6 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Selecting a Test Automation Solution
One of the critical factors for realizing the benefits of test automation is the tool that’s selected for implementing automation. A wrong choice of test automation tool can lead to failure and frustration at all levels.
As the demand for delivering high software quality is increasing, organizations are moving toward test automation. In the past few years, test automation has progressed from a good-to-have technology to a quintessential one. Today, most organizations are heavily dependent on test automation to ensure the quality of their applications and systems. Test automation is increasing the overall business productivity and agility while enabling organizations to confidently release high-quality applications within the shortest time.
One of the critical factors for realizing the benefits of Test Automation is the tool that’s selected for implementing automation. A wrong choice of Test Automation tool can lead to failure and frustration at all levels.
From our experience, gained while interacting with several test automation clients across industries, we have identified some common mistakes that organizations make repeatedly, which result in test automation failure and decrease ROI. In this article, we talk about some of those commonly made mistakes and the remedies to avoid them.
#1: Undefined Goals and Expectations
Most organizations start searching for a test automation solution soon after they have completed creating a list of things to automate. However, they have skipped an important step in the process. Before you start the hunt for a befitting test automation solution, it is important to understand – why do you want to adopt test automation? What challenges do you want to tackle with test automation? How will automation help improve your operations?
Remedy: Before starting the search for a viable test automation solution, organizations should think and define both goals and expectations for the test automation project. It is essential to ensure that the adoption of a test automation solution directly boosts quality, productivity, and delivers quick results.
#2: Selecting Wrong Things for Automation
Many organizations and their development teams end up automating things that are not apt for automation. Most test teams get into such a situation while responding to the management goals, such as a mandate for the organization to automate 90% of testing. In their quest to reach the percentage, teams might end up automating the wrong things.
One common miscalculation made by teams regarding the selection of test cases is trying to translate your existing testing activities one-to-one into automation. This leads to a wastage of much time and effort on things that are never meant to be automated. Similarly, spending months of effort on creating automation scripts to run a test needed only once or twice a year is a complete wastage of efforts.
Remedy: It is essential to select tests for automation that are repeatable and deterministic. For successful outcomes with measurable ROI, select test scenarios that will be required again and again, if not every day. You may also automate things like performance testing that can be done efficiently only with an automated tool.
#3: Choosing a Solution that doesn’t cover all Testing Needs
Today, there are hundreds of test automation solutions to choose from, so making the right selection can be tricky. And many a times organizations end up purchasing a solution that is too technical for their end-users. It has to be kept in mind that the test automation solution would be utilized by people with or without technical skills. While some team members might be comfortable with coding, there would be non-coders too. The solution you choose must suffice the skillsets of both these groups. Therefore, the organizations need to assess the skillsets of their team and include them as a part of the request for proposal. Toward this, there are three broad types of tester profiles:
- Developer Testers: Users who prefer to use their preferred coding medium for test writing.
- Technical Testers: Test automation specialists who prefer using higher-level solutions that utilize modeling and don’t require coding skills.
- Business testers: Non-technical users who perform acceptance testing, usability testing, etc., and prefer natural language for test writing.
Remedy: Shortlist a few test automation solutions and take trial runs for each of them. Let the actual testers from each of the above-mentioned categories use the solution, to uncover the gaps. Ideally, organizations should look for solutions that cover both coders and non-coders. Toward this, certain test automation solutions allow both codeless and code-based editing.
#4: Selecting an Open-source Tool
There are some great open-source tools available in the market today, and the general acceptance of open source tools is on the rise. However, this fact alone shouldn’t be your primary selection criterion. Generally, open-source tools require more technical skills. Users will not be able to contact the vendor if something is not working. While such tools might seem initially very attractive (primarily due to their lack of licensing fee) they come with many limitations. Some have quite limited functionalities and might not offer the features you require. If you require an automation tool just for simple reporting, then the open-source option might fit the bill, but for intensive testing purposes, you should opt for a commercial solution.
Remedy: You might choose an open-source tool initially just to get a feel of test automation, but be ready to shift to a commercial solution that offers a better range of features and round-the-clock support services. Even if you choose an open-source tool initially, evaluate the vitality of the specific open-source community that is behind the tool, to determine if there will be free community support available when required.
#5: Turning a blind eye for additional costs
Businesses run on a specific budget, understandably, organizations look for every opportunity to cut costs. However, cost savings should not be the top criteria, else you will get into trouble upon purchasing the test automation solution. It is always essential to consider the total cost of ownership for the solution.
If you want to shift from one commercial product to another due to low licensing, keep in mind that thousands of scripts already created would have to be rewritten while handling all the new things coming in every day. It would take years before you get back on track and earn some savings. Additionally, the team will need hours of training and support to get comfortable with the new solution. All this would add up to the total cost of ownership.
Remedy: Always consider all associated costs before migrating from one test automation solution to another. Factor in the costs of migrating existing tests, training, and support required for the new solution, and business disruption that might be caused by this transition.
#6: Inadequate training for team members
When transitioning to test automation, most organizations fail to realize that making a change is easy, but influencing teams to accept the change is the hard part. Organizations that adopt an automation solution without taking their team onboard struggle with poor user adoption and unfulfilled ROI later. Consequently, to ensure the support of the team, organizations need to keep the end-users in the loop and prepare them for the change through proper training.
Remedy: Before finalizing a solution allow some handpicked users to take a trial run of the product and share their observations. Once the solution is implemented, users should be provided with proper training. Many test automation solution providers offer comprehensive onboarding support, wherein they organize training and adaptation sessions. Choosing such a service provider would be a good option.
Some of the abovementioned pointers might seem trivial, but you would be surprised how many organizations don’t follow these best practices while choosing a test automation solution. And now that you know about mistakes organizations make and their remedies, we hope you would be able to make the best choice of solution to take your testing practice to the next level.
Inject Speed and Quality into Your Testing Process
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