Test Automation programs or tools are supposed to make things easier for testers, spare time and provide us with an additional relaxation blanket for our evaluation coverage.
Over the years I have observed many companies trying to execute their automation efforts, I have observed written projects thrown away, frameworks switched and managers being fired because they failed to provide what has been promised or set as a target.
There are lots of reasons for failure, although automation makes perfect sense in the long term, we do need to understand that it is far more hard as it seems.
It is interesting to note that, no matter what domain or company I’ve worked for, there were some common problems that always affected automation projects. Here are few top reasons I’ve consistently seen automation projects fail.
Reasons of failure of Test Automation
Keeping these pitfalls in mind will help you to avoid them and instead build stable automation frameworks, making the endeavor a collaborative experience so that the whole team owns automation.
Trying for 100% automation - Unrealistic expectation
It is pretty sure that no application is 100% automable, It is really important to understand what to automate and what not to automate. We always want to automate something that is stable, that is less prone to change, that has to be repeated multiple number of times, or that will help save valuable testing effort. By automating mundane and repetitive tasks, testers can spend their valuable testing effort on performing exploratory testing.
Best practice: Plan for gradually automating your test suite. We recommend starting out by focusing on the flows that are easiest to automate. In most cases, you will find that it’s the relatively simple and very repetitive flows that, by far, take up most of your testing time.
Lack of the required skills and tools
When looking for a test automation platform, make sure it fits your technical requirements. This includes installing the tool in your environment and letting potential users trial it with your own software.
It is not possible to conduct successful automated testing without the right level of technical expertise. Doing automation the right way requires testers to have a certain level of technical expertise. That being said, getting skilled people who have sufficient technical knowledge can be expensive and time-consuming.
Implementing test automation is a long term strategic choice and should be handled as such. Always evaluate test tools perfect for your requirements.
The lack of visibility almost always leads to automation failure, since automation strategies are not taken seriously unless people are aware of how they work and make testing easier.
Here are a few ways to gain greater visibility:
- Ensure easy availability of information about what features are being tested with automation and how the automation framework has been configured.
- Ensure that the results of automation projects are visible to the whole team.
It is important to make automation a collaborative effort and involve the whole team in planning and writing it.
Ownership of Test Automation
Most automation tools require users to program, which, for the teams using these tools, widens the divide between technical testers, who can code, and “non-technical” testers who can’t. The typical scenario is that the technical team members are being charged with implementing test automation, with little or no ownership shared with other team members.
Tackling many tests in single test case
A test case that is built to verify more than one aspect can fail in multiple ways, for that very reason. This means that if the test case fails, it must be manually inspected to figure out which aspect failed.
Best practice is build test cases so that they logically only test one aspect. This way, there is no doubt about what goes wrong when a test case fails. Instead of bundling up multiple tests in one test case, it is best practice to build reusable components with your test automation tool.
Difficult to test Applications
An application needs to be easily testable on multiple levels – unit, system, integration, and acceptance. If the application is not coded in such a way, it becomes a hassle to test – requiring more complicated scripts and more tools. This leads to more expenses and longer timelines.
Ensure to discuss the testability of a story, a feature, and requirements during backlog grooming and the sprint planning meeting, before the development effort starts on a feature. This will help to prevent problems later in the development lifecycle.
Most automation projects fail because they start too big. One cannot simply jump into the midst of automating entire test suites without building a robust framework that has the right integrations with CI/CD tools, is easy to maintain, stable and linked to a quick and effective feedback mechanism. This is one of the most common problems with test automation: There is no proper process in place to handle automation tasks. Each team member has their own interpretation of the process, leading to chaos and failure of the automation project.
o conclude, automated testing processes need to be clearly defined and optimized from the start. Ambiguity in who does what or what tools to use will only serve to convolute and delay the development lifecycle. Avoid the issues outlined above, and stand a much better chance of making automated testing work in your favor.
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