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QASource Blog Design a Smart Automated Testing Plan: Tips from the Experts

Design a Smart Automated Testing Plan: Tips from the Experts

Design a Smart Automated Testing Plan: Tips from the Experts

Your automated testing plan is a guide to saving money, releasing on time and producing a high-quality product. It is your best opportunity to get a top-down view of the project that is about to roll out. Before you become submerged in the day-to-day of test cases and iteration flows, you have one last chance to identify how you can deliver against your business goals in the most efficient manner possible.


It is the perfect time to call on some expert advice.

Our QA engineers have completed this process hundreds of times alongside some of the world’s leading software companies, including Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems. With that kind of experience and exposure to cutting-edge techniques, you learn a few things about how to optimize an automated testing plan.

Today we are going to share some of those insights. The lessons learned below stem from real-world projects and products. They represent practical solutions to the potentially daunting end-to-end application testing.

These tips will help you test smarter.

Test Smarter with a Comprehensive Automated Testing Plan

Automation is the most efficient means of ensuring that a product is ready for market. It provides comprehensive testing by harnessing the exhausting and repetitive process of code checking to the inexhaustible power of machine testing. It will save you time, it will improve your test coverage and it will free up your invaluable human minds to work on more important aspects of development and QA.

However “smart” today’s automated services are, they are useless without proper design and planning. As our experts have learned, you need to follow the rules outlined below in order to make the most of what automated testing can provide.

That process begins with a clear understanding of what QA testing is designed to achieve.

1. Identify Test Objectives and Deliverables

All your application stakeholders need to have a clear understanding of what your product is designed to deliver. That means you need to gather your automation experts, development engineers, business stakeholders and project leaders into a single space and clearly define the road ahead. This “space” can be a common test plan document that everyone agrees to.

You need to establish the core business goals of your product and design a test suite that will ensure this critical functionality works as intended.

2. Identify Time, Resource and Quality Constraints

The next phase consists of translating those desired objectives and deliverables into a practical schedule that meets your project constraints. Every project has its time pressures, its budget limits and its unbreakable standards and industry requirements.

At this stage, you have to prioritize your test cases and core functionality so that the maximum effort can be applied to the most important project components. Next you must identify which test elements can and cannot be automated and make time and cost provisions for those that are best handled by manual testing.

Be ruthless in your assessments, and be realistic in your goals. Accuracy at this planning stage prevents time and cost blowouts.

3. Clarify Data for Testing

QA testing is the process of replicating real-world conditions in order to see how the product will perform once it reaches the end user. In order for that to succeed, you need to carefully consider how you prepare the data that will inform these tests.

You need to produce test cases that are repeatable, predictable and robust enough to recreate the many ways users will access and use your product across platforms, browsers and devices.

Any time you access user information, you need to enforce strict logical and physical security measures and tightly control access to and movement of information.

4. Evaluate Properties of the Test Environment

Your test potential is bound within your test environment. This is the combination of hardware and software assets that define your test space. If you do not have adequate test infrastructure, then you need to outsource to an expert that does. With an expert QA partner, you get access to the latest facilities and software experience, and you can scale production up and down as needed with limited onboarding time.

However, if you choose to use your own internal test infrastructure, you need to carefully select a test framework and automated testing tools that will maximize your assets.

5. Choose a Tool and Framework That Suit Your Project

The need for speed in today’s software development industry has led to a proliferation of automated testing tools. These products differ widely in price, performance and practical application (languages, platforms, browsers, etc.), but the bottom line is that this variety makes it possible to find a solution that fits your unique application's circumstances. By taking an agnostic approach, you can pick the right tool for each new project.

Similarly, you can match the tool to your preferred test framework. This means establishing your own standards of test protocols, documentation and reporting and then finding an automation tool that best serves these guidelines.

6. Plan for Monitoring, Tracking and Reporting

A key component of that test framework is your standards for monitoring, tracking and reporting on test progress and application evolution. If you adopt an Agile development approach, for example, you will need to implement a test reporting scheme that can be understood by a wide range of stakeholders, including those with limited technical experience.

Clear QA and development milestones need to be built into your initial test plan so that progress can be benchmarked against best practices. In addition, you need to have a contingency plan in place for when performance lags behind anticipated delivery. Again, if you do not have practical experience with accurately estimating time and resource requirements, you need to consult an external expert. Otherwise, unrealistic workloads, test schedules and resource allocation lead to bottlenecks and product overruns.

7. Plan for Staffing and Training

Be realistic about the resources at your disposal. Development and QA are two very different fields that require distinct skill sets. Even if you are confident that your engineers have the technical know-how to wear both hats, it can be highly beneficial to have an external pair of expert eyes to look over your application; after all, fatigue and product bias can cloud even the best judgement.

If you are considering consulting with an expert QA partner, you need to allow time for them to onboard with your project. Experienced professionals will get up to speed rapidly, but you still need to allocate time for them to translate your product knowledge into the best automated testing approaches and your resources into the most efficient use of different types of testing.

Let the Experts Design Your Automated Testing Plan

Your automated testing plan is your last chance to identify savings and efficiencies before your QA phase begins. It can be hard to make significant changes once this phase in under way, so if you are uncertain, consult an expert before it is too late.

An external QA expert can help you implement the advice above. They can hep you make cost- and time-saving decisions around the types and frequency of testing, the flow of information between stakeholders and how to maximize your test conditions.

Your test plan is your first and last opportunity to create the best possible product.

QASource engineers have the facilities, experience and skills to generate every possible resource efficiency from your test design. Experienced in every leading software domain, from finance and healthcare to cybersecurity and media, we can show you how to compete against the best in your field. Put our QA experts to the test and get a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 today.