Automation Framework Design: Questions To Ask Your QA Tester

Timothy Joseph
Timothy Joseph | January 31, 2019

Automation Framework Design: Questions To Ask Your QA Tester

It’s a simple equation: Better automation leads to a higher-quality product and faster releases. However, achieving better automation requires careful consideration. It requires an understanding of the full scope of your product, and a detailed search for the right outsourced QA tester: Your partner on the road ahead.

The foundation of the kind of automation that delivers quantifiable, reliable, and predictable results is the framework design. No matter how strong your code is, if you don’t have the right framework your test will be brittle and it will break. It is critical to take the utmost care when you are building the framework. 

When you search for a QA tester to deliver that framework you have to go beyond surface enquiries such as “how long will the process take?” and “how much will it cost?”. Instead, find out how the tester will build the automation framework around your product.

Automation Framework Design: What You Need To Know About Your Potential QA Tester

There are literally dozens of different automation framework designs currently available. Combinations of technologies and tools, languages and framework architecture abound. So make sure you find a QA tester that can deliver the right framework for your product. 

Ask some fundamental questions:

  • Are you framework-agnostic?

  • Will you build your framework around my development team?

  • What is the structure of the framework design or architecture standpoint?

  • What is a modular framework?

  • What are reusable frameworks?

  • How will you choose the type of framework?

These questions are designed to test your potential QA tester’s experience, knowledge and suitability.

Before you begin your QA search, however, there is one thing you should get in order internally: The scope of your project. 

Start With Scoping

Rudimentary as it may be, too many companies begin their automation search before they’ve properly evaluated the scope of their own project. Scoping is critical so that you can align your ROI with what you’re going to automate. To ensure the automation can be used over and over again throughout the life cycle of the product, you will have to decide what can and cannot, what should and should not be automated. Don’t waste time by automating something that is unstable, unreliable, and not fully developed.

With that fundamental step in place, it is time to start putting questions to your potential automation partners.

Are You Framework-Agnostic?

The leading QA testing outsourcers can apply a range of automation tools and technologies to your product. Rather than be wedded to one “best approach”, your QA team should be able to implement the “right approach” for your specific product. That means designing a framework with the necessary locators, hooks, utilities, and reusable actions to automate features.

Do more than ask for what works. Ask for what is optimal.

Will You Build Your Framework Around My Development Team?

An automation framework design should be accessible to both your QA team and your development team. Make sure your QA tester understands your development environment, technologies, and systems. This will facilitate collaboration between the internal and outsourced elements of your product cycle.

What Is The Structure Of The Framework?

You want to develop a framework architecture that is based on your specific application, your development environment, and the skills of the engineers who are going to write and use these tests. As a rule, your framework should consist of:

  • Loosely coupled layered architecture

  • Cache implementation handle exceptions and recovery scenario

  • A mechanism for parsing API input and output to the relevant objects

  • Basic validations support

  • Minimal script changes

  • Structured test data

  • A reporting mechanism

  • Easily integrate with continuous environment (CI/CD)

These are recommended best practices, but there is much to be gained by considering your specific application needs.

What Is A Modular Framework?

Regardless of your framework design it is critical your architecture is modular. Adopting a framework where all the components are independent of each other means you can change one without affecting the others. This in turn reduces maintenance and quite simply lets you do more automation. You can learn more about the advantages of modular framework design by downloading QASource’s free webinar – Managers, Future Proof Your Automation. The presentation provides an overview of the best automation tools and technologies and best practice guidance on automation design.

What Are Reusable Frameworks?

Reusable and maintainable frameworks can be used by any engineer to build robust tests over the life cycle of a product. As we mentioned earlier on the topic of scoping, reusable test frameworks should be able to cater for the breadth of platforms, operating systems, web and mobile usages, languages, and security protocols within the product requirements.

What Framework Type Will You Use?

Your QA tester should have experience and advanced knowledge across several framework types. This allows you to customise the QA process to your specific product. Each framework is essentially a set of rules governing the testing process, and each has its pros and cons.

We’ve recommended a modular approach above, but there are several key automation testing frameworks, including:

  • Linear scripting, best for small applications, it’s a simple approach with no reusability;

  • Modular, which breaks the overall application down into small, independent tests;

  • Data-driven, which uses external data to perform multiple test executions;

  • Keyword-driven, similar to data-driven, but uses keywords to reduce the need for programming knowledge;

  • Hybrid-driven, a combination of data and keyword-driven testing;

  • Behavior-driven, which uses natural, non-technical words to define test specs; and

  • Page object model, a widely-used framework.

As with every aspect of selecting a QA partner to create your automation framework design, the more options the outsourcing company can provide the better. In addition to the questions we have outlined above, you should also press your potential partner on their knowledge specific to your domain. Every industry requires its own standards and follows unique regulations and your QA tester should understand your domain as well as you do.

Creating the Right Automation Framework Design

Your automation framework design should equip you with a portable, reusable, and reliable tool that will cover the entire life cycle of your product. It is the foundation of your automation process.

In order to find the right QA tester to provide that foundation, you have to ask the right questions. What you are looking for is a QA provider that has the breadth and depth of knowledge to bring all the possible tools, technologies and framework types to bear within your specific development environment.

QASource is an automation testing company with the expertise to create the optimal automation framework design for your product. As an automation agnostic we are able to deploy the full gamut of tools and frameworks to your application. Put our expert QA experts to the test. Contact us today for a free quote: Email or call +1.925.271.5555 to get started.


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