Why Automated Testing?

Test Automation: Man and the Machine

Broadly speaking, the benefits of software testing are essentially twofold and are pretty much a given nowadays. Go on and have a look at the Wikipedia article. I’ll wait for you. Or here is my TLDR extract of the main benefits for you:

  • Quality Improvements: Detect issues and defects earlier and consequently reduce maintenance cost. As a side effect, increase customer satisfaction and customer experience in general while positively affecting the brand, customer retention and all.
  • Specification Compliance: Simply put, making sure the implementation is in line with actual business requirements, as defined by the specification itself. This typically includes both functional and nonfunctional requirements.

This pretty much applies to any kind of testing, including but not limited to unit, functional, and performance testing. Obviously, test automation builds upon those benefits, while adding a few of its own.

Benefits of Automation

Save Time and Money

Through regression, tests need to be performed routinely as part of the development lifecycle. Anytime application code changes, tests should be repeated. Whenever a component from the infrastructure is updated or upgraded, tests should be repeated. Every time an application is deployed from one environment to another, guess what, tests should be repeated. Rinse and repeat. That’s a lot of repeats. Performing all those test iterations manually is not only time consuming, but also costly.

Instead of continuously investing in manual testing, you can reallocate a piece of the budget toward automation.

So please, stop treating such investment as a new expenditure. Once you have automation in place, those tests can be run over and over again, without much additional cost. Plus, those tests are much faster to execute than manual tests, therefore greatly shrinking testing time. And as they say “time is money”.

From a business perspective, time-to-market is often critical. Test automation increases chances to deliver projects on time and on budget.

Increase Test Coverage

Because the QA team spends less time manually executing tests, more time can be spent on creating even more test cases, consequently increasing the actual test coverage. Moreover, as enterprises move toward agility and continuous delivery, it is not a surprise to see situations where the QA team cannot even keep up with the velocity of new release roll out. Some testing gets ditched, associated coverage takes a hit or worse, bugs make their way into production.

Improve Accuracy and Consistency

Because manual testing is a tedious, and let’s be honest, rather monotonous task, test case execution errors tend to cripple in. Are those Monday morning test executions as good as the Friday PM ones? What is the outcome of a test execution with a meeting interruption right in the middle?

Automation brings in both accuracy and consistency. A bot can’t get tired and surely won’t get any attention deficit. You can throw test cases at it and it won’t blink. Moreover, a bot automatically gathers metrics, which gets you covered for those nonfunctional requirements such as response time. Manual testers can then focus on either increasing automation coverage or those hard-to-automate test cases.

Increase Collaboration

Once you have automation in, the development team can launch tests on their own without much effort and catch problems and issues earlier, before delivering to the QA team.

So on one side, we have the QA team working on the test automation project, while on the other side, we have the development team as the first beneficiaries of such project.

Tied to a continuous integration process, those test launches could even be automatically fired whenever source code is committed and report issues back to the team.

Moreover, at any time during the certification process, the QA team can share any particular test results for further inspection by the development team. This could potentially be done automatically through integration with an issue tracking system.

Round the Clock Testing

Automation brings you the ability to launch and execute test cases 24/7, regardless of the time zone and without any intervention or active supervision.

Tied to a test scheduler, you can even fire your test at any specific time. Nightly build validation? Checked. Distributed team? Checked. Continuous health check? Well…checked.

Your Path to Performance Testing

Executing manual performance test is, in most cases, not an option, unless you have an army of manual testers at your disposal, readily available.

Automation is your path to performance testing and onward to continuous monitoring

where test cases developed as part of functional testing can be reused for those tasks. Automation brings you an army of testers that are just a few clicks away.

Closing Notes

So we are saving time and money, we are increasing test coverage, and consequently, quality, we have improved accuracy and consistency, we collaborate more, and do so any time, anywhere while getting ready to march onto performance testing land. Sounds like a promising deal to me.

What are we waiting for? Let’s automate the hell out!