6 Steps for Succeeding with Test Automation in Agile
To be able to keep up with this ever-shorter release cycles that come with the adoption of agile software development, many development teams are embracing test automation as a means to continuously make sure that every software release conforms to the desirable degree of quality.
This is a significant shift from traditional software development practices, in which testing was stuck at the end of the development process and regarded as a procedure burden rather than a benefit. Testers functioning in a company that has adopted agile software development, moved to a DevOps civilization, and adopted continuous integration and constant delivery are therefore necessary to have at least a basic level of comprehension of how to effectively implement test automation as part of their everyday activities.
Unfortunately, lots of test automation efforts in agile software development neglect, or at least do not optimize their potential.
I'd like to explore what I believe are the two most important causes of test automation not living up to the expectations that testers and other stakeholders in the agile software development process have. Then, let us examine strategies and strategies for how to avoid falling into these traps so as to be successful with test automation within an agile environment.
The first of the two chief reasons I see a lot of automation attempts fail to achieve their potential is due to the unreasonable expectations which precede its implementation. Too many staff leads, development and project supervisors, and C-level executives (although other functions are not innocent, possibly ) see test automation because the one-stop remedy to all of their testing bottlenecks.
But reality has revealed over and over again that:
Implementing evaluation automation takes time, effort, and particular skills
Automation is a task that supports testers, not replaces them
Far from each activity associated with testing can be automatic
Yet there's still a widespread belief that test automation somehow, magically and using the press of a button, will execute each of the required testing to you. When, following a couple of months of diligently building and conducting tests, this notion turns out to be a dream, the men and women who've been working hard on getting the automation to work are often scapegoated, and sometimes even laid off.
In my view, the ideal way testers and automation engineers could deal with this challenge is to think and speak before acting. Make sure all stakeholders are about the exact same level with respect to what you can reasonably anticipate from automation. Take a peek at previous efforts, both inside your organization and in the wider applications testing and development community, and learn from these experiences.
What if do the job? What's going to probably not? Don't anticipate automation to be the magic bullet that will solve all your testing problems.
Lack of Care Dedicated to Automation
The other main cause of neglecting automation efforts is the absence of time that development teams (and, on a larger scale, whole organizations) permit for creating useful, maintainable, and effective automation solutions. Even though it should not be a surprise which implementing automation requires effort and time, automation remains too often one of the first things to suffer when time becomes sparse.
This applies to projects, but in addition, it applies to groups working in an agile environment. Even though automation is high on the wish list of many a software development team, when the end of a sprint comes close, providing attributes nearly always takes precedence over automation.
Note that I don't feel this is always something. In the long run, it is the features that provide value to the end-user, not the automatic tests that help protect them working properly. In the long term, however, teams which allow the publishing of characteristics to take precedence over everything might just run out of breath when attempting to earn deadline after deadline. It's almost as if they forget that adopting an agile method of functioning is all about producing software at a sustainable pace whilst getting feedback early and often, not about providing features at warp speed.
Not allowing for sufficient time to make a solid automation alternative also has a negative side effect: In case you don't award automation the priority it deserves (and that may not be the maximum priority), it is unlikely your team members will have sufficient time to become proficient automation engineers. I see automation as a craft, and like any other craft, it demands continuous learning and honing of your abilities.
Making Automation Part of Your Agile Development Procedure
Now that we have detailed two chief reasons for neglecting automation efforts, I want to propose a step-by-step guide to assist you avoid those pitfalls and successfully execute test automation as part of your agile software development actions. This is by no means a definitive guide, rather than all measures might apply equally to your circumstance. But after them might only help you to be more effective in your working automation efforts.
1. Establish reasonable expectations
As I said before, the success of any automation efforts starts with expectations. I find that asking and agreeing on the"why" is a good method to place those expectations. Why are you currently automating in the first place? Why do we believe we need test automation at all?
Be aware that in my estimation, there are great and, well, less good answers to this query. "Because we wish to have the ability to get fast feedback on every commit done by a programmer" is a fantastic motive, whereas"Since we don't want to have manual testing whatsoever" is a prime example of an origin of unreasonable expectations.
2. Treat test automation as software development
Ensure all parties involved know that the introduction of test automation is essentially equal to introducing a software development project inside your software development project.
This applies to both the project planning aspect (you should assign resources for it and permit time spent on developing and maintaining the automation, etc.) in addition to the technical implementation of it (you're writing code, so make sure you apply decent growth patterns and practices and respect the fact that test automation is a craft that needs particular skills).
3. Assign dedicated resources to automation
In order to succeed with test automation on your agile software development efforts, you'll have to ensure that the individuals responsible for generating and maintaining the automation both have the right skill set and have time to do so.
The number of men and women who will devote their time prior to automation depends on a range of variables, including their skills, the kind of automation that should be created, and the complexity of risk associated with the application needs to be developed. If your organization currently does not employ enough people to satisfy your automation desires, or the people lack the required expertise, temporarily hiring external experts may be an alternative worth considering to get you started.
4. Pick a starting point
Just like with any large project, it may look like a daunting task to choose where to begin with test automation. I've got two pieces of info :
Start either with some low-hanging fruit (this helps reveal stakeholders the added significance of test automation quickly) or using part of your program associated with the maximum risk or the highest impact of flaws.
Try to avoid beginning with finishing test automation, such as using Selenium. While this might look like the clear choice when you're searching to write automated regression tests, this kind of evaluation is the toughest to write, the most difficult to do, and the most prone to fail, possibly due to changes in the application under test or to false positives caused by synchronization or surroundings (e.g., evaluation data) issues. Instead, see if you're able to create a solid group of meaningful unit tests, or leverage API-level testing to confirm critical business logic.
5. Make automation Component of your definition of done
When you're working in an agile setting, it is logical to make test automation an integral part of your definition of completed for a given feature. Stay Away from these two traps, however:
Adding a statement like"All tests should be automatic" or"We ought to have automation in place for every characteristic delivered"--sometimes automation does not make sense, is awkward, or is downright impossible to create. Instead, opt for announcements such as"Existing automation is updated to reflect changes brought by this attribute" or"Added automation was created where deemed useful and relevant from the development group."
Determined by proportions --"100 percent code coverage" is an empty statement. It says nothing about the quality or relevance of the tests. Similarly,"80 percent of tests done are automatic" does not make sense, either. For one, this relies on a one-to-one translation of tests implemented to automatic tests, a strategy that has time and again proven to be ineffective. But more importantly, how can you specify that 80 percent in the first location? Is that 80% of what which could be automatic or of all testing done? I think you catch my drift here.
6. Learn and adjust
This shouldn't come as a surprise anymore: Test automation is a program development action, and when you're doing so in an agile way of functioning, it makes great sense to apply the agile principle of rapid feedback, quick evaluation, and learning about the go.
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