Rick Cruz explains how to promote test automation in your organization.
At a time when the number of devices, vendors, and operating systems continues to grow exponentially, the quality of the user experience has never been more important. In fact, millisecond differences in page speed matter to consumers forming an opinion about a website. If an application fails to meet user expectations, it is likely to be reserved for something better.
TO SEE: Hiring Kit: Back-end Developer (Tech Republic Premium)
Beyond the development phase itself, meeting those expectations often relies on testing, especially automation testing. After all, companies that automate at least half of their testing not only have faster test cycles, but they also find bugs earlier. But getting to 50% is easier said than done.
Building a better business case for testing
In an ideal world, the growth of automation in testing would be self-evident. But, as the techies already know, developers often experience huge setbacks from certain stakeholders who are too busy chasing the trendy stuff to focus on company-wide improvements to the process.
This leaves little money or resources for test automation growth. Now the bells and whistles of the stakeholders are all well and good, but no amount of glare can cover bad testing practices.
After all, testing is related to taxation. When buying a product, consumers have to pay tax at the time of purchase; there is no choice in the matter. The same goes for the development and implementation of your test rollout. You can invest in any development you want, but there’s a “tax” to be paid before it goes to market, and that’s testing.
But as with taxes, it’s not uncommon for stakeholders to try to pay as little as possible when the bill comes in. However, there are still ways to get the resources needed to support the growth of test automation. This is where you can focus to get the opt-outs you need to expand your test automation.
How to advocate for more test automation resources
Collect data about software problems
There are incidents, and then there are problems. Incidents are usually one-time disruptions limited to a few users. Problems, on the other hand, are the cause of incidents, but are more serious in nature. Incidents can certainly lead to problems, but companies will not resolve or mitigate the risk of either without the right data to support automation testing.
Dive deeper into software issues. View support tickets, document reasons for incidents, and document known errors. There is probably a trend at work, and that information can encourage all stakeholders to invest further test automation sources.
Emphasize the importance of front-end testing
Low adoption of any technology is often attributed to the lack of continuous training and end-user support, leading to a digital literacy gap. While that can certainly be the case, the other likely culprit could be the software or application itself. Problems or bugs in certain functionalities may cause users to not just avoid the software or application, but abandon it altogether, opting instead to develop workarounds to accomplish the task.
Testing is a proven strategy to mitigate risk. For example, front-end automation testing catches errors that can harm the user interface. Acceptance testing, accessibility testing, unit testing, and regression testing are just some of the levels that should be included in a test automation framework to further build your advocacy for more resources.
Highlight testing related to sustainable practices
Test automation in itself can be a sustainable practice. When companies automate testing, it doesn’t take much more effort than periodic maintenance or updates once deployed. However, that theory can quickly disappear out the window without the proper checks. Achieving truly sustainable test automation often starts with keeping automated test scripts simple. In other words, don’t overcomplicate the coding for test scenarios. Simplify scripts by focusing on one task or path at a time.
Also make sure that these scripts are resilient. Should an application or functionality change, maintenance can become overwhelming. More importantly, synchronize tests on critical components of the application instead of using wait statements that ensure a certain condition is met.
When all else fails, rely on the simple fact that the competition already relies on test automation to improve the quality of the user experience and speed up the time it takes to get a product to market. Without automation testing, the likelihood of keeping up with the rate of change decreases exponentially.
As director of CTG’s Application and Information Solutions and Testing Solutions in North America, Rick Cruz is executive responsible for the continued development of CTG‘s AIS and Testing offerings and teams to deliver innovative, global services that help customers strategically address their business challenges.