Just like the industry accepted agile development methodology as the way ahead, agile test automation was taken with open arms as well. The need for faster time-to-market and premium quality for each version of the software made automated testing an absolute must. However, several companies have faced the challenge of ensuring that the automation testing suite and overall automated testing strategy stay relevant while the product is undergoing change.
How Can You Ensure That the Test Automation Strategy Stays Relevant When the Product is Undergoing Change?
1. Start Early
This is an excellent reason to get the testing team involved early in the product planning – as early as the business requirements stage. This will help the testing team to create a test automation strategy with a long-term vision for test automation that is in alignment with the strategic direction of the product. Keeping this vision in mind will help test automation to stay on track even as the specifics of the product evolve. At this stage, it would also help to try and identify those parts of the product that are more or less likely to change over time and to focus the automation efforts on the more stable parts of the product.
2. Choose a Modular Approach
As mentioned earlier, the pressure to fasten ‘time-to-market’ is always high, and it ends up minimizing the window available for software testing. This makes it impossible to alter the automation strategy drastically from release to release. The test automation approach most likely to work in this situation is a more modular approach with independent components that can be used, re-used or removed depending on how the product evolves. The architecture of the automation suite, the choice of the test automation tools and technology should all be made with this approach in mind.
3. Involve Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
Since there is constant time pressure, it would be worthwhile to involve subject matter experts (SMEs) in the test automation process as well. However, for this to happen, script-less test automation is required. This is because script-less test automation does not need specific coding skills, and since it uses ‘ready’ components, automation can be created faster than would otherwise be possible. This approach can help accelerate the overall process of test automation.
4. Focus on Maintaining the Automation Suite
Lastly, we recommend keeping a sharp focus on maintenance of the automation suite. Treat it like a product just like the product under test. Test maintenance is a critically important factor. If it is avoided, then at some point the effort involved in maintaining the test automation suite could become more than the value it is delivering. Such a situation can be avoided by following the modular approach mentioned earlier.
Apart from these factors, there are a bunch of other considerations like the automated testing tool and technologies in use, the skills available at your disposal and the scale and scope of the product under test that matter as well in keeping the test automation strategy relevant.