Effective testing is key to a successful project. However, tech teams know that managing and running tests manually can be a drain on time and money. This is why many organizations are choosing to utilize automated testing in order to maximize efficiency and make the best use of limited resources. A test automation plan that is well-planned and executed completely is an ideal way for teams to focus on new features of a project rather than managing existing ones. Some factors that influence whether a project requires manual or automated testing includes budget, timeline, expertise and project specifications. Of course, the goal for any project is to deliver a quality product in a timely, cost-effective manner. Automated testing can help your team do just that.
Why Choose Automation?
There are several reasons why tech teams transition to automated testing for projects. Test automation allows teams to use software in order to execute tests and report results. Because human error occurs more frequently with manual testing, automation maximizes efficiency and streamlines projects for success. Manual testing is also time-consuming, taking up more of your team’s attention during work hours. It is most practical when test cases are run only a few times without frequent repetition. In general, automated testing is more reliable because it is performed by tools and scripts. This also means that automation is much faster than manual methods. Especially when your team plans to run the same tests many times over, automation can often be more efficient.
When to Test Manually and When to Automate
There are certain scenarios in which manual testing is preferable, however. For example, it makes sense to test manually during exploratory testing. Exploratory testing requires the tester to have specific knowledge and experience to carry it out successfully. These tests require little specification documentation and may need to be executed in a very short time frame. Manual testing is also the way to go for usability tests. These tests measure user experience so human observation is the most important factor. Finally, manual testing is ideal for ad-hoc testing, an unplanned approach to testing in which “the understanding and insight of the tester is the only important factor,” according to Apica.
In other testing situations, automation is the better choice. Automated testing is preferable when you are performing regression tests because the code changes frequently and your team can run regressions quickly. In addition, load testing is particularly well-suited to automation. Performance testing, which requires the simulation of thousands of concurrent users, always requires automation because of the volume of tests being run at once.
Making the Transition from Manual Testing to Test Automation
When your team is ready to make the move to automation, the following steps are a good way to get started:
- Choose which tests to automate. Make sure you prioritize tests that will need to be run many times throughout the project. Some good options are regression tests and functionality tests.
- Create a standard test structure for creating automation scripts. To do this, determine a naming convention that makes sense and include basic information such as a description of the test scenario, pre-conditions, test steps and expected results.
- Include error handling in test scripts. The last thing you want is to automate a test and then find yourself dealing with cascading failures, which occur one a failure of one test leads to failure of subsequent tests. Making sure you have error handling covered is the best way to avoid this.
- Choose the right test automation tools. Make sure the tool you choose can easily store and manage your test scripts, including frequent backups and easy accessibility.
- Set the QA test environment. Create an environment that contains the data, features and security settings you need to get the results you expect from your tests. Having the right environment goes a long way to ensuring testing success.
- Create a test schedule. Run your tests on a regular basis to ensure that you can keep errors in check and address any issues that arise as you add new features.
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