The Challenges of Test Automation

  • One of the goals of automation is boosting your testers’ productivity and enhancing the quality of your product or service. Let that be what we are ttl.be are all about. We have experience with implementing test automation solutions, through this blog series we will relay to you some of the most common challenges and solutions so you can defeat those automation villains. 

Paramount to success here is getting off to a good start, which is the hardest part. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent challenges test automation faces and how we can help you overcome them. 

Challenge 1 of Test Automation: How to determine the correct approach and starting point? 

How do we actually approach test automation? What do we automate? This is where you need a clear and structured approach, tools sadly do not supply this kind of information. So, what or who does?

Luckily we know how to solve this question, let’s take a look at the following two approaches

  • Risk-based testing
  • The automation pyramid
  • Risk-based testing 

Risk-based testing gives higher priority to testing the elements that are most at risk of failing which also carry the greatest negative consequences if said failure occurs. Here you should take into consideration: 

  • The financial impact of potential errors 
  • The probability of failure (here it is a good idea to ask the developers what they think) 
  • Service level agreements (SLA) 
  • Is there money or are there lives at stake? (Yes, this may seem dramatic, but there are several systems that deal with such important matters.) 

This should give you a good method for prioritizing which test cases to automate. 

The automation pyramid  

A well-known approach is the following pyramid. Let’s take a look: 

Challenge 2 of Test Automation: How to determine the correct tool?

Now that we have the right approach defined, how can we define the correct tool? Many organizations struggle with identifying the correct tool to use due to several reasons. Maybe they lack of the knowledge how to use a specific tool, their tool of choice does not offer complete test coverage, and so on. 

When you are faced with these challenges, a possible solution to help you in the right direction might be taking an online tooling training, hire an external expert or even completely outsourcing is an option. 

Finding one tool that does everything is hard to come by, consider going for a multi-tool approach so you can test the most important aspects of your product. 

When it comes to tools, taking your budget into the equation for a quick cost vs benefit analysis is always a good way to present your case.

  • What damage did previous bugs do that you have encountered?
  • How much time and money did it cost you compared to the time and money you could have saved should you have had the right tool in place?

Another possible route is conveying the ROI (Return on Investment) for test automation. Which we will discuss this in another blog, so stay tuned!

Challenge 3 of Test Automation: How to set realistic expectations for Test Automation?

Even with the greatest strategy and tools, it’s important to remember that testing is never complete. Test automation is not the sole solution for bug covered systems and shouldn’t be used in place of, but in conjunction with non-automated tests. There are some tests that simply can’t be automated, but there are some automated tests that uncover bugs that couldn’t be found otherwise. 

Test automation is really just automatically checking the system, while humans are still needed to do the non-automated testing. Also, remember that the value of a test comes from the information that it provides, not the number of tests executed, nor the frequency. What we care most about is if we are getting the right information so that we can make the best possible decisions when improving the quality of our systems. 

Make sure your team and management agree on and understand the desired outcome(s) from your automation strategy so that everyone has the same understanding.  

Together for better software

Curious what test automation could mean for the quality of your software? Contact us for a chat and we will share our experience. 

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