Automated mobile platform Kobiton, in its market research, found that 26% of surveyed organizations considered choosing the right tool to be one of the greatest challenges in automation testing. However, this is just one of the issues that can hinder the adoption of test automation in your company. To learn more about possible obstacles on the path to successful test automation and ways to overcome them, read this article.
1. Setting clear objectives and identifying the automation scope
In automation testing, challenges can emerge at the very beginning of the project if an organization fails to establish clear goals. Unfortunately, this happens quite often, and one of the major factors causing it is a misunderstanding of the capabilities of automation.
Many companies tend to overestimate the capabilities of automated testing and expect too much from the process. This, in turn, leads to a miscalculated return on investment (ROI), which can eventually result in financial losses.
Understanding the real capabilities of automated testing and its limitations helps to clearly define the scope of automation and goals, which should be measurable and contain exact timeframes.
2. Selecting a test automation tool
As mentioned earlier, the choice of a test automation tool is considered one of the biggest challenges in automation testing for many companies.
It is essential to understand that there is no single solution perfect for all scenarios. A thorough assessment of testing needs in your organization, as well as its skill base and financial capabilities, will help you make the right decision.
For instance, if your company relies on one of the applications of Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM suite, and ERP finance accounting and you are looking for a dedicated tool for automated testing that can also be adjusted to test other software, you may consider a popular testing framework like Selenium. This product provides flexibility and helps you avoid licensing fees as it is open-source. However, in turn, you will need to invest in professional assistance as this tool requires high competency and can be used only by skilled developers.
Alternatively, you can opt for a comprehensive proprietary solution like Executive Automats that is entirely focused on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and is optimized to cover automation of a variety of tasks, not limited to test execution, for example, reporting. Additionally, this tool uses a no-code approach, making it easier to work with for users without advanced technical knowledge.
3. The choice of test cases
Contrary to a popular misconception, it is virtually impossible to automate every test case. In any case, an organization has to limit the testing scope and prioritize some cases over others.
There are several ways to identify the most appropriate tests for automation. For example, you can use the following criteria:
Repetitiveness and rule-based structure
Regardless of how crucial certain components of the application are for the business, you will not be able to automate them if they require a high level of creativity and flexibility. In contrast, repetitive and rule-based tasks are perfect candidates for automation. Assess these characteristics in test cases, and you will be able to limit the test automation scope right away.
Demand for time and resources
The next criterion is the amount of effort you will need to automate your tests. Test automation aims to make the testing routine much more accessible, and it will be a good idea to start with test cases that require excessive resources and effort when executed manually.
While prioritizing test cases, it is crucial to assess the features they are testing. A feasible approach is to focus on testing the features that are responsible for critical operations first.
Vulnerability of features is another factor that should be considered while defining test cases for execution. It is particularly important for regression testing. If any changes take place in your software, whether due to modifications your organization has made in the code or improvements, updates, or bug fixes performed by its developers, the features that have undergone changes are naturally the most vulnerable to experiencing various issues.
4. Test script maintenance
Unfortunately, the process of building test scripts, which requires time, is not a one-time task. Companies also have to properly maintain their test scripts to ensure they do not become brittle. The use of version control systems, frequent test reviews, and timely test script updates are necessary steps to effective test script maintenance. However, test script maintenance becomes even much easier if test scripts are built according to best practices, which include:
Modular structure of test scripts
Adopt a modular structure with a focus on specific features to update scripts by replacing only individual components if needed.
Separate test scripts from test data
Use parameters to facilitate test data updates without modifying test scripts.
Dynamic element locators
Avoid hardcoding static values, which often require frequent changes. Instead, use dynamic element locators.
Apply consistent coding styles
Implement consistent coding styles in test scripts to make them more comprehensible and, in turn, easier to maintain.
Include error-handling mechanisms, such as logging statements, to assist during troubleshooting and debugging.
Conclusions – overcoming the challenges in automation testing
Automation can streamline testing tasks in your organization, helping you save a significant amount of time, effort, and resources while minimizing the probability of human errors and accelerating feedback on software issues, allowing for faster resolution. Still, the significant benefits companies can enjoy do not mean automation is free from challenges. Defining the project goal, choosing the tool, selecting test cases, and maintaining test scripts are only some of the most popular challenges in automation testing.