7 Common Test Automation Mistakes that Slow Your Progress & Hinder Your ROI

by Evolutyz Corp on March 29, 2021 in Testing


Few organizations jump for joy when their code reaches the testing phase, so it’s no surprise that a recent survey showed 61% have or plan to implement automated testing solutions. When done right, test automation reduces costs and accelerates development without sacrificing quality.

Yet like all technology solutions, it’s not a magic elixir that fixes all of your problems, and organizations without QA expertise can make missteps that reduce their results. If you’re looking to get the most out of your testing, make sure that you’ve accounted for these test automation mistakes, so you can achieve a better payoff.

1.) Improving bad processes with automation

Not all automation is good automation. When bad test data or poorly conceived test processes are automated, your team creates a self-replicating problem. Without testing professionals monitoring the methodology or results, a crack in your test strategy can widen into a sink hole of false validation.

Effective automation testing requires intentional and meticulous evaluation before, during, and after the implementation of automated tests. Your team needs to start with a test process assessment to highlight any shortcomings or outright problems with your current QA model and procedures. Make ample time to plan everything out.

After your automated tests are in place, revisit your various tests to double-check their results. Otherwise, your cost-saving measure, when defective, may lead to lost time, money, and productivity as well as anemic results.

2.) Automating the right tests

Typically, when bottlenecks cause delays, performance tests can ferret out issues in the user experience or app functionality. What about when the testing process is the problem? It’s a common enough issue that we’re including it as one of the prevailing test automation mistakes.

By default, organizations inexperienced with testing might automate tests based on industry benchmarks or known precedents, completely overlooking issues that otherwise bring the testing process to a crawl. For example, manually testing the effectiveness of an API, which can require test coverage across various platforms or configurations, and even multiple data sets, could benefit from automation — if organizations prioritize it.

On the other hand, you want to ensure that the test cases you automate are highly representative of your actual user activity and realistic scenarios. Make sure to identify areas in your automation planning stage where manual testing results in errors or the development lifecycle to straggle, and your organization will achieve the best results.

3.) Attempting to automate everything

In the hopes of optimizing testing, some organizations inadvisably set out to boil the metaphorical sea when heating up a hot tub would do just fine. Not every single type of test or testing scenario needs to be automated. In fact, there are instances where manual testers are instrumental, even nonnegotiable.

Take CAPTCHA as an example. The whole point is for this security measure to differentiate between humans and computers. If an automated test can actually accomplish this type of test, then your team is doing it wrong. There are numerous other instances where human testers (specifically their physical sense of vision or their problem-solving skills) are still the gold standard.

Additionally, new tests should often be executed manually at least once. This is to ensure that systems requirements are properly met and that any bugs are ironed out before the test is put into automated practices. Plus, tests with frequently changing requirements or ad hoc testing typically could benefit from the human touch and guidance of QA professionals.

4.) Setting up the wrong goals for automation

Saying that the goal of test automation is to save time and money is nebulous. Without a clear and defined objective, you might spend time automating processes that fail to improve your business in meaningful ways. Moreover, test automation that lacks a clear goal from the outset will be difficult to effectively measure.

Where do you start? Here are a few overarching goals that you can explore based on your needs:

  • Improving quality of applications or systems
  • Reducing risk from human fallibility to your business
  • Accelerating time to market
  • Creating a better user experience
  • Enhancing the maintainability of your code
  • Fostering future scalability
  • Ultimately, if you are uncertain of the goal of your automated tests, it’s worthwhile to hire a designated QA lead or a partner with a test automation solutions partner that works to comprehend your overall business and technical goals.

    5.) Assuming all testers need coding skills

    When you envision testing, what do you picture? Traditionally, you might imagine a team of QA professionals writing test scripts that validate the functionality and usability of applications and systems. Though it’s important to have coding experts available for the creation of new and novel test cases, many of the routine or repetitive testing processes do not require their direct input.

    Artificial intelligence is enhancing the way that automated testing is done. Now, your users no longer need coding skills to create use cases. All they need to do is define the scope of what is to be tested, determine the test data, and evaluate the reports that they receive (even the report generation can be automated).

    6.) Focusing on test execution alone

    Some organizations are far too narrow and selective about test automation use cases. They assume that when we talk about automating tests, it only pertains to the actual execution of the tests themselves. Yet various stages throughout the testing lifecycle can benefit from automation.

    For example, if the tests you are running are periodic and easy to repeat, then it makes sense to automate the uploading of the test data itself. That way, you can maintain the flow of rigorous release schedules without needing to sidetrack members of your testing or development team.

    7.) Selecting the wrong automation tool

    In the State of Test Automation 2020-2021 Edition, 25.9% of respondents admitted that finding the right tools is one of their greatest struggles. Some organizations assume that they can select a one-size-fits-all test automation tool to cover their entire enterprise. Others opt for a free-trial or low-price tool to automate their test processes. Though not inherently bad decisions, choosing test automation software with only this criteria in mind can decrease quality or release schedules.

    Each organization should create its own criteria for evaluating and selecting test automation tools. Open source, scriptless, or even low-cost tools do not have a universal success rate if they do not support the test cases that your organization relies upon to create high-quality releases in reasonable time frames.

    Want to avoid the most common test automation mistakes? Work with an experienced automated testing solutions partner to maximize your results.


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