6 common test automation mistakes (and how to avoid making them)

6 common test automation mistakes (and how to avoid making them)

When it comes to planning or re-thinking your organisation’s approach to software delivery, the use of test automation is essential to optimise delivery speed and achieve a return on investment without compromising on quality.

But that doesn’t make it a silver bullet for success – avoid these common mistakes to ensure you’ll get the most out of your test automation initiative.

1. Trying to automate everything

While automation is a fantastic tool to add to your enterprise’s arsenal, it also requires a solid investment and often a change to ways of working. Trying to automate processes that aren’t heavily used can be a waste of time and money as they may involve unnecessary ongoing maintenance – especially if you have limited resources to spend upfront.

Instead, focus on automating your most important or business-critical components first, and those that need continuous regression testing. This will provide you with the greatest return on investment (ROI) and give your business more room to grow.

When it comes to test automation, always take a dollars and sense approach.

2. Jumping in without a business case

Without a proper plan or business case, you won’t be able to put the right measures in place to check if the move to test automation has been beneficial.

Creating a test automation business case that includes clearly defined objectives and benefits will provide clarity on where to focus your efforts. It’s important that your plan includes clear ROI goals that are understood and supported by your business and IT stakeholders. The Tricentis ROI calculator can provide a useful first step in this journey.

3. Making test automation a one-person job

Relying on just one person to build and maintain your automated processes is a big risk. If they leave or become unavailable, your automation investment is likely to be adversely impacted.

Make sure your test automation responsibilities are shared between two or more members of the team to ensure continuity in the face of change. Those people will also be able to have more collaborative conversations with the rest of the team and ensure that the right automation outcomes are prioritised and delivered.

Make sure more than one person in your team knows how to maintain your test automation processes.

4. Failing to maintain an investment post-launch

We frequently see project budgets include an allocation for test automation that stops when the project goes live. This presents a quite obvious problem: your test automation can become useless if it’s not updated as applications evolve.

When budgeting, plan for an ongoing allocation to test automation funding over time (at the right level) – technology moves fast, and you don’t want to be left behind.

5. Using test automation tools beyond your team’s technical capabilities

An organisation that that wants to automate but relies heavily on manual testers or business analysts (BAs) to conduct testing needs to consider their automated tool selection carefully. Failure to do this frequently results in poor test tool adoption and a frustrated team.

To avoid this, think about how your test automation processes will operate in the long term and base your tool selection around that. For example, a team comprised of BAs or manual testers would be better served by using a no code/low code tool such as Tricentis Tosca than a tool that requires complex programming skills. Writing code to test code typically isn’t the best way to automate testing!

6. Failure to clearly understand requirements

If you don’t fully grasp your business’s test automation requirements, it’s more likely that you’ll build something not fit for purpose, which will require considerable reworking to meet desired outcomes.

This can be avoided by having clearly defined requirements and making sure you thoroughly understand them. As our friends in the building trade say, ‘measure twice, cut once’. And remember that “requirements” includes business requirements, not just testing requirements.