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If you are assuming that achieving successful test automation is a cakewalk, you can’t be more wrong. You need a highly skilled team, a proper automation framework, healthy support from the management, the right tools, and proper training. Apart from that, we should always be on the lookout for ways to improve the automation testing process & scripts. But you need not be overwhelmed by the long list of requirements as we will be exploring the fundamentals of automation testing in this blog. So let’s get started.
Automation Testing Team
You can bring a good automation testing tool to automate web applications, mobile apps, and APIs. But you can’t bring a tool to write automated test scripts by itself as you need human intelligence to create reliable test automation scripts. That is what makes your team one of the fundamentals of automation testing.
So let’s take a look at a few pointers to understand why we need automation testers to create and maintain automation test scripts.
- Only an automation tester who has good domain & system knowledge can write proper test automation workflows for the given end-to-end tests.
- No application is static in the modern world. Your application GUI will be based on the test data, geolocation, language, user roles, and color themes. The automation testing tool needs two inputs. One is the information about the element to interact, and the other is the test data to be fed. Only an automation tester can provide the necessary inputs to the tool while automating a test workflow.
- Test Automation Tools can tell you how many times a test script is failing. However, it can’t tell you why it is failing. Automation testers will troubleshoot the failures and understand the reason for the failures. So if there is any issue in the script, it will be fixed immediately.
The Required Skills
Now that we have seen why we need the team, let’s check what skills an automation testing team should possess.
1. The team should know how to make the automated test reports visible to everyone.
2. They should have a thorough knowledge of the tools they use.
3. Boilerplate codes are killers during maintenance. So your team should know how to implement the code design patterns to avoid boilerplate codes.
4. Knowledge sharing within the team and following the best practices for test automation are vital aspects.
So when you have talented people on board, you can see success in test automation from the very beginning.
System Knowledge & Thinking
As an experienced automation testing company, we have mitigated several failed automation testing projects. Our observations make it clear that System Knowledge & Thinking are also the fundamentals of automation testing as the lack of technical skills was the major concern in many projects. However, in some cases, the projects had failed due to the lack of domain knowledge. The teams had thought only about the test automation tasks and lacked the system thinking (i.e.), the type of thinking that analyses if your automated test scripts will add value to the system and not to the team or your department. Your team should in no way be working for your departmental goals. So the question has to be asked, how can we make a team focus on the system? Here are a few basics you can follow.
- Don’t isolate the automation testing team.
- Include them in all the process improvement meetings.
- Include a high-level and real-time automation testing report in the system development dashboard.
- Enable effective collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Make sure everyone in the team is well aware of the system goals.
- Encourage them to participate in pair testing and exploratory testing sessions.
Designing automated test workflows requires in-depth knowledge in the application domain
Acceptance Test-Driven Automation (ATDA)
Times were different a decade ago, automation testing teams usually spent a lot of time developing test automation frameworks. Which meant that the script development process started only after the entire framework development process was done. But it goes without saying that automated script development should not wait for the completion of the framework development.
But you might ask how it is possible to start script development without a framework.
It is possible if you are familiar with Test Driven Development (TDD) as you can easily understand Acceptance Test-Driven Automation (ATDA) as well. ATDA allows you to develop the test automation framework while writing automated test scripts.
In TDD, the developers first write Unit tests and then develop the application features until the captured unit tests are passed. In the same way, when it comes to test automation, you start writing test scripts using Cucumber, Selenium, and Appium tools. So if a script needs the test data from an Excel or a YAML file, you must add the test data utility in the framework before moving to the next test script.
But when using ATDA, you will make the test automation framework evolve by developing the test scripts in parallel. In the traditional automation approach, you will spend a hell of lot of time developing a framework and its utilities. Moreover, it is impossible to gather all the requirements for developing the framework without commencing the script development.
Test Data Management
Automation Test Script executions need a fresh dataset. Most of the execution failures happen due to the below three reasons.
1. Missing test data or the data which are fed for execution are already consumed.
2. Application Issues
3. Script Issues (Incorrect object locator details, UI or Functionality Change)
Test data issues need to be avoided at any cost and automation testers should not spend time to feed test data in automated test suites every time before starting the execution.
Use or create a test data management tool to keep as much as the required test data ready. So make sure your test automation scripts don’t starve for test data.
Reporting & Logging
Since Reporting & Logging is one of the fundamentals of automation testing, you have to make sure that any and all automation testing frameworks you choose have the below capabilities.
- The reports should be real-time as your team should be able to view which test case is being executed now and the test step which was just executed.
- All the framework & utilities-related exceptions and log information should go in a separate log file.
- The reporting tool should track how many times a script has failed.
- It should also collect the report data for metrics.
- Reports should be accessible and understandable to everyone.
- Screenshots and Video recordings should be embedded.
There are many test automation reporting tools available in the market that can come in handy. Make sure the tool takes care of everything once you ingest the reporting data into the tool database. Never try to build a reporting tool on your own unless you have a special requirement. Maintaining a tool is an overhead, and your focus should be on the Framework & script development.
So these are the fundamentals of automation testing that one has to know. As one of the best companies for automation testing, we always improve our test automation process and train our teams for continuous improvement. We have seen many instances where the frameworks which were used were not updated with the latest libraries and test automation techniques. So it is evident that when you have a proper team that always focuses to improve and collaborate effectively, you will see success in test automation.