Test Automation Strategy: 8 Tips to Create the Ultimate Plan

QASource Engineering Team
QASource Engineering Team | December 12, 2023
8 Tips for Creating the Ultimate Test Automation Strategy

In today's business world, companies are looking for ways to improve their QA testing process and stay ahead of the competition. Creating an automation strategy is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. Test automation is crucial for businesses because it helps improve software testing efficiency and accuracy while reducing manual efforts and costs. It enables organizations to test software faster and with greater coverage, allowing them to identify and resolve issues quickly.

For example, an eCommerce company could use test automation to regularly check the functionality of their checkout process, ensuring a seamless experience for their customers. By implementing a comprehensive test automation strategy, businesses can improve the quality of their software and reduce the risk of software failures, ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction and revenue.

The 8 tips mentioned below represent the essential test automation best practices. As you consider the right approach for producing robust software applications that will deliver on the consumer's promise, these plans will ensure you keep the key ingredients in mind.

Test Automation Strategy Tips

  • Outsourcing your QA
  • Testing early and often with Agile
  • Balancing automated and manual testing
  • Prioritization of automatable test cases
  • Calculating the ROI of automation
  • Selecting the right test automation tool
  • Selecting and developing the right automation framework
  • Monitoring and maintaining automation

But before we talk about the above mentioned strategies, let’s understand the test automation strategy.


What Is a Test Automation Strategy?

It is a plan for incorporating automated processes into a company's operations to avoid testing failures. It outlines:

  • Areas that will be automated
  • Testing methods and tools to be used in your software development life cycle

A well-designed automation strategy can bring numerous benefits to a company, including improved efficiency and coverage, accuracy, higher ROI, and cost savings.


Why Do We Need a Test Automation Strategy?


Are you manually testing and encountering QA bottlenecks, errors due to human negligence, and increased production bugs? You may have tried test automation before but gave up because it was too difficult.

A poor test automation strategy may result in downtime, low customer satisfaction, and a bad reputation for the company. On the other hand, a well-designed strategy can help prevent technology failures and keep your firm competitive. Here are some scenarios when things could go wrong without an automation approach:

  • Incorrect Technology: If you don't have an automation strategy, you will end up using the incorrect tools and technologies. And if you choose the incorrect tools in the long run, you might face a lot of problems.
  • Risk analysis: The strategy also helps predict the risk involved with test automation. The strategy will outline present risks, how to reduce them, possible remedies, and alternatives. Without a strategy, you won't be able to predict future dangers or address them in time.

Now, let us discuss the 8 test automation strategies necessary for your business in detail:

  1. Outsourcing your QA

    Outsourcing your Quality Assurance (QA) refers to engaging an external agency to manage the testing aspects of software development. This strategy is chosen for several reasons:

    • Expertise and Specialization: Outsourcing firms often specialize in testing and bring a wealth of experience across various domains. This can be particularly beneficial for projects requiring specific testing expertise that is unavailable in-house.
    • Scalability: Outsourcing provides the flexibility to scale QA efforts up or down as per project needs, which is especially useful for handling peak loads or specific testing phases.
    • Focus on Core Competencies: By outsourcing QA, the internal team can focus on core development and other critical aspects of the project, leaving the specialized testing task to external experts.
  2. Testing Early and Often with Agile

    Incorporating testing within Agile methodologies involves integrating testing activities throughout the software development lifecycle rather than treating them as a separate phase. This approach has several key aspects:

    • Continuous Integration and Testing: Agile methodologies advocate for continuous integration of code and its testing. This ensures early detection of defects and reduces the cost and effort of fixing them later in the development cycle.
    • Collaborative Approach: Testing in Agile is a collaborative effort involving developers, QA professionals, and business analysts. This ensures a shared understanding of the project goals and facilitates the creation of more relevant and effective test cases.
    • Rapid Feedback Cycles: Agile testing provides quick feedback on changes, enabling the team to make swift adjustments. This helps maintain the software's high quality throughout the development process.
    • Emphasis on Automation: Agile methodologies encourage automated testing to handle repetitive and regression tests, freeing QA professionals to focus on more complex testing scenarios.
  3. Balancing Automated and Manual Testing

    Knowing how to strike the right balance between the speed of automated testing and the human insights of manual testing is just one of the advantages of partnering with an external QA expert. Complementing automation with manual testing is the only way to ensure 100% test coverage, as no 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 in 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.

  4. Prioritization of Automatable Test Cases

    It is impossible to automate all the testing scenarios; hence, segregating automatable and non-automatable test cases is equally necessary. 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, we first select the test cases for automation based on various parameters, like the tests that run very frequently or the ones that require a long time due to manual execution. After selecting the tests, we automate them based on priority.

    In this way, you ensure high-priority coverage of your application features, which is critical from a business perspective.

  5. 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 show how much time you can save with manual vs automation testing. Moreover, we can see how many resources must be engaged for automation efforts. Based on ROI and future goals, we can alter the count of automation and manual engineers within the QA team.

  6. Selecting the Right Test Automation Tool

    Manual testing won’t be replaced by automation soon. Still, the time savings offered by automated testing are too significant to ignore. This advantage has led to a proliferation of automation tools. As a result, there is enough flexibility within the market to find an automation solution that suits your unique product, the development environment, and the skills and preferences of your team.

    QA experts can help onsite teams 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.

  7. Selecting and Developing the Right Framework

    Your QA resource checklist does not end with the automation tools. When setting up your test framework, you have several choices to make. These choices can greatly affect how efficiently 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 Automation Framework Design guide to ensure you understand what is possible and optimal when establishing the basis of your QA efforts. No matter how strong your code is, your automated test is at risk of breaking if you don't have the right framework.

  8. Monitoring and Maintaining Automation

    Your framework and tool selection should always be guided by strong test automation monitoring and maintenance elements. The former ensures that you and your team receive constant feedback on the progress and results of your automation testing. Some automation tools don't have an easy-to-understand reporting feature, so it's important to know which stakeholders should receive those reports before you decide which tool to use.

    Similarly, there are differences in the ease with which maintenance can be performed across various tools. You want something easily amended and reused, including detailed failure logs, so that script errors can be fixed with minimal fuss. With a grip on maintenance and monitoring, your 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.


Benefits of Creating a Test Automation Strategy

Let's examine the main benefits of the QA automation strategy in more detail:

  • Time and Resource Savings

    A time-saving and resource-saving feature is one of its advantages. Automated tests run much faster than manual tests and do not require the same level of human intervention. This means that teams can focus on more strategic tasks rather than spending time on repetitive and time-consuming manual testing, which can lead to time and resource savings.

  • Improved Accuracy

    Automated testing eliminates the potential for human error, leading to increased accuracy in results. Automated tests can also cover a wider range of scenarios and test cases, increasing the overall accuracy of the results. This can significantly impact the quality of a company's products and services, helping to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Gives Quick Feedback

    Automated testing has a significant advantage in providing quicker feedback. With automated testing, results are delivered immediately, helping to improve a product's quality and user experience.

    On the other hand, manual testing takes a lot of time because the tester needs to find and fix problems before testing the improved features.

    Automated testing saves time as it eliminates the need for manual labor, allowing for faster bug fixes and more time for serving customers.

  • Expanded Test Coverage

    Automated testing enables you to test many scenarios and conditions, leading to more comprehensive test coverage. This results in improved product quality and a better user experience.


Challenges and Pitfalls to Avoid

Implementing a robust test automation strategy can be challenging, and one can face multiple issues or roadblocks while setting up an automation workflow. Here are some common challenges that should be avoided:

  • Constant changes in User Interface: Nowadays, most applications have dynamic elements, which could become challenging as creating scripts that can locate those dynamic UI elements could be difficult.
  • Maintenance of Test Scripts: Creating a script that is easy to maintain and understand could be challenging. It is important to consider a script's scalability while designing the automation test strategy.
  • Instability in Test Environment: An unstable test environment can impact the reliability of the tests. Maintaining a stable test environment can be challenging. Thus, it should be discussed while designing the automation test strategy.
  • CI/CD Integration: While integrating the automated tests with a CI/CD pipeline, ensure it has sufficient infrastructure for reliable feedback. CI/CD integration could be complex and should be done carefully.
  • Documenting the requirements: Documenting the requirements for automation test scripts is very important for knowledge transfer and maintenance. Hence, it must be addressed. Documenting is usually considered tedious, but it is crucial for a project.

Best Practices for Successful Test Automation Strategy

To design a test automation strategy that is effective and scalable, some best practices that could be followed are mentioned below:

  • Well-defined Objectives: It is very important to have a clear understanding of the objectives of your automation strategy. These should be clearly defined to avoid misunderstandings in the future. This should be the first step to discuss the goals and objectives that must be fulfilled thoroughly.
  • Maintaining Test Data: Maintenance of test data is crucial for creating a successful test automation strategy. To manage the test data efficiently, it should be parameterized, ensuring its independence from the test scripts. It should be stored in a dedicated database to ensure easy access. Test data generation tools could also be used to generate various data sets that could be used in the test scripts.
  • Using Version Control: A version control system can reduce the time and effort needed for a task by keeping track of the changes and making it much easier to return to any previous version whenever needed. Thus, using a version control system in your project is considered a best practice.
  • Team with Appropriate Skills: Having a team with the relevant skill set required for your test automation is very important. Ensuring team members stay updated on the latest market trends and are constantly up-scaling their skills accordingly can make a test automation strategy successful. It is also very important to encourage the team members to share their knowledge and help bring everyone up to speed.
  • Evaluating the Tools: Ensure that the tools being used efficiently deliver the expected results for your project. Stay on the lookout for better tools to speed up your process, and may be better at maintaining the tests. This could help to save your time and effort.

Role of AI Test Automation

Artificial Intelligence(AI) can help design automation tests in several ways. It has the capability to enhance the speed of test script development and reduce human efforts. It can guide you by providing a variety of different solutions for most of the challenges you might face. Efficiently using AI could be challenging sometimes, but once you learn to use it to your advantage, it can reduce the time and effort required for a task and increase your productivity. Depending on the application, you can use it to generate test scripts and test scenarios. It can also help locate dynamic elements, which could be a complex task sometimes. This can make your scripts more robust and reduce the chances of failure. Analyzing the application data can help with test data generation to get realistic data sets. AI can be used for most of your tasks, whether it is to create dynamic test environments or generate meaningful reports. Thus, it all comes down to how you use it to ensure maximum productivity.


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 to producing a quality product. As you follow these tips, pay attention to the important questions that arise. You can only build a firm and lasting foundation if you first consider all the relevant variables. You’ll run across questions to ask your team and QA expert for clarity. As always, the perfect test solution delivers against your specific deadlines, resource limitations, and product potential.

As a leading QA test solution provider, QASource can take your test phase from planning to launch. Getting a comprehensive QA process started properly is as simple as calling +1.925.271.5555.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an effective test automation strategy?

An effective test strategy is essential for organizations looking to improve their software testing processes and achieve their testing goals. A comprehensive QA automation strategy should include a clear understanding of the software being tested, a detailed plan for automating various testing activities, and a roadmap for continuous improvement.

Some key elements of an effective test strategy include selecting the right automation tools and techniques, establishing clear roles and responsibilities for the testing team, and regularly reviewing and updating the test strategy to reflect the evolving needs of the software and the organization.

What are the advantages of the test automation strategy?

The main advantage of a test automation strategy is that it helps in streamlining the testing process and improves the overall quality of software applications. A well-designed strategy helps organizations minimize manual effort, reduce the time required for testing, and eliminate the risk of human error.

The goal is to increase testing efficiency, speed up the time to market, and ensure that software applications meet the required standards and specifications. A comprehensive automation test strategy should also consider the resources available, the budget, and the expected outcome of the testing process.


What are the building blocks for defining a good test automation strategy?
  • Scope of test automation
  • Automation testing approach
  • Test automation environments
  • Clear automation goals & milestones
  • Design of test automation framework
  • Risk analysis
  • Implementation plan
  • Failure analysis
How can I measure the effectiveness of my test automation strategy?

Evaluate through metrics like test coverage, defect detection rate, time saved compared to manual testing, cost-effectiveness, and the maintainability and reliability of test scripts.

How do you plan an automation strategy?

Planning an Automation Strategy includes:

  • Identifying suitable tests for automation.
  • Selecting tools and frameworks aligned with requirements.
  • Defining goals, ensuring scalability, and maintaining automation suite.
What is the goal of test automation strategy?

Aims to enhance software quality, reduce manual testing effort, improve defect detection, accelerate the testing process, and ensure the reliability of the software development project.

What Does a Test Automation Strategy Cover?

Coverage of Test Automation Strategy:

  • Include test selection, tool selection, and environment setup.
  • Define test data management and ensure continuous integration.
  • Focus on maintaining the test suite.
  • Well defined automation milestones.
  • Design a robust automation framework supporting fast test execution and less false positives.


This publication is for informational purposes only, and nothing contained in it should be considered legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out of this information and encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.