Writing a Good Business Case-The First Step towards Test Automation
While initiating an automated software-testing program in the organization, why intelligent software testing managers begin their effort by writing a business case?
Reason being the top management can not decide to make long term investments in test automation solely by seeing the rosy picture of few benefits of the test automation.
Depending upon the nature of the project, test automation would certainly call for high initial investments, whereas their returns may not be visible even in 3-4 years to come. Hence to visualize the ROI (Return on Investment) out of such investments, any management would like to firstly see and evaluate a properly projected business case.
The management & other stakeholders of the company are always interested in knowing the justification to initiate the automation drive in terms of three major deciding factors like;
1) ROI (Return on Investment)
2) Potential benefits &
2) Expected risks
ROI consideration in a Business Case:
a business case we compare the cost of the test automation solution with the benefits the solution is going to bring us.The costs associated with selection, implementation, and maintenance of the software testing tool is quite significant. It generally includes expenses incurred on:
1) Selection of tool
2) Procurement of tool (use open source, buy or develop internally)
6) Training of personnel
7) Tool usage
8) Maintenance of automated testware
9) Tool maintenance
Some of these expenses are measured directly in terms of money; while others come from time spent by the team members; both must be considered in the calculation.
On the other side of the business case equation, we have the benefits. Benefits from test automation are rarely measurable in terms of actual money. They come from savings we obtain because the tool helps us perform the tasks faster and with fewer mistakes.
For test execution tools the cost/benefit depends largely on how often the automated tests will be executed, as shown in the following graph.
Tests which are executed a few number of times only during the entire lifetime of the product are usually not worth spending automation resources on. On the other hand, it may be well worth automating the tests that are executed many times, for example, tests used for extensive regression testing of areas of high-risk. Of course it is more practical to have a mix of manual and automated tests.
Ref.: Factors for ROI calculation-from Automated Testing Institute
Major Factors for Inclusion in Business Case Template:
1) Outline of a Development Roadmap:
This could possibly cover the following aspects
# What could be the life of the product?
# How frequent the changes could be?
# How many releases could it have?
# What could be the possible release schedule?
# What could be the scope for the regression testing?
# What could be the criticality of its maintenance?
2) Requirements to be tested:
An outline of broad requirements and the time plan for testing, will help the software testing engineer to understand the extent of test coverage which could be planned for automation.
3) Projection of the Extent of Manual Testing:
Once test automation is introduced, it is obvious that manual testing effort shall come down drastically. It is important to know the extent of manual testing that will still remain in conjunction with automation.
4) Outline of Technology Roadmap:
Technological roadmap can possibly include the deployment of open source tools if any, different scripting languages, various browsers, UI objects and configurations to be covered under software testing effort.
5) Training of Personnel:
Description of the skills of the software testing personnel available as on date and the training support that will come from the automation tool supplier is one the key element of the business case.
Business case Conclusions:
1) For large size projects, a well planned schedule for test automation all across the organization can possibly deliver tangible benefits in terms of reduced cycle time for testing, quicker time-to-market & increased test coverage. This aspect must be adequately projected in quantified terms in the business case.
2) Automation is not worth its time, money & efforts put on a small project. However ROI is the best metrics to judge its potential in real terms & must be an essential part of the business case.