.

Make sure that you fully understand your needs, limitations, and requirements and establish your criteria before selecting a tool. In addition to budget and licensing costs, your criteria might include:

  • Ease of use
  • Scripting capabilities
  • Reporting capabilities
  • Programming language support
  • Technical support
  • Integration requirements

Build for the future

Successful test automation is not a “set it and forget it” solution. Constant changes in infrastructure, software libraries, user interfaces, and third-party dependencies must be considered when building a test automation framework.

Like software development itself, effective automation is an ongoing process, and it’s vital to have the right resources in place to keep up with that process. Whether in-house or outsourced, ensure you’ve built a team that can keep your significant investment in test automation running smoothly well into the future.

Test automation is a powerful tool, but it is not a quick fix. It is crucial to build your test automation framework on a solid foundation, which means putting serious thought into your roadmap. Cobbling together tools and throwing bodies at the process may provide the illusion of improvement but is not a sustainable approach. Having the right people, partners, and processes in place will ensure you get the most out of your investment from day one and well into the future.

Tap industry experts

The experts at Beyondsoft can help your organization get your test automation strategy off the ground. Over the past ten years Beyondsoft has helped countless companies accelerate release cycles, reduce risk, and streamline processes. Our customers benefit from our extensive DevOps expertise across platforms such as AWS and Azure.

As an AWS DevOps Competency Partner, our certified practitioners combine agile AWS tools, best practices, and methodologies along with our BCI DevOps enablement framework to establish an enterprise-scalable CI/CD platform with automated testing practices to expedite innovation and meet your business objectives. To learn more, contact us today.

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