Automation can save time and resources, plus increase test coverage. In the past, many organizations found it to be either too expensive or too difficult to implement automation. However, today, through the use of open source tools, shared information, and more experienced engineers, test automation projects are worth the time and effort. The benefits usually outweigh the costs, assuming the automation suite is maintainable and portable. Here’s my list of benefits for test automation.
- Saves time – faster releases:
Test automation can reduce the testing time from days to hours—bringing down test execution cycles by 50% or more. Over the course of the SDLC, test automation results in faster releases. Tests should be repeated every time source code is modified to ensure quality. One way to do this is to automate smoke tests which are run every time after a new build to further qualify the build for deeper functional test cycles. Additionally, for every release, the software needs to be tested against all supporting operating systems and hardware environments. Manually repeating these tests is costly and time consuming. Once implemented, test automation performs these repetitious tasks more quickly and at no additional cost.
- Improves accuracy – higher customer satisfaction:
To err is human! Even the most scrupulous testers can make mistakes during monotonous manual testing. Manual testing involves a tester carefully going through application screens, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behavior and recording the observations. The repetitious nature of code updates and environment changes during the development cycle increase the chances of human error. Repeatable, predefined test automation delivers precise results every time while providing a detailed record of those results.
- More test coverage – less risk:
The more data you have about your product, the better decisions you can make about shipping your product. Test automation increases the depth and scope of tests. Lengthy tests that seem arduous to testers can run unattended on a range of system configurations. Internal application details such as memory, data, and program stats that are generally overlooked in manual testing are also covered by test automation.
- Faster test results – bugs fixed earlier:
Developers can use shared automated tests to find problems even before sending a build for QA. Tests can run automatically every time source code is updated and appropriate feedback is sent to developers.
- Enhances load testing capacity – real world simulation:
Test automation enables organizations to test web applications by simulating tens of thousands of virtual users interacting with the network and the application. This is impossible to achieve with manual testing efforts.
- Increases morale – higher productivity:
Many do not think of morale as a benefit of automation, but I have seen productivity increase after test automation is implemented. Why does this happen? I can only guess… (1) developers are pleased to receive results faster, (2) testers have additional time to perform more challenging and rewarding tasks, (3) product quality increases.
Given today’s information and tools, test automation enables teams to be more agile and release higher quality software more quickly, directly improving your release cycles, customer satisfaction, team’s morale, and costs.