Great automated test scripts go unnoticed. They hum away in the background of your development cycle free from intervention, silently churning hours of would-be human engineer time and resources into efficient, quantifiable, reliable, predictable results.
Successful software development projects that embrace the advantages of Agile methodologies rely on careful planning and execution. The cycle of coding, testing and refining a product through repeated iterations works only if the underlying automated test scripts keep producing results without drama.
Creating automated test scripts that silently deliver value takes a little insight and a lot of experience.
Our 700-strong team of engineers have collectively generated more than 1 million automated test cases across $11 billion worth of successful customer exits for brands such as IBM and Oracle, so they know what it takes to create the best automated test scripts.
Here, you will find a summary of the test script wisdom they have accumulated over all those hours of automation–practical wisdom you can use to make sure your automation testing delivers value.
Future Proof Your Automation
The best advantage you can give yourself when building your automation is to make the process adaptable. You want to create a test environment that delivers long-lasting value and will not become obsolete as your product evolves.
As general advice, this means you need to future proof the test design by using a framework that is modular and integrates well with the tools, technologies and languages you will use across the life of your product. Your framework should also make it possible to conduct tests in parallel so you can execute efficiently across multiple machines and environments.
If you would like to delve deeper into future proofing your test automation, then take a look at our free webinar: Managers, Future Proof Your Automation. Presented by QASource CEO, Rajeev Rai, the presentation covers every important aspect of test automation creation from planning through execution.
Now that you have bookmarked that video for later, let us press on with some practical tips for creating the best automated test scripts.
Start with Scoping
Scoping may not be the most inspiring piece of automation advice, but it is the best way to begin creating a value-driven QA process.
Every successful project begins by clearly identifying the test objectives and establishing how to achieve them within the confines of time, resource and quality constraints. Automation improves both test speed and test coverage and removes the errors of human testing that arise from boredom and repetition, but it is not a silver-bullet solution. In some cases, it is better to implement manual testing and its greater sensitivity to the user experience.
Your scoping study will establish what can and cannot be automated, as well as what should and should not be automated. As a rule, automation should be used on test cases that are:
- Business critical
- Repeatedly executed
- Time consuming and difficult to execute manually
The decisions you make during scoping will define the efficiency and value of your entire QA component.
Select the Right Framework and Tools
Test automation is a booming billion-dollar business. As demand grows so does the number of automation tools on the market. It is important to think carefully about your test guidelines, rules and standards from the very beginning—your test framework. Selecting the right tools for your unique project is critical to achieving value from QA. You should look for a solution that provides all the following advantages:
- Versatility. Select a tool that supports all the different types of testing you require.
- Platform compatibility. Ensure you can test across desktop, web, client server, mobile and more.
- Accessibility. The tool should suit the skills and language proficiencies of your testers.
- Quality reports. The best tools help diagnose defects and root causes, test effectiveness and more.
- Ease of maintenance. Test cases should be easily amended and reused.
Likewise, you need your test automation framework to be maintainable and scalable—to lay the right foundation for your test cases. It defines a multitude of functional operations from how objects are identified to how errors are logged. The ideal test tool you select will integrate with and be defined by your test framework. The final combination should be built around your unique product’s needs and not applied as a blind “best practice.” After all, every development is different; every product needs its own solution.
It is important to establish whole-of-cycle standards for the uniform use of scripts, comments and error handling to create execution and reporting. User-defined messages should be asserted for unexpected application behavior or error logging so that testers can clearly understand results and actions.
Ensure Robust Checkpoints or Verification
The best way to ensure that your steps meet the critical requirements is to verify along the way at regular checkpoints. Map out these checkpoints from the start as you identify standards and reporting needs. When it is time to begin testing, you can be sure that you have all your bases covered by checking off steps for verification at predefined points.
Execute Tests in Parallel
Automation testing works best when the test suite is broken up into groups and executed in parallel across several machines. This simultaneous testing allows you to test across different elements, such as browsers, platforms and OS. Testing across different combinations of these elements provides the most robust market preparation and coverage. Just as importantly, it reduces test execution time down from weeks and days into hours and even minutes.
Leverage the Knowledge of Experts
Optimal creation and execution of automated test scripts are fundamental to your product development. The prevailing Agile methodology demands that QA be an integral part of the development process, ensuring a robust build throughout. No matter how strong your code is, if you do not have the right framework, your test will be brittle, and it will break.
Eliminate the chances of test failure by engaging an expert QA team. Provided it has the right skills and experience, a QA partner can design a test framework that best suits your product and environment and maximizes your automated test scripts.
QA is a complex, stand-alone domain that requires dedicated resources and training. If you are not a QA expert, find someone who is. There is far more risk involved in going it alone than you will ever encounter in partnering with an expert.
QASource is an automated testing specialist. Our engineers can work alongside you from the first planning meetings through to final delivery, ensuring you achieve better quality, get more QA coverage and save time and release faster. Get a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 today and start getting value from your testing.