Automated testing offers undeniable benefits like increased productivity and more accurate tests. Numbers speak volumes: the global automation testing market size reached $12.6 billion in 2019, and this number is expected to hit $28.8 billion by 2024. The market is big and enterprises are getting on the automation rails, but many of them are not able to fully enjoy the benefits of it and even fail without properly tackling the top challenges in automated testing.
Indeed, developing an efficient automation strategy is not an easy journey, and choosing suitable automation tools can eliminate only a few of them. To help you make it there successfully, we’ll walk through the top 4 challenges in automated testing and how to overcome them.
1. Convincing the Management
One of the biggest challenges in automated testing may not relate to the practice per se, but it’s actually the foundation of everything – getting the green light from the management.
Certainly, your Director of Software Development is familiar with the advantages of automated testing. However, bringing only the benefits of it to the table wouldn’t make them sign off the agreement, especially when they are also aware of many other challenges when adopting automated testing.
From the financial perspective, implementing automated testing, compared to manual testing, does require a fairly large upfront investment from the very beginning, like hiring people with the appropriate skills, getting the right mobile testing tools, assigning one or two heads for investigation, etc.
But moving towards automated testing is a strategic-level decision, and it reshapes the entire mobile app testing strategy and processes in the long run. And usually, the unforeseeable dynamics of everything happening make it hard for them to get a clear picture of the values of test automation. At the end of the day, the lack of certainty about the ROI on test automation and how things will improve after getting it in place is what’s holding them back.
Since proving ROI is the main constraint that prevents the management from allocating funds for implementing automated testing, it’s advisable to make your reasonings from the business viewpoint and substantiate them with success stories and real ROI reports from SmartBear.
Below are some of the main points you can include in your pitch.
- Faster testing cycles. Let’s say it takes 10 minutes to finish an automated test on 100 devices at the same time. That translates into 1000 testing minutes. Now they can make the choice if they’d sacrifice the efficiency by doing more manual testing or the profitability with more hirings. What if the testing scope is against 200 devices?
- Reduced time-to-market. While bugs detected after release may lead to a disaster, last-minute defects might result in multiple test rounds, schedule slips and unforeseen expenditure. Meanwhile, automated tests can be executed from the earliest stages of SDLC, preventing regression testing from being a “release date-postponer.” Besides this, automated testing will enable releasing products earlier than competitors who are still relying on manual.
- Increased quality. Unlike computers, humans are imperfect, and it’s not uncommon even for experienced testers to overlook bugs. Additionally, manual testing is a repetitive task that devours considerable chunks of time. Since automation will free up the team from the lion’s share of chores, it will enable the team to invest more time and energy into innovations.
- Cost savings in the long run. Unlike manual testing, automated test scripts, once created, can be run over and over again at no additional cost. They can also help reduce the time to run repetitive tests from weeks to hours. In the long run, automated testing can produce more cost savings than manual testing.
2. Hard-to-Scale Test Environment
While being focused on choosing the most suitable test automation tool, don’t forget to adapt your testing environment accordingly. Teams who neglect this aspect will face challenges when they try to implement automated testing at scale. Automated testing requires lots of different test environments. Provisioning them, scaling them up, and then tearing them down is a laborious task when you are testing within a homegrown device cloud.
Cloud-based testing is the best friend of those who decided to gear their processes towards automation, and it is a popular addition to traditional on-premise testing. In a cloud environment, scaling up and down according to your needs is no longer a hassle. Besides this flexibility, testing in a cloud environment has benefits like:
- Cutting costs. When testing on-premise, you need to invest in expensive equipment to be able to create the necessary environments. When it comes to cloud-testing, you pay only for the environment required for a particular suite of tests.
- Proper configuration. When setting up a test environment in a traditional way, it’s difficult to avoid errors, which can be then repeated across all the devices. Luckily, cloud-based environments are pre-configured by the provider.
- Better communication between teams. Cloud testing offers more opportunities for DevOps.
On top of that, cloud-based testing is a wise investment for performance testing. Read our blog post on the matter and learn what you need to set up a proper environment in this case.
3. Lack of Expertise in Creating Automated Test Suites
Often, teams that are constrained by challenges of acquiring expertise fail to realize the full potential of automated testing.
Despite that shift left testing is a trending methodology being adopted by teams that are in their DevOps journey, it by no means indicates that the job of scripting and testing is largely shifted to the developers. As developers are still accountable for more innovations, QA’s are still required to obtain strong skills in configuring and implementing automated testing.
Though many automation tools are “codeless” thanks to the record and playback function, scripting is inevitable to deal with more complex test cases efficiently. Notably, the more languages you know, the better — for example, Appium and Selenium support a wide variety of languages, from Java to Python (find the full array of languages required for each of these platforms in one of our recent blog posts).
Start small and train your team or hire a professional. When looking for an expert automation engineer, pay attention to the following:
- Make sure that your potential hire knows the required set of scripting languages or at least one broadly applicable language, like Python.
- An automation engineer is a liaison between your managers, developers and customers. Make sure that your potential employee can communicate ideas from one department to the other.
- An expert automation engineer must stay updated with the latest software development trends.
- They must be able to look at your product from the business point of view and adapt test cases accordingly.
Hiring an automation engineer can be challenging. However, a suitable hire will save much of your time and budget in the future.
4. Test Case Management for Automation
In terms of test case management for automated testing, teams typically face challenges at three levels:
- Parallel testing. Running hundreds of test cases simultaneously can be tough. Leaders should be able to queue and orchestrate the entire process between multiple teams.
- Poor reporting. In case your teams utilize different automation strategies, exporting all the insights to a single report might be a huge undertaking.
- Analysis. With so many test cases running in the parallel mode at each and every step of the software development lifecycle, teams have to deal with a huge lot of data to analyze and review. This data might contain tons of valuable information, but spotting it can be a real challenge.
That being said, test automation doesn’t make sense without proper test case management tools, which should tick all the boxes in terms of reporting, tracking, compatibility and so on. Though there are lots of options, look no further than Zephyr.
It is a test management solution that will allow you to get the most of continuous testing. You can easily integrate it into your CI/CD pipeline in order to:
- Optimize every aspect of your SDLC due to the ability of Zephyr to integrate with various tools, from Selenium to Jenkins.
- Track, analyze and report all your test activities.
- Collaborate with your team members more efficiently, regardless of your team size.
Having said that, developing a test management strategy is an important step for organizations looking to shorten the software development lifecycle (SDLC). In case you are new to the subject, be sure to learn 5 fundamentals to building a successful test management strategy.
As you can see, choosing the right automation testing tool is critical, but it doesn’t ensure a successful automation strategy. Even if the management is giving the green light to getting on the automation track, the lack of right expertise, testing environment limitations and test case management bottlenecks can still hinder successful implementation. Getting the right skills in the team and the right tools as enablers will help you succeed in automated testing very soon.