When done correctly, test automation can provide numerous benefits and be quite useful to the project and business. There are, however, a few pitfalls to be aware of.
What are some of the benefits of test automation?
Confirmation of what is already known
Automated checks are an excellent technique to ensure that the application continues to function properly after modifications have been made. When a new feature is added to an application or a bug is repaired, it is possible that the functionality of the working software is impacted, resulting in a regression bug. We can identify any new issues introduced as a result of the modifications by running a set of automated regression checks when the application is updated.
Another significant benefit of automated tests is the immediate feedback we receive when the application is updated. Before moving on to other tasks, the development team should try to fix any failures as soon as possible.
Please keep in mind that unit tests and API tests are the only way to get quick feedback. Testing functionality from the user interface or at the system level can take a long time.
Fast execution of checks
Scripting automated checks can take a long time. However, when we use them, they are often swift and can complete tasks considerably faster than a human. As a result, they help in delivering timely feedback to the development team.
This is particularly true in data-driven situations.
The testers’ time is freed up.
Regression tests are the ideal use of automated tests. We can save up testers’ time by automating regression tests, allowing them to focus on exploratory testing of new features. Automated checks, on the other hand, can run automatically with little or no oversight or manual involvement if properly done.
The development team can contribute.
Automated tests are typically written in the same programming language as the application being tested. As a result, the duty for writing, maintaining, and executing the tests is shared.
Not only testers, but everyone on the development team can contribute.
What are the disadvantages of Test Automation?
A false sense of quality
Beware of passing tests! This is especially important when testing functionality at the user interface or system level. Only what is programmed to be checked is checked by an automated check.
Although all automated tests in a test suite may pass, there may be severe problems that go undiscovered. The automated test was not coded to “search” for those failures, which is why this could happened.
Solution: Before automating test cases, make sure they’re well-designed. The quality of an automated test is only as good as the test’s design. In addition, manual/exploratory testing should be used to supplement automated tests.
Many things can cause automated tests to fail. If automated tests continue to fail for reasons other than true defects, false alarms may emerge. Automated tests, for example, can be disrupted by a UI update, a service outage, or network issues. These concerns are unrelated to the application under test, yet they may have an impact on the automated tests’ outcome.
Solution: Use stubs whenever practical and appropriate. Stubs are used to solve connectivity issues or changes in third-party systems. As a result, any downstream failures would not affect the automatic inspections.
Test automation is not the same as testing.
Unfortunately, a lot of people mix up “test automation” and “testing.” They want to “automate all the tests” once they have the means to automate testing. All “manual testers” need to be eliminated. Testing is, in reality, an engagement in exploration.
Domain expertise, a focused mind, and a willingness to study the application are all required for testing. Testing involves more than merely following a set of pre-defined test steps and comparing the outcomes to what was expected. This is what automated checks are for. Human intellect is always required to effectively test an application.
Solution: Recognize that successful project delivery requires both automated and manual testing. One does not replace the other.
Maintenance Time and Effort
You must accept that automated tests need to be maintained. The automated tests should evolve in tandem with the application under test. Automated tests have a limited lifespan. You’ll start seeing all kinds of errors if the regression packs aren’t kept up to date. Perhaps some of the checks are no longer necessary. Or perhaps the checks do not accurately reflect the new implementations. These errors may taint the test results.
Investing in test automation is a long-term commitment. The automated tests must be kept up to date and relevant to get the most out of them. This will take a lot of time, effort, and money.
Solution: Invest effort in building a robust framework because maintenance is a recurring activity. To save maintenance time, employ reusable modules, separate the tests from the framework, and follow good design principles.
When a new feature or functionality is ready to be tested, it is usually faster to undertake a manual check. The issue is that, depending on the complexity of the test, automated checks can take a long time to script. As a result, manually checking the results is faster than scripting, running, and checking the results.
Automated checks might also take a long time to perform and report when it comes to UI and system level testing. As a result, we may not be aware of an actual bug until all tests have been completed.
Solution: Try to automate the tests as part of the development process so that when the new functionality is ready, you can run the automated tests against it.
Not a lot of bugs found
The majority of the bugs appear to be discovered by “accident” or during exploratory testing. This is likely due to the fact that we may be testing the application in a variety of ways with each exploratory testing session.
Regression tests that are automated, on the other hand, always follow a predetermined course. Occasionally, the same set of test data is used. This lowers the likelihood of discovering new flaws in the application. In addition, regression bugs appear to be less common than new-feature bugs.
Solution: Create the scenario setting and data as random as possible. Experimenting with new paths and data each time can uncover potential issues.
Neither automated nor manual approaches will work on their own. Having a blend of both is the best method. Delivery teams should automate as many test cases as feasible while performing manual testing on the most essential scenarios at random.
Author: Adrian Jiga