In the battle between speed vs quality, teams that practice test automation know that there’s a practical way to aim for both. However, while testing inherently places value on precise observation and careful consideration over making mistakes for the benefit of speed, how can you make testing rapid enough the meet the needs of Agile development demands without skipping over essential steps?
Faster testing is easily attainable by refining your current automation strategy and adjusting the processes that are already in place. Not only will the following tips make your life easier, they’ll also accelerate your testing to help make the most out of your time.
- Get organized – Keeping your tests organized may not seem like a priority day-to-day, but it will make things much more streamlined for you in the future. You should be keeping your test cases lean and reusable, automating features at the unit level. By practicing good test management methods, maintaining accurate data, and keeping clean automation reports, it’ll be easier for you and your team to run tests whenever they’re needed.
- Talk to your teammates – Speaking of team, your teammates are some of your most important tools to driving testing that’s effective and efficient. Whether you’re the solo tester on a software team mostly made up of developers or you’re one of fifty other automation engineers, there are always other stakeholders in the software. Communicating with these people will help everyone stay on the same page as far as documentation and reporting, as well of the status of the software included what’s new, what needs to be tested, what’s been tested, and what needs to be fixed.
- Know when to automate – Of course, automating your tests will make things exponentially easier and faster, but automating the wrong test cases is just going to slow your progress down. While testing manually might seem to take longer, new test cases require exploratory testing, and taking the time to do it at the beginning will save you from having to go back and do it later after you’ve already tried to automate it. Ultimately, understanding the best cases to automate before you actually start running them will prevent you from wasting time — a software tester’s worst nightmare.
- Try parallel testing – While automation will unquestionably help you test more parts of your application faster, it falls short in the way that it is only able to accomplish this in a sequential fashion — no more than one automated test can generally be run at one time. However, with parallel testing, automation gets a much-needed boost by allowing different tests to run simultaneously. If you’re smart enough to understand the importance of the same tests across multiple browsers, operating systems, and devices, you can also see the value in doing this all at once with parallel testing instead of running the script over and over on different configurations.
- Use tools to your advantage – Being a great tester will only take you so far if you don’t know how to leverage the right tools to help you. Between adopting open source testing frameworks and investing in automation tools, there’s no shortage of ways to make your life a little easier. With the previously mentioned parallel testing, for example, you need to rely on a tool like CrossBrowserTesting for a cloud-based Selenium grid.
- Cut out flakiness – While tools like Selenium are an asset in automation, it can also lead to flakiness. False negatives will just slow you down — no one likes seeing red all the time and dealing with inconsistent results. In order to avoid this, it’s best to attack the problem head-on by isolating flaky tests from the build to fix them before rerunning the test again.
Working towards faster test automation doesn’t have to mean starting over. Balancing speed and quality is something you just have to learn along the way, but getting to know test automation hacks will get you there even sooner.