The Art of Test Automation

Test automation has evolved to become a strategic and integral part of the software development process. Most of us start our test automation careers with record and playback. Over time, some of us move to data-driven test automation, but very few of us move towards the core where in the principles of design and development are applied to test automation. Test automation is like developing a system where test cases are requirements. The depth of thinking and planning that goes into test automation before hitting the record button is similar to developing software

Over the last 10 years, I have seen multiple Fortune clients struggle with automation and some of them eventually getting it right. For some of the projects that failed, we had the best test automation resources and a very stable manual testing practice but in spite of all this there was a huge gap between what was dreamt and what actually got realized. Over the period, we realized that the planning process is a key component for successful test automation. In 65% of the projects that failed the planning process and sequence of steps followed were the reasons.

Based on my experience, the automation process is:

  • Why (Purpose)
  • When (Stable Setup and Manual Process)
  • Which (Tool Selection)
  • What (Test Case Selection)
  • How (Design)

We have written a detailed whitepaper “The Art of Test Automation” based on the test automation process above. Through this white paper, we have attempted to outline how to actually go about automating, planning, prioritizing and using better practices to ensure a lesser risk of complete failure in automation projects.

Some of the important test automation questions that this paper attempts to address:

  • Why automation fails in spite of having technical resources?
  • Is there a standard process to be followed for test automation?
  • When to start and stop automation?
  • Test selection criterion

Download “The Art of Test Automation” to read more about the ideal automation process.

Poonam Rathi | Test Consultant | Zen Test Labs

The upcoming price revolution in the IT services sector- A perspective for software testing vendors

For years IT outsourcing companies have charged customers for the time and material deployed on projects as a preferred model of engagement. While this modus operandi is understandable given the unexpected changes involved in the work, it also has meant that inefficiencies have been passed onto customers. Customers too have taken it in their stride justifying the engagement as a cost of flexibility. In fact, most of the time fixed bids are skewed so much that customers are left with no other option

When it comes to the software testing industry, over the years this model has also turned out to be counter intuitive to achieving maximum automation in the shortest duration possible, especially in areas of regression or UAT.

Well if you are a customer shopping for IT/ software testing services there is good news. While the global slowdown ensured that vendors were pushed to renegotiate contracts to price much lower, the slow recovery has ensured that there is innovation in this area. Today, customers are demanding fixed price projects with an illustration of ROI up front, at times they are forcing vendors to link themselves financially to end outcomes and if nothing they are pushing for rates on time & material engagements that are just not affordable. The whole premise for this is the ability to justify costs upfront and gain visibility in the end outcomes or ROI.

The way I see it, the next 5 years will see the time & material model die a slow death. In fact it might just happen faster than that. In addition to customers driving this change, most vendors would just opt for fixed bid projects for its profitability. Increasingly, I see our engagements moving in this direction and the openness to do so is encouraging.

Achieving a health mix of customers across different engagement models is the need of the hour. What are your thoughts?

Hari Raghunathan | AVP | Zen Test Labs

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