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8 Ways to Optimize Your Automation Test Coverage

8 Ways to Optimize Your Automation Test Coverage

There is a better way to test.

Every step of your software testing process contains hidden efficiencies that can help you achieve even better results, faster. Some are the result of planning, some stem from test design and some you realize through better test execution.

All improvements come with experience. When you have automated more than a million test cases, you learn what works and what does not. More than that, you learn what works best.

We have put together a list of 8 best practices to optimize your automation test coverage. 

These tips will help you better prepare, execute and maintain your test cases in the interest of more comprehensive test coverage—which ultimately delivers a better user experience.

Those tips are:

  1. Plan for effective automation
  2. Choose the right automation tool and framework
  3. Select the right test data
  4. Commit to regular monitoring
  5. Plan proper test maintenance and cleanup
  6. Use the right browser metrics
  7. Adopt a hand-in-hand approach
  8. Invest diligently in reporting

Each piece of advice is backed by years of experience producing quality results for some of the world’s leading companies. If it works for the experts, it can work for you.

1.   Plan for Effective Automation

Every QA process must begin with a clear definition of the product goals and the key elements that deliver them. Optimizing your automation test coverage begins with a fundamental understanding of which elements can be automated and which must be handled by manual testing. While automation is possible in many cases, manual testing is important to effectively simulate the user experience and to validate the look and feel of the AUT.

After identifying which tests can be automated, you should prioritize test cases that are:

  • Business critical
  • Stable enough to be executed
  • Repeatedly executed
  • Time consuming and difficult to execute manually

The goal of your test automation should be to strike a balance between the time taken to execute tests and the amount of testing needed to achieve maximum test coverage.

2.   Choose the Right Automation Tool and Framework

Every product is different, every test environment unique. You need to select a combination of automation tools and frameworks that will best suit your specific goals.  Optimizing this combination not only speeds up testing, but also reduces maintenance cost and complexity.

Be aware that your automation framework needs to be flexible enough to accommodate changes within your test suites. As your product evolves, so do the demands on the test framework that provides your QA. It’s important to consider certain aspects when choosing a tool for automation—particularly, a greater understanding of the market, devices, platform, OS, performance and security.

3.   Select the Right Test Data

Research has shown that testing takes up about 60% of the development lifecycle. That time can prove effective only if it is harnessed in the right way. Your test data plays a vital role in validating the product code, so extreme care must be taken in selecting input for automation scenarios. You should aim to optimize your test data so that it covers the maximum amount of tests scenario combinations. Also, ensure that dynamic and static data is handled appropriately in order to establish coverage of priority test cases and to simplify complex scenarios.

4.   Commit to Regular Monitoring

Test script monitoring is the QA you perform on your QA process. Regularly checking the design and implementation of test scripts improves accuracy and efficiency while making it easier to implement change as the test suite evolves in line with the product. The earlier you identify the need for the change, the smoother and timelier the implementation. And you ensure that you are incorporating the latest technology developments in automation and keeping them up to date.

5.   Plan Proper Test Maintenance and Cleanup

Continuously and effectively cleaning up old tests is a great way to maintain the efficiency of your test suite. As you change your tests, information held in the repository may become unlinked and unused. It is usually okay to automate the clean-up process as it can be time consuming, but be aware that corresponding automation scripts should also be refactored so that updated scripts are executed with every new test run. This ensures that your automated tests are in line with the ever-evolving product and that unnecessary or irrelevant features are removed from the automated code.

6.   Use the Right Browser Metrics

Just as you prioritize test cases based on their importance to the business critical aspects of your product, so too should you place equal emphasis on the operating systems and browsers of greatest user significance. Script execution should follow your OS/browser chart so you cover the priorities first.

Plan your automation suite so that you can execute test scripts on different platforms and browsers regularly, ensuring a robust final product that is in line with market usage and trends.

7.   Adopt a Hand-in-Hand Approach

Test case automation should closely follow test case creation—ideally within the same sprint. This increases test coverage and prevents a backlog of automation tasks. The idea flows from the Agile development methodology, which demands a rapid iteration of development and testing toward continued product evolution and improvement. New product features are tested as soon as they are created to guard against knock-on effects elsewhere in the product. The best way to deliver a quality product is to prevent it from being broken along the way.

All this advice will help you craft better products. To completely optimize your software quality testing, you need to seek a professional partner that will implement these practices and more along every step of your SDLC, from planning through final delivery.

8. Invest Diligently in Reporting

While, for some, reporting might be merely a formality, the truth is that a good and detailed report can make or break your success. A comprehensive report of the automation execution results can prove to be a huge time saver when performing execution analysis. Investing appropriate time beforehand in implementation of a good reporting tool or framework is very helpful for technical and managerial staff alike. It would help them to better understand and analyze the product development and QA trends.

Why a QA Expert Is Your Best Bet to Ramp Up Test Coverage

The best advice comes from experience. There is no need to settle for the advice, however, if you can add the actual experience to your development team by engaging a dedicated QA partner.

All the best practices outlined above are among the standard operating procedures of test professionals. Such teams make their reputations by researching and implementing the most effective means of developing quality products faster.

They can help you prepare a test plan that balances both automation and manual testing, generating a more comprehensive test schedule. And they can use their domain expertise to match your product and team to the right tools and framework, saving you time and resources.

Advice is always welcome, but the real test coverage optimization comes from partnering with a dedicated QA professional.

QASource engineers have automated more than a million test cases on their way to $11 billion in successful customer exits. To optimize your test process, partner with a team that has the facilities, experience and knowledge to maximize your QA spend. Contact us today for a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 to get started.