Software testing is a crucial part of the software development process. Developers and engineers are now adapting the automated ways of testing the software. Nobody can replace manual testing because it has its own merits and demerits. Automation testing only enhances traditional ways of manual testing by improving processes, saving time and resources, and creating high-quality software.
Testers need to spend a chunk of their time forming a strategy to make sure everything goes smoothly and as expected. You can’t just start performing automation testing out of nowhere. It requires planning, strategizing, and most importantly, understanding how it works by thoroughly studying the technical facts.
This blog post discusses what conceptualizes an effective test automation plan and how to implement one?
Let’s start by answering a foundational question. Why do you need to plan a test automation strategy in the first place?
Need For Test Automation Strategy
When you are testing the software and coming up with all sorts of ideas to make the product error-free and reliable, what do you think of? Most importantly, how do you know what to think of? Do you want to make it look fancy by adding cool features? Or do you simply create what you think everyone will want? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it’s time to step back and reconsider that choice. Because that’s not how real-world businesses work.
You have to tie your ideas with the real business value it can provide. Having a test automation strategy will be a realistic approach to turn your ideas into reality. It will contain all the facts as to why you are doing what you are doing. The impact of every action and the demonstration of potential ROI it can provide will prevent your project from getting canceled or not even getting approved in the first place.
In simpler terms, no strategy means no vision. You need a plan of action to have a sense of clarity. As you work on the project, its requirements will change over time. You may realize the framework you needed before is of no use now. A new application is needed to automate, or the entire technology needs to be changed.
Glitches like these will hinder the completion of the project. You may end up postponing or scraping the entire project off.
But with a clear vision and clear strategy, you will always see the bigger picture. You will realize that these glitches are challenges and not setbacks. This will only happen when you know where you are going because a lack of clarity creates a delay in success.
Also, without a solid plan of action in hand, technology efficiency losses are bound to happen. The technology used should be according to the application you are building. Otherwise, you will end up providing a different solution for a completely different problem.
What is a Test Automation Strategy?
Now that we know the need for an effective automation strategy, it’s time to know the technical aspects of what it actually contains.
To be precise, the test automation strategy is just a microscopic part of the entire testing journey. It’s a small but very crucial step that determines how reliable and efficient the application will be. Think of it as a plan that outlines how and when to use automation testing in a software development project.
The overall goal is to improve the efficiency and reliability of the testing process by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This will allow the testing team to focus on more complex and critical aspects of the software.
Steps to Plan a Test Automation Strategy
Creating a successful test automation strategy requires careful planning and consideration. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective test automation strategy that is not only reliable but easy to understand as well.
Step 1: Start By Defining Goals and Setting Clear Objectives
The first step in planning a test automation strategy is to clearly define the objectives and goals. Understanding why you are automating tests helps in making informed decisions throughout the process.
You need to set a clear vision before getting started with the testing process. A clear vision combined with thorough research yields high-quality software. While setting up the goals and objectives of your project, consider some aspects like test coverage, release cycles, and resource optimization.
Test coverage will identify the scope of automation. As mentioned before, manual testing can never be fully replaced by automation testing. Test coverage will help you figure out which areas will benefit from the automation and which ones require manual testing.
Release cycles will show how often the application is updated or released. Short-release cycles may demand a continuous testing approach and the ability to move quickly and easily.
Resource optimization is done to figure out whether the primary goal is to save time, reduce costs, or improve overall testing accuracy.
Step 2: Identify Risk and Understand Your Technology, Tools, and Resources.
Once the goals are clear, it’s time to get familiar with the risks. While testing your application, it’s important to know what to test first and what to test last. This prioritization must be done through a risk-based approach.
In simpler terms, things with the highest probability of failure should be tested first and things with the lowest probability of failure should be at the bottom. This will prevent testing squeeze as you will know what to cut first.
Other than this, understanding your technology, tools, and resources is also a must. It’s all about having the right solutions to your automation problems. Check if you have the proper accounts to run the application or not. Have functional environmental access, the right libraries, APIs, and other pieces required for testing.
Step 3: Define Your DevSecOps and Make Sure to Use the Right Data in the Right Shape.
First and foremost, the data you’re using for testing needs to be accurate and complete. It should also be relevant to what you are testing. If you’re checking how your app handles different situations, your data should cover a variety of possibilities. Keep in mind the privacy and security of your data, especially if it involves personal information.
DevSecOps is a collaborative approach to software development that brings together development, security, and operations teams. It’s a well-coordinated team of experts where everyone plays an important role in ensuring the success and security of the software.
While defining your DevSecOps, ask some questions like, Where is the code stored? How are you deploying it? What environments are you running it on and are they safe? Are the libraries and open-source code you’re using secure? Solutions to these questions will come in handy while creating a strategy.
Step 4: Tag your Tests and Document Around Environmental Conditions.
It is important to tag your tests for the sake of organizational clarity. There are thousands of automation test scripts available while testing the application. If you have not tagged each test script into its respective group, then it will be difficult to sort them out. You won’t be able to differentiate between test scripts that are for check-out, login, smoke tests, and so on.
Everything that you do while testing the application must be documented. Whether you are using tokens or VPNs, need a launch box, or want to onboard new testers. Every single detail of what you do, how you do it, and why you do it must be thoroughly explained.
Step 5: Use the Same Testing Logic to Create Efficiencies and Embrace Agile Tools
Look for tasks that repeat a lot, like checking the same things over and over, and find a way to make a computer do it for you. Also, see if you can make different tests run at the same time, so you don’t have to wait too long for results.
Agile tools help your testing team work together smoothly and quickly adapt to changes. They are also useful in organizing tasks and communicating effectively. These tools ensure that your tests run automatically whenever there’s a change in the software, giving quick feedback to the team. In the end, embracing agile tools makes your testing process faster and more adaptable.
Step 6: Use LambdaTest to Plan Test Automation Strategies
LambdaTest, an AI-powered test orchestration and test execution platform, helps create and implement an efficient test automation strategy. Its ability to execute tests in parallel speeds up the testing process and real-time interactive testing helps deal with issues related to user interactions.
It can also be integrated with popular automation frameworks to simplify the planning phase by providing an effortless transition of existing scripts. The test reports generated by the platform help in informed decision-making and align the team goals during the planning process.
A well-structured test automation strategy is not just about automation; it’s about elevating the entire development process. Crafting a test automation strategy is like planning the steps to check if the software works well or not. It involves understanding what needs to be tested and choosing tools that help the team work effortlessly. All of this is done while keeping the testing process flexible.
Regularly update and maintain your automated tests to be in touch with the ever-evolving features of the application. Remember, the main aim of creating a strategy is to focus on your goals and communication. Find ways to deliver value and win the support of your business partners, product owners, and project managers.
The strategic use of tools like LambdaTest can be a game-changer for your entire planning process. It helps in creating strategies that not only meet but exceed the demands of the digital era.