A good test automation suite allows companies to validate functionality and several test scenarios with every execution. As a result, companies can focus more on day-to-day activities and ensure that teams work more efficiently without spending much time on repetitive tasks. But what if you already have an existing automated test strategy? How do you ensure that your testing strategy is sufficient to provide value to your final customers?
“A good Testing strategy can accelerate your business; a bad one can kill your brand.”
In a perfect world, your Automation strategy will help avoid confusion and problems with your team through the Test Automation process by clarifying what the company wants to accomplish regarding automated processes and the testing processes in general.
Introduction to an Automation strategy
The Automation Strategy specifies a structure for reusable automated scripts and the approach planned for the Automation Testing. In addition, it outlines the overall plan for test automation to help deliver high-quality, improve test coverage, and decrease testing time. This process can be reused over multiple projects and contains:
Testing approach. A standard automated testing process would typically look as follows: Initiation, Automation Test Planning, Execution, Reporting, Close-out.
Test environment. A testing environment should, first and foremost, be fully controlled and provide the freedom to modify all the necessary data.
Testing tools. Choosing a suite of testing tools is crucial when it comes to an automated test strategy.
A lousy Test Automation strategy is that most organizations won’t realize they have one until too late to fix it.
How to improve your test automation strategy
Most Test Automation strategies begin with some improvement into the current test automation process, but those improvements might not be the right thing for your team or your customers. This article will cover a few ways to add value using the right approach.
- Focus on your customers
- How to make a real difference
- Take Advantage of Exploratory Testing
- How to make a real difference with Exploratory Testing
- Everyone must own quality
- Involving all teams in Test automation
- Get strategic with Test Automation time
- How to improve your Test Automation time
- The real benefits of an intelligent Automated Strategy
Focus on your customers.
Currently, most companies based their Test Automation strategies on speeding up the Testing process to have an efficient workflow and getting quality products in less time; this strategy probably is incorrect. It focuses more on the company and team and less on the customer, the ones paying you money for your product/service. It’s essential to let your team do their tasks with fewer problems, but it’s more important to ensure your product helps your customers since they are the ones that allow you to run your business.
How to make a real difference
Your Test Automation strategy should place a stronger emphasis on the customers and perhaps more related to covering customer scenarios. Of course, your strategy can also improve your team’s daily workflow, but it shouldn’t be the focal point of your planning. Instead, prioritize your testing on making the product better for the customer. It would be best if you centralized your Test automation efforts on valuable test scenarios.
Companies need to align their business objectives to their test automation strategy, and we must ensure the delivery of high-quality software applications that meet company business goals.
Take Advantage of Exploratory Testing.
In my experience, many companies do not cover all the bases for your product while performing their Test Automation process. An example of this is trying to uncover previously unknown issues. Functional and exploratory testing can help with these new flows or encountering some problems. Therefore, a promising approach for your current Test Automation strategy is to include some Exploratory sessions and take advantage of them.
How to make a real difference with Exploratory Testing
When we think in our Test Automation process, we never consider Exploratory testing as part of our activities. However, when a tester uncovers a new defect in their Exploratory testing, these flows must be covered by your test automation team. By doing that, you can ensure that the defect does not return in future builds while the testers are free to continue exploring the application for other discoveries.
“Exploratory Testing and Automation do a great fit talking about Continuous Testing providing fast feedback.”
We need to balance and pair testing with others. Remember to take advice from functional testers and exploratory testing to handle most scenarios and keep your application in the highest shape.
Everyone must own quality
Even if your company has different QA areas and leads, you still want different roles involved. Quality must be considered at every stage by every person in your company. Please do not get me wrong; we are not saying that everyone can create a test script; instead, we need to get all involved to avoid blind spots in our Test Automation effort. If we consider other skills in our company, we could have more coverage in our Test Automation.
Functional Testers are great at uncovering issues that other roles can’t detect. Nevertheless, we must recognize that we also have lots of blind spots and limitations of our own. The most critical aspect besides any Testing tool or Testing process is helping the team meet customer expectations.
Involving all teams in Test automation
Test automation is great for speeding up our functional scenarios; but, we must include other areas and other teams, such as development, UI/UX, performance, accessibility, DevOps, and security. So, please consider those aspects while creating your automated test strategy.
Get strategic with Test Automation time
Perhaps, It’s not always the case; still, in some companies, we can observe automated testers in a stressful position with their tasks, battling different fronts, working overtime, and finishing as much as possible during the sprint time. As a result, the Test Automation job becomes about finishing activities rather than adding value. Sound familiar? I see many automated testers falling into this habit, which is when their code standards decrease.
How to improve your Test Automation time
Spend time only on the activities that will ultimately add value to you and your customers; you must include all test automation activities as part of your Agile tasks. If you are serious about improving your project’s long-term Quality, you must take the time for it. It’s the only way you are going to save time and enhance your Test Automation effort.
It is best to create equity through the value and expertise you are delivering to your customers. Therefore, it isn’t only about how many test scripts you can finish every sprint; instead, you must consider the actual value of those tests created during the sprint; please apply the simplicity principle to your Test Automation.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hofmann, German-born American painter
The real benefits of an intelligent Automated Strategy
Test Automation strategies like not focusing on business objectives, writing thousands of test scripts, and only relying on QA for testing will overwhelm your project from the start. You can avoid these by ensuring your Test Automation provides real value to your customer, balancing your test automation efforts, and ensuring Quality efforts are owned by everyone in your company.
Remember that a successful Automation strategy must adapt to your current customer needs and your team capacity. Therefore, we must avoid generic approaches and make sure you apply a robust automated test strategy that will help your existing team and your customers. First, consider your current situation and where your company or project is heading. Then, use the right pieces that you believe will best deliver high-quality software applications that meet company business goals.
Happy Bug Hunting!
Enrique DeCoss | Senior Quality Assurance Manager | FICO