"Ancora Imparo" - I'm still learning (Michelangelo at 87)

Why is it So Hard to Introduce Automated Testing in Your Development Process

Automated testing is all the rage in agile contexts these days. There’s no wonder since it works great for many types of testing and helps QAs execute complex test cases located on various platforms and involve a lot of data. It also benefits organizations in multiple ways, such as increasing the productivity of the test team, enhancing software quality, and reducing the time to market.

However, organizations have to face a lot of challenges when trying to apply automated testing into their development process. The seven most common challenges that make the transformation from manual testing to automation more difficult are the following:

  1. Not having a clear idea of what to automate
  2. Difficulties in picking up the right automation tool
  3. Lack of communication and collaboration within the team
  4. Difficulties in choosing a testing approach
  5. High upfront costs
  6. Not having skilled resources for automation
  7. Understanding the prospects of stakeholders and end-users

So let’s have a closer look at the challenges.

1. Not Having a Clear Idea of What to Automate

If you believe that 100% automation is possible, you are dreaming. You can’t automate each and every single test case. Some tests will be difficult to automate due to technology constraints. Specifically, in areas such as compatibility, user interface, or recovery, most of the testing needs to be done manually. For example, some testing frameworks will not support test cases that run across several browser sessions or different devices. Therefore, before you start thinking about automation, you have to come up with a list of criteria that test cases must fulfil in order to be automatized.

The ROI on automated tests varies depending on several factors. Thus, you have to decide which test cases are critical and need to be given a high priority when automating. Normally, it’s the areas that are

  • exposed to risk,
  • of importance to clients,
  • or feature complex business logic.

Recognize these application areas and test case specifications to ensure that your automation efforts payback.

It’s a good idea to automate test cases that run in different environments, with different sets of data or large volumes of data. In contrast, you shouldn’t try to automate test cases that needed to be run once or twice like test cases for a rarely used feature. 

2. Difficulties in Picking up the Right Automation Tool

This is a major challenge most development companies go through when introducing automated testing. Test automation requires tools and development teams to find it difficult to choose the right tool for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Testers are lacking the necessary skills to make the most out of a particular automation tool.
  • Selected tools are not offering 100% test coverage.
  • The cost of automation tools exceeding the test budget.
  • Not knowing if the tool they need exists.

Various steps can be followed in order to mitigate these issues. For instance, if your testers don’t know how to use a specific automation tool effectively, you can arrange a training session with its provider, prepare an online course for them, or recruit a consultant who can help your testers to master it. If you’re still searching for the right automation tool, reach out to the testing community.  Forums like Stack Exchange are a valuable source of information.

Among numerous automated testing tools available in the market today, Testup is a new player that stands out of all the rest due to its excellent and unique features. It enables easy setup for users with a high focus on usability and supports complex test scenarios to boost your software quality. 

Testup covers all the essential use cases such as Front-end testing, End-to-End testing, CI/CD, Test-driven development (TDD), Robotic Process Automation(RPA) and many more. Codeless test automation is one most impressive features of Testup that saves enormous time for developers. In the future, Testup is likely to address most of the challenges organizations face when trying to adapt to automated testing.

3. Lack of Communication and Collaboration within the Team

Automated testing usually requires more communication and collaboration between team members than manual testing. You cannot run a successful testing process if the team fails to get involved adequately in setting automation targets and goals. Therefore, the team members need to be actively involved there.

Automation depends on historical test data, experience, and sometimes even proof of concept that can be obtained only through your team. Thus, the entire team should stay on the same page for automated testing to work properly.

Furthermore, you need to gain solid team management support on hand before you start with automated testing. It is also important to build a collaborative working environment where team members can communicate with each other regularly to deliver test results timely with minimum risk.

4. Difficulties in Choosing a Testing Approach

This is another most significant challenge automation engineers face when trying to go ahead with automated testing. They need to find out the right test automation approach to suit their needs. For that, they may need to ask the following questions from themselves:

  • How can we reduce the implementation and maintenance cost of test suites?
  • Will the selected automation tool be able to generate useful test reports?
  • Will these test suites last a long period of time at our company?

The above points are highly important when it comes to an agile development environment where the testing application constantly changes, and test automation should be implemented to identify these changes, helping the team stick into a cost-effective maintenance strategy. Therefore, you should consider embracing an automation solution that automatically detects these changes and updates or re-validates the test.

5. High Upfront Costs

Test automation will involve high costs at its initial phase. These costs associated with setting up a test automation suite hold back many companies from incorporating automated testing into their development process.

Therefore, make sure to analyze and create a test automation framework including elements like libraries of reusable functions before proposing the automation suite to the management. You need to add hardware costs as well as software costs, including licensing costs if you intend to use paid software. Even if you pick an open-source solution, you still have to consider some costs, such as maintaining and providing training. 

Convincing the management that test automation is worth all the effort might be a difficult task. However, the potential ROI is a clever argument there, so prepare an automation strategy along with a complete budget and go for it.

6. Not Having Skilled Resources for Automation

In automated testing, the teams have to design and maintain the necessary test automation frameworks, along with test scripts, build solutions, and many other vital elements. Therefore, the teams need to have a solid understanding of the design and implementation of the automated testing framework to work as expected. That’s the reason why you should build your team with testing resources who possess strong programming skills and test automation skills.

However, with Testup, organizations can eliminate the demand for skilled resources in automated testing since it is a no-code automation tool.

7. Understanding the Prospects of Stakeholders and End-Users

It doesn’t matter how perfect your testing tools or resources are – you have to always bear in mind that testing can’t be conducted in a vacuum. It serves a specific objective which is basically improving your software product.

While automated testing is a great option for automatically checking your software for bugs, humans still need to carry out non-automated testing scenarios. These tests return plenty of useful information to make optimal decisions for improving the system, not in the view of developers but the end-users.

Because of that, it’s important to make sure that the management, your testing team, and other stakeholders all understand and accept the expected results of your test automation strategy before implementing it.

Bottom Line

While test automation can bring plenty of benefits to testing teams and organizations, it can be difficult to implement due to various issues and constraints. Anyway, if you identify the challenges involved in introducing automated testing and prepare well for them, your organization can reap the benefits of it.

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About the Autor

shanikan.wick

shanikan.wick

Shanika is a software engineer by profession. Being a graduate in Information Technology, she has gained expertise in Web development and Software testing. She is keen to share her knowledge and considers writing as the best medium to do so. She is passionate about everything she does, but apart from her busy schedule she always finds time to travel and enjoy nature. You can reach her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanikawickramasinghe/

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