Even SMBs have started realizing the benefits of test automation while myths and misconceptions surrounding the core concept of test automation keeps increasing. Contrary to popular beliefs, the advent of test automation techniques didn’t affect the demand for manual software testing. Organizations simply realized that a combined Manual – Automated testing practice grant greater benefits provided it’s implemented thoughtfully and effectively.

Though test automation essentially reduces the time to deliver high-quality products, it doesn’t always lead to quality success. Many organizations that are interested in test automation or are planning to invest in the practice may not be fully aware of its limitations.  There are hidden costs in implementing a complete test automation strategy.

From hiring QA professionals/Quality Engineers to test management and automation environment maintenance, it may overwhelm businesses that aren’t prepared to completely invest in the technology without preparing for it beforehand. This blog is for those organizations that are planning to jump on the test automation bandwagon, and discusses the various limitations of test automation.
 

Test cases should be designed for repeatability

 
Many organizations tend to implement test automation whenever they feel like accelerating quality feedback. This is possible only if the test cases are created for repeated use. Test automation is not very easy to set up either, demanding the technical team to invest hours in setting up, troubleshooting, and maintaining it.

If the test cases can’t run repeatedly even after exhausting a lot of resources setting up automation, leveraging test automation won’t grant much benefits at all. The key is to prioritize repeatability for maximum ROI from your test automation strategy.
 

Relying too much on test automation can do more harm than good

 
You may have read about organizations relying on test automation to scale product quality processes. This is more common in companies offering Agile software development services, and it works. You can get streamlined, much more efficient development cycles.

However, relying on test automation too much can end up causing a lot of issues, primarily due to the fact that test automation simply doesn’t apply to all kinds of test cases especially when scaling QA processes in an Agile ecosystem. A more balanced approach combining both test automation and manual testing offers better chances of scaling success. There is also the fact that a product that’s constantly evolving with each sprint will need you to allocate more resources just to maintain automation test scripts.
 

Test automation demands serious expertise & technical skills

 
Just because you have automated test scripts and a team with basic knowledge of automated testing doesn’t mean you can implement test automation and reap the best of its benefits. It requires a high level of expertise and technical skills to write test scripts. As a matter of fact, the technical skill requirement is one of the biggest limitations of test automation. You won’t easily find an expert automated tester like you would find an expert in software development.
 

Conclusion

 
With all the limitations we have discussed right now, we still can’t conclude that test automation isn’t a worthy investment. It is a big move that demands big investments and total dedication for a medium-sized business with limited resources. Nevertheless, if the business has the right talent and a great strategy, they won’t ever regret investing in test automation.

Written by: Kiran

2018 was an exciting year for software testing. Agile adoption reached 97% and Forrester declared the year as the Year of Enterprise DevOps. The cultural and technological shift in testing in 2018 however is just the beginning. As 2019 begins, more testing trends will gain momentum resulting in testing hitting even more critical milestones.

That said, let’s check out what 2019 has in store for software testing.
 

Cross-functional teams for software quality

 
This trend isn’t new but it was only adopted by a few organizations in 2018. Many organizations went ahead and created cross-functional teams to evaluate and ensure software quality. Many companies have started considering cross-functionality a necessity to solidify the trust between everyone involved in software delivery while facilitating better collaboration and coordination.

As organizations prioritize software quality even more today, we will see this trend continue to be adopted by more organizations in 2019. The added bonus is the fact that QA teams get to contribute more by leading initiatives that improve the software’s overall quality.
 

QA will be QE

 
Until now Quality Assurance (QA) has been the approach of choice for a software development company that prioritizes product quality. But today, QA became too sophisticated encompassing a number of aspects including test automation, DevOps, and pipeline integration etc. More skills and technologies are involved now. Conclusively, QA evolved beyond what it used to be.

With quality being the priority for companies providing Agile software development services, and considering the rapid evolution of QA, the transformation is referred to as Quality Engineering (QE) now. As more teams in more organizations start embedding quality throughout the software development process, QE will expand proportionately. And that’s what we will start seeing in 2019.
 

Load testing will become a staple

 
Load testing was once a very challenging discipline which made it relatively less accessible to many testing teams. But technological advancements and the advent of new tools have made load testing accessible and intuitive. Load testing used to demand specific hardware that not all testers can get their hands on. It was an investment many organizations weren’t willing to make.

Even if the team did manage to procure the hardware, they are often required schedule tests in advance as many teams will be sharing the server during development. The advancements in cloud brought with it a solution to this particular issue. Cloud-based load testing platforms are now available that make it possible for testers to use multiple servers simultaneously thus eliminating scheduling conflicts. This will lead to wider adoption of continuous load testing in DevOps environments in 2019.
 

More demand for test automation

 
The increasing adoption of Agile and DevOps demanded many organizations to redevise their testing strategies to stay ahead of the curve. One of the major changes that followed was test automation that supplements manual testing. Companies that leveraged test automation became better at it in no time seeing a number of benefits in the process including faster testing cycles and improved test coverage for starters. It’s safe to assume that test automation levels will increase even further in 2019 as more organizations come forward to invest in it.
 

Conclusion

 
These are just the tip of the iceberg. There will be even more software testing trends that will turn heads this year as the field grows in importance while technologies simply it even further. More people will be pursuing a career in QA and more enterprises will realize how QA grants them high quality products that far outshine their predecessors.

Written by: Kiran

There is now statistical evidence for the fact that more number of software development teams are deploying software faster, as of 2018. The increasing pace of deployment owes a lot to technological advancements and best practices, which sped up everything from design to quality assurance and testing. Bugs are found and fixed faster now, and the feedback loop shortened. When it comes to testing, the prime factor that contributed to such growth in testing speed and efficiency is test automation.

Many major forecasts indicate that the test automation market will be soaring high in the coming years, hitting close to US $110 billion by 2025.

It’s not that automation simply makes testing hassle-free. It demands a lot of investment and great care in its implementation. This is why many organizations are reluctant to automate their software testing processes. Many others simply can’t ensure ROI if they go ahead with test automation initiatives.

The success of test automation depends on how the organization implements it, and a few other factors. However, test automation initiatives that become successful do have a few things in common. They could very well be the key to ensuring that test automation is implemented the right way for desired results.

Here are a few such factors that influence the success of test automation.
 

Make sure testing is aligned with business goals

 
Typically, the business goals of the software would be defined before the development itself begins. Once the functional and non-functional requirements of the software are addressed and discussed with the development team, a testing should be developed which aligns with the software’s business goals. Testers should come with a design that ensures thorough and detailed test coverage of the codes that implement the requirements of the product under development.
 

‘What to test’ is as important as ‘how to test’

 
Test automation is likely to fail if the organization simply focuses on achieving 100% automation. The success of automation also depends on where it’s applied. Testers should identify the right candidates for automation first. The common way to start is to identify repetitive tests in the cycle and validate the functionalities across the development environment.
 

Utilize QA assets wisely

 
Important QA assets include test cases, test data, the infrastructure etc. in addition to the testers themselves, the automation engineers, and even the product owners. When organizations decide to implement test automation, they tend to get a wrong idea that manual testers will no longer be relevant in such environments. Test automation doesn’t solve everything and cannot automate every tests there is.

Automated scripts have limitations when it comes to understanding issues and patterns at a contextual level. It can hasten certain testing processes but not all. Certain tests can only be done by humans. The point is that organizations shouldn’t simply consider a QA asset irrelevant just because they are confident that their automated testing strategy would succeed. Each asset can come of use depending on the context. The key to successful test automation is to pay attention to and utilize each of these assets wisely.
 

Integration with development

 
Test automation is meant to primarily hasten development and deployment, increase code coverage, and keep timeline overruns under control. But testing, be it automated or not, cannot achieve this in a conventional waterfall model. Testing delivers the best results when it is at the core of project development. This ensures that the final product meets the expectations and is delivered on time.
 

Conclusion

 
As more and more software development companies make the shift to a DevOps and Agile culture, it’s important to think ahead, devise, and implement an efficient test automation strategy before the development begins. Ultimately it’s up to the testing team to coordinate and support the implementation of automation without compromising the testing code’s integrity and quality which can adversely affect the outcome of the automation initiative.

Written by: Kiran