There are several situations where test automation doesn’t make good financial sense. Let’s face it, test automation is great, and I am the greatest champion of test automation. If done effectively, it will result in tremendous Test Automation ROI and significantly increase the ability for the QA team to test a wide assortment of tests. The key is you have to be smart. Just because you can automate it, doesn’t mean that you should.
QA has become highly technical. The technical capabilities of teams today are far more advanced than they were 5 years ago. This has tremendous advantages but it can also be extremely dangerous. The same resources who can work circles around their predecessors are also the ones that are laser focused on proving their technical acumen and aim to prove their worth to their bosses and peers. One thing they forget: Test Automation ROI.
Test Automation requires resources and those resources cost money. All work should be closely monitored and justified. It has to make good financial sense and it should provide a high Test Automation ROI within a short period of time. The challenge is that when technology meets business the technical does not always translate to justification of automation.
I have been using automation since I started my testing career 20+ years ago. I have learned a lot and I have both automated and had teams that automated things that other previous teams had miserably failed. I constantly heard statements like : “you can’t automate that”, “we have already tried that”, “I can execute it faster than a script”, “this is a waste of time”. I have proved all them wrong.
I have seen a few situations where test automation simply doesn’t make sense. I have made these mistakes and I have learned.
- New Applications: It doesn’t make sense to automate brand new applications right from the start. With new applications, requirements are constantly changing and the UI goes through many iterations. Not only is this difficult to test from a manual perspective, it becomes impossible to keep up with the automated scripts. The best thing to do, is to give it time and come back once things have stabilized. You will be able to automate scripts a lot faster, and it will result in less frustration and a higher ROI.
- Frequent UI changes: If you are creating test automation scripts and the UI is constantly in flux, it will result in constant script updates and it often results in things becoming unmanageable. Every code build will result in automation scripts which are broken, and those will have to be updated. My best advice is to be patient and wait.
- Data Model updates: If your application is going through a lot of data model changes, it will result in UI changes which will have an impact on your scripts. These data model changes are often done early on, so if you give it sometime to settle, you can step in and automate those components.
- Stable Code: One of the most important factors is to have stable code. If the code isn’t stable, and there are a lot of defects and frequent code builds, this will often result in a high degree of test automation failures. It is crucial to let the code settle, and in some situations have less code delivery, in order to maximize test automation coverage. More builds don’t necessarily mean better applications.
I hope this information has been helpful. I wish you the best as you work to build smart test automation. And I hope you build tremendous Test Automation ROI!
Cucumber is one of the most popular tools for behavior driven development testing. Cucumber enables the creation of automated behavior driven development acceptance tests leveraging the Gherkin framework. Cucumber is open-source so you don’t need to worry about paying expensive licensing fees. Cucumber testing tool is written in the Ruby programming language.
What is Behavior Driven Development?
Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) is a software development process within Agile that Cucumber was designed to support. It is one of the leading BDD testing tools on the market today.
- Open communication and collaboration across roles
- Work in small iterations increasing feedback and creating business value
- Producing documentation that enables automation of user acceptance tests
BDD does not replace the Agile process but rather enhances the overall process.
Cucumber Testing Tool Benefits
- Testers will be able to write automated tests without needing in depth understanding of a programming language
- Cucumber supports multiple programming languages
- There is a high degree of reusable code
- Cucumber is quick and easy to setup
- Cucumber allows integration with Selenium, Watir, Spring, Ruby on Rails and many more
If you are looking for information on how to install Cucumber you can go to the main website located here. Cucumber is widely used so there are many programming languages across multiple platforms. It is always a good idea to install the one that closely matches your application. Some of the most common programming languages used with Cucumber are: Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, and Perl.
There has been a lot of information shared over the past few years about Test Driven Development. Initially it might seem complicated and counter to logical thinking but it actually makes a lot of sense. Test Driven Development is defined as: a software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle. Requirements are turned into very specific test cases and the software is modified in order to get those tests to pass. In the normal process of software development, code is written first and then tested to make sure that it works.
What is the origin of Test Driven Development?
The origin of TDD traces back to the late 1990’s when extreme programming started. It because more mainstream when Agile came around. By 2006 it had matured and resulted in additional innovations to the process with ATDD or BDD.
What are the steps for Test Driven Development?
Here are the basis steps for TDD:
- Write a new test
- Check and make sure the test fails
- Write code to pass the test
- Verify the test passes
- Refactor code to make it more efficient
- Repeat steps again
What is the purpose of Test Driven Development?
TDD is a process of modifying code in order to pass a test which was designed prior to code being written. There is more emphasis on writing production code than designing test cases. This includes refactoring and helps to have cleaner and simpler code. It helps to find defects much sooner and eliminates the need of rework.
What is Agile Test Driven Development?
All the teams today that use Test Driven Development follow Agile or some form of it like Scrum.
Who is responsible for Test Driven Development?
Typically the person who is writing the code will be the person to write the test cases. I have seen some situations where there is a slight variation and a test engineer writes them but that is not a common practice.
What are the benefits of Test Driven Development?
- The primary benefit of TDD is that it helps to eliminate writing duplication of code
- Allows developers to capture defects much sooner in the lifecycle
- Software is better designed and results in more maintainable code
- Helps with teamwork. More people can work on code together.
- Less time is spending on debugging code
- Helps with code refactoring
- Eliminates a significant number of defects
- Often results in projects getting completed faster than original timelines
What are the pitfalls of Test Driven Development?
Here are some common pitfalls of TDD:
- Forgetting to run the tests
- Writing too many tests
- Writing tests that are too large
- Writing tests that are too simple
- Writing tests that are too complicated
Test Driven Development Skill Levels
There are different skill levels for TDD which include:
- Someone who can write a unit test prior to code creation
- Someone who can get a failing test to pass by writing code
- Someone who can write a test case for a defect that has been found
- Someone who can take a previous test driven development test and further break it down to simpler tests
- Someone who can factor reusable elements
- someone who can create a test driven development roadmap
- someone who can provide additional guidance and direction to beginner or intermediate levels
I hope this information has been helpful. You might want to also learn more about Behavior Driven Development.
Let’s face it, writing detailed test cases takes a lot of time and effort. As a tester, I know this is very tedious work. However, I know first hand there are some tremendous benefits that far outweigh the time involved. It certainly is not easy, but if planned out properly can be done extremely efficiently. You will probably get some push back in certain areas and using certain methodologies but it is extremely important in my opinion. Agile for example, is not in favor over detailed documentation.
Here are 7 Great Reasons to Write Detailed Test Cases
- Planning: It is important to write detailed test cases because it helps you to think through what needs to be tested. Writing detailed test cases takes planning. That planning will result in accelerating the testing timeline and identifying more defects. You need to be able to organize your testing in a way that is most optimal. Documenting all the different flows and combinations will help you identify potential areas that might otherwise be missed.
- Offshore: If you have an offshore team, you know how challenging that can be. It is really important to write everything out in detail when you communicate offshore so that everyone understands. It is critical to write detailed test cases is no different. Without those details, the offshore team will really struggle to understand what needs to be tested. Getting clarifications on a test case can often take a few days of back and forth and that is extremely time consuming and frustrating.
- Automation: If you are considering automating test cases, it is really important to have all the details documented. Automation engineers are highly technical but they might not understand all the flows of the application, especially if they have not automated that application before. Without the details, there is a high possibility that steps will get missed and perhaps that will cause the automation scripts to not be written properly.
- Performance: The performance engineers must also write performance test scripts. They also are more technical in nature, but they really struggle to get the right amount of information needed. It really helps the performance test engineers to have document test case steps so that they will be able to create their performance test scripts a lot faster.
- Audit: I have had the experience in testing applications that fall within domains which require regulatory compliance such as telecommunications and insurance. These domains require internal and external audit teams to review all testing activities. It is important to have the teams write detailed test cases so that audit will have a solid understanding of what is tested and will minimize the amount of questions that will eventually come back to the testing team.
- Development: I have found that having detailed test cases will help the development team, especially when there are defects, to provide additional guidance and direction. This helps to accelerate the fix time and thus the ability to retest and close those defects.
- Training: I have found that it is extremely helpful to have detailed test cases in order to train new testing resources. I typically will have the new employees start understanding how things work by executing the functional test cases. This will help them come up to speed a lot faster than they would be able to otherwise.
As you can see, there is valid justification to write detailed test cases. I am sure if I spend more time, I will be able to come up with another 7 great reasons. I hope this information is helpful and will encourage you to write more detailed test cases in the future.
There is no doubt that AI is Transforming Software Testing. Over the years you can see how software testing has transformed from manual testing into automated testing. It now has reached another milestone and is further transforming with the advent of AI. There are many tools today which have started incorporating AI in order to provide a high level of quality. As a software quality engineer, it is important to understand those changes and be able to evolve with the technology. If you haven’t done that yet, don’t worry since the technology is currently in a fairly infant state.
Here are several ways that AI is Transforming Software Testing
- AI will transform manual testing. Manual testing is very time consuming and expensive. AI will enable the creation of manual tests and be able to accelerate the testing timeline by running those scripts automatically.
- AI will enable testing teams to cover more scenarios and cases. This will identify more defects due to the increased amount of coverage across the application.
- AI will eliminate the need for assumptions. Software testers make a lot of assumptions when they are building and executing test cases.
- AI will help in using predictive analytics to predict customer needs. By identifying those needs this will result in a much better customer experience and customer satisfaction will greatly increase.
- AI enables visual validation. This validation will identify more defects that traditional software testing methods.
- AI will help find software bugs much faster and find more of them.
- There are several tools that incorporate AI/Machine Learning to speed up the development and maintenance of automated tests. One of those companies is Testim. Maintaining automated test cases can be very expensive and time consuming. Reducing the amount of maintenance will allow test automation engineers to focus on new automated tests and that will add a higher degree of quality to your applications.
- There are some AI tools that will complement existing tools that are on the market today. One of those tools is Test.ai. Test.ai leverages a simple Cucumber like syntax, so it greatly simplifies the development of automated scripts.
- Some tools do all the testing for you. I know that is hard to believe and I admit I am also a bit skeptical. ReTest helps to eliminate the need to be able to have programming skills. It leverages AI to fully test applications.
AI will create opportunities for software testers to move into new roles. Some of those roles will include:
AI QA Strategy: This role will use the knowledge gained within AI to understand how this technology can be applied to software testing.
AI Test Engineer: This role will combine software testing expertise along with experience in AI to develop and execute testing activities.
AI Test Data Engineer: this role will combine software testing expertise along with AI in order to understand data and leverage predictive analytics to verify information.
I strongly believe that software testing will continue to be a prominent role within IT organizations. I do believe it will evolve and continue to evolve. This will require additional training on technologies such as AI in order to keep up with technical evolution. AI is a brand new technology, so it will require time and resources will need to be trained on how to use the technology effectively.
Creating Predictive Analytics for Quality Engineering
If you are in the IT profession, you know that metrics are extremely important in helping to make decisions. This is also especially true for Quality Engineering teams. 10-15 years ago, testing was primarily conducted by software quality analysts and test cases were executed manually. Most software testing teams were small, and they would run a limited number of test cases to ensure things worked. Using this approach, it was relatively easy to know if there software was ready for production, and that QA manager could pull the team into a room and determine if the software was ready to be deployed. Those times have drastically changed.
Here are a few reasons why software testing has evolved:
- There is a lot of software testing tools that enable status reporting
- Automation and Performance testing tools are widely utilized
- Applications are more complex and tightly integrated using interfaces across multiple technologies
- There is tremendous pressure to deploy products quickly to market
- Testing applications earlier in the lifecycle (shift left)
- Distributed teams
There is a need based upon this evolution to have software testing metrics in order to make better decisions. This data needs to be consistently captured and analyzed. It is important to create predictive analytics so that you will be able to determine the current state of the quality engineering effort and accurately predict what would happen in production.
Quality is required.
Speed is required.
Resources and time is limited.
Decisions must be made.
Software must be deployed to production.
In order for these things to happen data analytics must be performed. A base set of data is needed. Some of those data elements include:
Planned/Executed test cases
Manual vs Automated tests
Root Cause Analysis
Once this data has been identified, it needs to be captured and segregated. When that information is gathered, you will be able to start and see trends. If you are testing a certain application, you will be able to predict how long it will take to perform testing, how many defects you plan to identify, and most likely how many defects will make it do production. Predictive analytics will evolve over a period of years. Many companies have started using AI/Machine Learning in helping perform this analysis.
This is also a continuous process. It is something that is not done once and completed. Additional metrics and more information will be needed. Those metrics will have to be captured and predictive analytics models will need to be created or modified.
Digital transformation requires that quality engineering teams transform how testing is planned, executed, and measured. The key to digital transformation is a focus on the customer. This requires that the quality engineering teams truly understand the business, and more importantly can accurately predict customer behavior. Issues such as usability, compatibility, performance, and security are extremely crucial. Provided these issues are tested, and the results are acceptable, this will create a really positive customer experience. For example, if a mobile application is slow, the customer is not going to have patience and will quit using it.
Predictive analytics can be used for defects. Here is some helpful information that will improve quality:
- Type of defect
- What phase was the defect identified
- What is the root cause of the issue
- What changes need to be made so that defect will not make it into production
- Is the defect reproducible?
Once this is understood, changes can be made to prevent similar issues from occurring. Using these predictive analytics, overall quality will greatly improve and speed to market will accelerate. It is important to have the right amount of data so that predictive decisions can be made.