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Identifying and Solving Challenges in Automation Testing

purity muriuki

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test automation

Quality engineering company Cigniti estimates that 64% of test automation projects fail to meet their goals. While various factors can compromise the success of test automation, there are several common challenges that many companies must address. This article will provide you with more details about these typical automation testing challenges, so you can identify and tackle them effectively.

1. High initial investment and other associated costs

One of the most common issues in test automation projects is the significant financial investment they require. Unfortunately, test automation always comes with a cost. Proprietary tools often entail licensing fees, and many open-source tools require an investment in testing infrastructure and the employment of specialists to maintain it.

Conducting a thorough return on investment (ROI) analysis can help you understand the real costs of a tool in the exact business scenario of your organization and justify the investment to gain support from stakeholders.

However, there may be situations where the budget is insufficient for a complete transition to automated testing despite the perspective of a high ROI. In such cases, you might consider starting with a small pilot test automation project and gradually scaling it up. Invest in training your employees to reduce the long-term costs of partnering with external specialists and consider using cloud-based testing infrastructure to manage expenses effectively.

2. Establishing a test automation strategy

One of the popular problems leading to project failure is the absence of a well-defined strategy for test automation. It is crucial to allocate sufficient time to create a strategy, with a particular focus on setting clear project goals.

Identifying project goals is, in itself, an example of significant challenges in automation testing. These goals should be explicit, measurable, and constrained by specific timeframes. At the same time, they should be free from unrealistic expectations about test automation, such as:

  • Achieving instant ROI;
  • Attaining 100% test coverage;
  • Eliminating manual effort entirely;
  • Resolving all testing challenges;
  • Rapid test script development;
  • Applying automation to every single test.

3. Test automation tool selection

The ever-expanding array of test automation tools provides companies with numerous options, but it also introduces challenges in selecting the right solution. A poor choice of a test automation tool can jeopardize the entire automation effort and result in financial losses. It is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all test automation tool.

Several aspects of a tool should be considered during the selection process, including:

  • Compatibility with the application under test;
  • Required testing functionality, such as regression testing and performance testing;
  • Additional features like automated report generation;
  • Learning curve and ease of use;
  • Integration capabilities;
  • Scalability;
  • Support for creating reusable and modular tests;
  • Maintenance and stability of test scripts;
  • Community and support;
  • Security and compliance with data regulations;
  • Customization and extensibility;
  • Vendor’s longevity and reputation.

Keep in mind that the choice may be challenging, and you might have to decide between several appealing options. For instance, when testing Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications, for a licensing fee, Executive Automats offers the convenience of a no-code solution, a short learning curve, automated report generation, easy maintenance, and support for various testing types, including performance testing. Alternatively, you can opt for a free tool like Selenium, but be aware that it will likely entail ongoing costs as it requires building an entire testing infrastructure from scratch.

4. Test case selection

As mentioned above, achieving complete test coverage is a test automation myth. Regardless of the effectiveness of your tool, you will need to define a precise scope for testing. At this project stage, several things can potentially go wrong.

Ensure that:

  • Your test data covers a wide range of scenarios, including boundary conditions;
  • Test cases requiring rapid feedback are given priority;
  • The test suite is designed to be scalable;
  • Proper documentation and traceability are maintained;
  • Over-testing, which involves using an excessive number of test cases to assess the same functionality, is avoided;
  • Under-testing is avoided too, which means test coverage is sufficient.

5. Test script maintenance

Test script maintenance is a crucial aspect of test automation that is often overlooked by companies. Maintenance involves updating test scripts to ensure they remain effective as the tested application evolves and changes.

Maintenance can be a complex and costly process. To simplify it, companies should address maintenance considerations during the development of test scripts, making them reusable. Here are some tips to achieve high test script reusability:

  • Avoid tightly coupling test scripts with the application’s structure, as this can make them fragile. Instead, apply object identification techniques;
  • Develop scripts that can run smoothly in different testing environments;
  • Minimize external dependencies;
  • Ensure timely updates of test data;
  • Regularly review tests to avoid redundancy;
  • Utilize version control tools and a change management process to effectively track modifications in test scripts;
  • Prioritize the maintenance of high-impact test cases;
  • Select a test automation tool that assists testers in script maintenance.

Conclusions – facing challenges in automation testing

Similarly to any other project, the transition to automated testing is not always smooth. Some difficulties in automation testing can be avoided, while others are inevitable. However, gaining insight into potential scenarios, including those highlighted in this article, can assist your team in preparing for various issues and addressing them more effectively. Additionally, the mere understanding that challenges may arise when automating tests holds inherent value for organizations, as there are common misconceptions surrounding test automation that often lead to overestimating its capabilities.

I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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