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Test automation: is it worth starting?

There must be a way to release flawless software products at a high pace. In this article, we are talking about test automation and discussing whether it can improve the quality of an app while working in Agile and DevOps environments.
21 June 2020
Test automation
The article by a1qa
a1qa

If you’re finding it challenging to achieve the desired level of test automation, rest assured, you’re not alone. Here at a1qa, we often hear this described as a pain point or challenges to companies of all sizes.

Despite that, it breaks all records of being one of the longest-running QA trends. Over the years, companies that implement test automation have experienced added value when doing so wisely, and are now reaping the benefits of QA.

The popularity of automated testing has accelerated particularly high growth in recent years due to the global response to the spreading of COVID-19. Ensuring productivity and optimizing processes with minimal casualties has quickly become the top priority.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on the test automation side of things, answering the question, “Is test automation worth starting?”

Test automation in Agile

With a value of $12.6 billion in 2019, the global automation testing market is expected to be worth $28.8 billion by 2024. Experts say that this growth is driven by the increasing adoption of Agile and DevOps methodology in the software development lifecycle.

Automation market growth
Source: MarketersMedia statistics

By adopting iterative and incremental ways of working, an agile environment and test automation go together like cookies and milk, reinforcing each other. The latter soon becomes an essential strategy for businesses to maximize the speed and efficiency of their software delivery.

The key question here is, would you prefer to think in the long-term perspective and build a long-term solution or solve the urgent QA-related problem right away?

Under tight deadlines, the obvious solution is to apply a one-off strategy. But what if these strict timelines happen all too often, and operational tasks are also continuing? Will it ever be the perfect time to start creating a long-run QA solution that can pay off in perspective (cheap, fast, and simple) and eliminate the human factor once and for all?

There is no easy answer, although strategic development requires pushing the boundaries and making cost-effective decisions to succeed in the future.

Test automation is one way to speed up, evolve, and keep pace and quality with the modern digital users’ life, helping to deliver the software products at the needed time with the required technical health.

56% of the latest World Quality Report respondents noted a reduction of test costs achieved through test automation, meaning that applying this effective framework helps gain better ROI by performing QA processes faster.

To adopt automated testing at an appropriate level, focus on the age-old indicator of total cost of ownership, and realize when it can save the day without becoming a burden.

Embracing benefits and removing difficulties

Integrating test automation into the overall development lifecycle is a great way to start. To provide the maximum benefit from the software, adherence to the shift-left approach is one of the best ways to decrease risk and eliminate the number of costly bugs from the get-go.

Once the test scenario is automated, no human involvement is required. This eases manual efforts, each test automation engineer can run them at any time, and in case of amendments in the application business logic, make minor updates within the autotests. By performing more cases and eliminating the possibility of human error, one optimizes test coverage and reduces the time required to get feedback on the software quality.

Test automation is not only about replacing manual tests, but also an opportunity to take QA to the upper level and provide better results within DevOps and Agile ecosystems. At a1qa, it has reduced the total testing time by 20 times in one of our projects.

No doubt, test automation requires deep knowledge, appropriate tools, and a new mindset that means quality should start in the early phases of SDLC. How do you get the most from the adoption of test automation?

  • At the preparatory stages of test automation implementation, define the core business goals (the fewer, the better) to ensure your priorities are right and correspond to the business playbook.
  • Choose the toolset depending on the pros and cons of each instrument. This will help you pick the best of the wide range available, from test automation and CI tools to instruments for coding and creating quality reports.
  • When moving forward, leave any fairy-tale expectations in the past. Test automation is made to bring results, but the effects of this won’t always be immediate. It’s worth mentioning that it can be applied if the software product operates smoothly while the functionality is checked on a regular basis. Create a solution that can help you track KPIs when heading towards your main goals and think of test automation as a broad space, not a capability.
  • Test automation experts should delve deep into the tested app, the latest trends, tools, and solutions to know their industry inside out and improve the expected results.

Automated testing in DevOps

Businesses are measuring continuous testing (CT) effectiveness via user feedback and business KPIs. Received feedback early and often, allows making code changes before the software release occurs.

Test automation is a stand-alone discipline as well as at the heart of CT, meaning it’s vital to perform checks constantly throughout the product lifecycle and the entire continuous delivery (CD) process. Usually, it starts early in the pipeline and occurs at every stage of the development.

Though, in some cases, it can be conducted in parallel or before the development activities. Autotests are designed when creating the feature, so it’s easier to evaluate its quality after the development process has been completed.

We can achieve that for two reasons:

  1. By the end of creating a feature, the test scenario has already been run.
  2. The autotest is launched after the developer has implemented the feature.

With CT, automation integrates smoothly in the CI/CD pipelines and helps precisely assess business risks with each potential release version, delivering the product at the right time with no critical bugs.

Bottom line

Faster releases. Higher quality of the product. To achieve these goals and get a forward-looking QA solution, businesses are doing their utmost to adopt test automation as early as possible.

A promising discipline, based on an insight-driven approach to its implementation, test automation can help you to get a high ROI without re-doing QA activities.

Are you re-thinking your business scenario to optimize processes and stay competitive in a post-pandemic world? Ask our experts about how to implement automated testing wisely and get an increase in software quality in 6 months.

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