Top 10 Test Automation Best Practices To Implement In 2020

top test automation tools best practices automated testing

Given the rapidly changing business landscape, more and more companies are developing or adopting new measures to make operations more efficient. One such strategy is test automation, especially for e-commerce companies. The apprehensions typically associated with the process, however, are hindering other hopefuls from transitioning to automation. 

Here is the catch, though. Test automation is critical for your company’s productivity as it can relieve staff from the hassles of manual processes. That is why it’s essential to have a keen awareness and understanding of test automation's best practices. 

While delaying test automation can rob you of income growth, you should not rush in the implementation. Take it step by step, ensuring that you’re doing every phase properly. Sure, you and your team will commit mistakes in the process. Take these as learning opportunities to continue with the process. 

Here are some of the best practices to consider when adopting test automation. 

1. Avoid Total Reliance On Automation Tools 

Automation tools don’t necessarily offer a solution to every problem despite their associated features. Entirely relying on automation tools can cause downsides. Think about this. Sellers who get hold of such a tool automatically think that they can address everything in one shot. But that does not apply in all test cases. Moreover, it takes relevant resources and an impeccable skill to automate the testing process. 

In many instances, automated testing can result in false negatives or false positives. A false positive happens when the automation reflects the opposite, even if the system is working fine. When the automation’ scripts give the green light even if the system is not working well, it’s a false negative. 

That is why it’s a complete waste of time when trying to address an error that does not exist. Likewise, it’s a fatal blow when overlooking an error, even just a slight issue. 

This is where the role of exploratory testing comes in hand in hand with automated tools. It’s also helpful to have at least one skilled automation engineer and a team of experts to ensure proper implementation and assessment. 

2. Automate Most Frequent, Easy To Automate, And Predictable Test Cases 

As we recommended earlier, it’s not possible to have everything running automatically and efficiently. So what should you do? Choose the test cases that can easily be automated! 

Select frequently-occurring and predictable test cases that are also easy to automate. Consider testing those which you have repeatedly been testing manually to kick off the automation process. 

Take note. Tests with predictable results usually demand conditional actions. For example, an app or software launches when someone clicks on a button. The testing team can thoroughly look into the details when generic processes yield predictable and automated results. 

Errors such as leaving out steps by mistake are often results of manually and frequently running tests. That is why consider automating the most frequent test cases first before working your way up. 

3. Test Automation Ownership Should Be Collective 

Appointing a single engineer for the whole automation process is a common mistake among many software companies. There are also several instances when the assigned team members don’t have an idea of what to do. But take note. Test automation can only succeed when the team has a collective knowledge. That is why all team members must be capacitated and equally involved to integrate automation into the working environment. 

Skilled testers can also share their skills and knowledge with other members when there is shared ownership. That ensures that all members can contribute to the best of their abilities as they have a detailed understanding of the processes and what these are all about. 

4. Do Away With Uncertainty And Ensure Validity For Test Automation 

Most companies are adopting test automation to achieve consistent and accurate test results. Whenever an error occurs, the proponents have to check where the process failed. Time allotted for analysis, however, increases when there are growing instances of inconsistencies or false positives. To remove the uncertainty, the team has to remove unstable tests in the regression packs. 

Because some automated testing tools are outdated, many of the most necessary verifications are ignored. A lack of planning before the implementation stage is the main culprit to such an instance. That is why it’s imperative that the tests are updated, and the team members should continuously check on these. Make sure to assign someone to assess the validity and sanity of automated tests daily. 

5. Hire A Skilled Automation Engineer Or Team Of Experts 

Driven by a limited budget, some companies rely on their manual testers to do the test automation. However, this only adds to the challenge they have to face since automated testing entails significant time. It’s also given that they should not neglect manual testing since it also plays an important role. What they should do is to hire or leverage on people who can do the process separately. 

But isn’t that too expensive, especially for start-ups. Well, your company can start with a skilled automation engineer before hiring a whole team of experts. Your company can also scale up utilizing reputable resources depending on the given workload and volume of products. 

6. Target Quick Feedback And Utilize Test Techniques 

Test techniques come in handy for test automation, contrary to the popular belief that these only work best for manual testers. For example, analyzing functionality and performance via API testing is typically manual. But API calls can be automated with a script of global variables. But here is an important note. As soon as errors occur, the proponents should implement quick target feedback. Likewise, the developers should ensure that the existing functionality is stable despite the implemented changes. 

7. Choose The Best Test Automation Tools 

Which would you choose when a single Google search presents hundreds of test automation tools to choose from? Take note. Your choice can either make or break your business. That is why you should choose the tool that best suits your business needs in the given period. Aside from project requirements, there are other factors that you have to consider. 

For example, not all testing members have the same skill level and skill set. That is why the chosen tool should allow all the members to use without discrepancies. The tool should also allow the integration of multiple platforms and technologies to enhance usability. 

The operating system your company uses should also be taken into consideration. For example, you should choose tools that are compatible with the type of technology used, such as iOS and Android. Even with unexpected and sudden changes in the software or application, the tool should remain resistant. It should also allow for reusability and easy maintenance. 

8. Run As Many Tests As Required 

As often as needed, the testing members should run as many tests as they can. They should also start testing as early as possible to take advantage of added features and benefits. 

The team should start with frequent testing from the initial stages when building an automated test suite. One compelling benefit of early testing compared to testing at later stages is the significantly lesser cost of fixing the bug. Writing and maintaining unit tests during this period is also less costly. Take note. The bulk of automated testing is unit testing, and it inspects at the app at a low level. 

9. Consider Test Creation Based On Skills 

As mentioned earlier, not every member of the team possesses the same skill set and skill level. But you should know that the most critical phase of test automation is test creation. Once you’ve identified the level of skill and skill set of the team members, you can then delegate the appropriate testing tasks. For example, make sure that the automation engineer has the standard coding skills if you opt for an open-source tool. On the other hand, the team members should write test scripts without much guidance or training when using proprietary tools. 

10. Make Sure To Create Tests That Can Adjust To UI Changes 

The UI can change builds when an application starts running, affecting the quality and accuracy of test results. It can also generate upgraded versions of the app, thus, hindering the automated tests’ working. Some automated test scripts, for example, find an object using location coordinates. But this becomes a problem as scripts cannot locate the object when automation tests run on a changed location. This can lead to a test failure, costing time, and essential resources. 

So what should you do? 

To make the tests successful, you might consider replacing old names with new ones. You should also ensure that the UI changes don’t affect test results by providing unique names for controls. That allows you to create tests that are of quality and accuracy despite changes in the UI. 

What’s the core message being driven in this detailed post? It’s crucial to remain updated on the essentials when planning to automate your company’s testing process. Considering the various methods, make sure to plan well and execute right away with intensive deliberation. In addition, once you have your automation in place, it is crucial to use it’s results in a smart way that combines it with the results of manual testing that is being done. This is where a test management tool such as PractiTest can come to help. 

Patrick Panuncillon is a digital marketing specialist who has been helping various industries improve their online visibility to boost conversions and sales.