20 Valuable Tips on Test Automation Suggested by Software Testing Experts
The great gurus of the testing world emphasize that we must begin the software testing effort by identifying the areas or features of the SUT (Software under test) that the users will use 80% of the time or more & these are then ensured to be working correctly on topmost priority.
I am sharing a compilation of twenty test automation tips or strategies, when systematically adopted can lead you to a successful implementation of test automation.
Tips for successful implementation of test automation:
1) Write down a comprehensive test plan for the project as the very first activity, detailing what areas will be tested, what will be automated, and what will be tested manually.
2) Automation testing is an important engineering discipline in the group. Hence formulate a clear-cut automation
strategy involving peers & the top management.
3) Automate the most repetitive tasks and especially those tasks that have traditionally found the majority of the bugs;4) Formulate a test case management framework, to ensure that every software testing engineer is operating under the boundaries of the same standards, and all tests are properly maintained and easily accessible.
5) Cut down the maintenance – write common functions & modularize the tests for easy maintainability, and reuse them everywhere & even on other projects.
6) Write meaningful test logs & generate summary reports for all test results i.e. pass or fail. Most important aspect is to log everything.
7) Design the tests in a way that they can be made to run unattended and must be able to recover out of failure.
8) Design the tests in a way that we don�t have to rewrite them for every language. The tests should support different platforms, and configurations.
9) Avoid repeating structured tests, which eventually will find the same bugs. Thus introduce an element of some randomness in the order of execution of test cases, to detect new bugs with the same automated tests.
10) Start with small-small automated Build Verification Tests (BVTs) running for 1 to 2 hours daily. Move ahead with the installation & testing of the build only after the success of BVTs.
11) Expand the BVTs to developer regression tests being short suite of tests running for 10 to 20 minutes, on a private incremental build created by the developer, just before checking in his or her changes to the source code. These tests would cover the basic functionality of the product, and are aimed to prevent the developers from checking in changes to the code which could break the primary areas of functionality.
12) Measure effectiveness of automation effort using a direct metric of number and rate of bugs detected.
13) Use automation on stress testing performing same actions repeatedly. In a multi-user environment, go on adding users to the system, and perform a common action. If the application uses a database, write tests that add, amend, and delete records continuously, and then look for a system crash, memory leaks, a corrupted database, or an extremely large database. Execute the automated tests till the product fails.
14) Use automation for regression testing. Automated tests should be easily exploited to determine if there has been any regression in functionality between the builds.
15) Park all the tests in a test case management database.
16) We should write our scripts keeping the tool in mind, so that automating them becomes easy and we can reduce the duplication.
17) We need to ensure the availability of good quality static data so that automation tools runs consistently. If the data happens to vary frequently, the tool will fail the tests thereby forcing us spending wasteful hours in investigating as to whether it was a software or a data error.
18) Maintenance of the automated tests should be an ongoing activity. Even after the formal finish of the testing activity, software testing engineers can�t afford to relax and should rather devote their time in keeping the tests up to date and continuously work to enhance the existing scripts
19) We need to adopt a modular approach while building our scripts, masks and data files, so that over a passage of time, a library of significant size could come up and becomes a useful asset while creating more tests in the future.
20) While deciding on which programs to automate first, it is better to avoid the ones, which happen to be under the time pressure. For getting success in automating the tests of majority of programs, a convenient time period free of undue pressure should be kept aside for the development of the techniques, possible creation of common scripts, establishment of templates for documentation etc.
Note: I would welcome your feedback comments or suggestions on this article.
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An expert on R&D, Online Training and Publishing. He is M.Tech. (Honours) and is a part of the STG team since inception.