Your test automation strategy is the foundation of your final product. The difference between delivering your app’s potential impact to market, or having to watch it fail comes down to the rigors of your QA process. A test automation strategy is your perfect plan for executing that process.
Your QA automation roadmap needs to be comprehensive enough to consider every variable of your testing process, from the nature of your workflows through to the selection of the right testing tools, from the selection of your QA expert to the composition of your Agile development team.
The 8 tips mentioned below represent the essential test automation best practices. They are guides that ensure you have the key ingredients front-of-mind when considering the right approach to producing a robust software application that will deliver on its consumer promise.
Test Automation Strategy Tips
1. Outsourcing your QA
2. Testing early and often with Agile
3. Balancing automated and manual testing
4. Prioritization of automatable test cases
5. Calculating the ROI of automation
6. Selecting the right test automation tool
7. Selecting and developing the right automation framework
8. Monitoring and maintaining automation
Together, these 8 pieces of advice can lead you toward creating better products within a better software development environment.
Outsourcing Your QA
Not only does outsourcing QA services to an offshore team improve resource efficiency, but it also improves the overall performance of your software application. QA experts have the training and industry knowledge to use the best testing strategies for ensuring security and compliance, and have a good hold of the right tools, frameworks and technologies to test your product and ensure that it is performing as expected.
By outsourcing quality assurance, you can partner with a highly skilled automation testing team. Moreover, by choosing an offshore or nearshore vendor, you can significantly reduce costs compared to domestic alternatives, and also rely heavily on domain experts who are familiar with all the latest software enhancements in your field. They can learn quickly and come up to speed with your development cycle, while your engineers can continue to focus their attention where it matters the most.
The risk of leaving your QA test strategy to developers who are pressed into roles beyond their expertise far outweighs any concerns with bringing in external experts. If you are not QA experts, then outsourcing your QA testing needs is an important step towards success.
Testing Early and Often with Agile
Agile test environments are built to accommodate change. The continual cycle of innovation and testing over several iterations ensures balance between function and stability. The ability to incorporate input from cross-functional teams prioritizes the ultimate end goal of user satisfaction at all phases. And incorporating QA processes early on in development is more efficient and cheaper than making changes late in the delivery process.
Coupling the leading software development approach with the most resource-efficient method of outsourcing allows you scale up your operations rapidly to deliver quality products faster. An agile offshore QA relationship is ideal in many respects, since you can have easy access to industry expertise, and thereby improve the ROI of your projects. In addition, strong, consistent communication must be a priority. This includes a commitment to your internal communication flow that keeps end goals in focus, and it includes a commitment to dynamic cooperation with your external QA partners. In time, when working together and communicating under the Agile testing approach, separate teams can merge to create an even stronger software development force.
Balancing Automated and Manual Testing
Knowing how to strike the right balance between the speed of automation testing and the human insights of manual testing is just one of the advantages of partnering with an external QA expert. The only way to ensure 100% test coverage is to complement automation with manual testing—as neither testing strategy alone can guarantee your product’s market performance.
Manual testing is necessarily more labor intensive, but there is no better way to simulate the end user experience than through the eyes and expertise of a human engineer. If your users are human, there should be a human element to your test phase.
Your QA partners know how to strategize the intersection of manual and automation test cases for the best ROI in the long run.
Prioritization of Automatable Test Cases
It is impossible to automate all the testing scenarios, hence it is equally necessary to segregate automatable and non-automatable test cases. Once you have the complete set of automatable test cases, it is time to evaluate the ones that run frequently and have high priority.
In QA, the first thing we do is select the test cases for automation based upon various parameters, like the tests which are run very frequently, or the ones that require a long time due to manual execution. After selecting the tests, we automate them based upon priority.
In this way, you ensure high-priority coverage of your application features, which is critical from a business perspective.
Calculating the ROI of Automation
With proper upfront documentation of the preferred automation approach, it is possible to anticipate the complete ROI of automation even before implementing any automation framework. This can also provide a picture of how much time you can save with manual vs automation testing. Moreover, we can see how many resources need to be engaged for automation efforts. Based upon ROI and future goals, we can alter the count of automation and manual engineers within the QA team.
Selecting the Right Test Automation Tool
Manual testing won’t be totally replaced by automation any time soon, but the time savings offered by automated testing are too great to ignore. This advantage has led to a proliferation of automation tools. As a result, there is flexibility enough within the market to find an automation solution that suits your unique product, development environment and the skills and preferences of your team.
QA experts can help onsite teams to choose the best automation tool based on project and platform requirements, and advise them to opt for the latest tools available in the market. Before starting the automation process, our QA team can evaluate the top 3 automation tools, and their effectiveness on the client’s product, and then choose the best option.
Selecting and Developing the Right Framework
Your QA resource checklist does not end with the automation tools. There are a number of choices to be made in how you structure your test framework, and they can have a profound impact on the efficiency of your development process. Current thinking favors modular, portable and reusable frameworks designed to cover the entire life of your product. This framework is the foundation of your automation process, and hence, there is much to consider.
Use our guide to Automation Framework Design to make sure you understand what is possible, and optimal, when establishing the basis of your QA efforts. No matter how strong your code is, if you do not have the right framework, your automated test is at risk of breaking.
Monitoring and Maintaining Automation
Your framework and tools selection should always be guided by strong elements of test automation monitoring and maintenance. The former ensures that you and your team receive constant feedback on the progress and results of your automation testing. Not every automation tool includes an easily understood reporting component, so be aware of which stakeholders need to receive such reports before making a commitment.
Similarly, there are differences in the ease with which maintenance can be performed across various tools. You want something that can be easily amended and reused and one that includes detailed failure logs so script error can be fixed with a minimum of fuss. With a grip on maintenance and monitoring, your test automation strategy is sustainable. Fortunately, offshore Agile teams are trained and prepared to communicate and report effectively, ensuring smooth workflows and a robust QA process overall.
Get Your Test Automation Strategy Right
Building your test plan around these 8 elements will go a long way toward executing a reliable, reusable and effective QA process.
Your test automation strategy is the key first step toward producing a quality product. As you follow these tips, pay attention to the important questions that arise; you cannot build a firm and lasting foundation if you do not first consider all the relevant variables. You’ll run across questions to ask your own team and also your QA expert for greater clarity. As always, the perfect test solution is one that delivers against your own specific deadlines, resource limitations and product potential.
QASource has the experience and expertise to take your test phase from planning right through to launch. Get a free quote or call +1.925.271.5555 today and get your comprehensive QA process started correctly.