An advanced, efficient test automation platform, combined with a more systematic and comprehensive architecture, can help boost quality assurance operations to a whole new level. In order to best maximize a software product’s reliability, consider these seven requirements for your test automation efforts.
Most engineers have heard of Murphy’s law, which simply states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Based on years of engineering, we’ve learned Murphy was absolutely right, especially when it comes to software. Undoubtedly, your own personal trials provide all the evidence needed to prove it.
Recognizing this reality, it is essential to instill a philosophy and culture within the organization that elevates software quality to priority number one. Above all else, when it comes to product quality, everyone must strive for the best and not merely settle for “good enough.”
The culture starts with resource allocation. A healthy ratio for software developers and quality assurance engineers sets the tone that all products going out are to be the best possible quality. Companies that truly emphasize quality show an overwhelmingly positive correlation via market success.
A goal toward superior quality must be translated in concrete plans and actions. The reality is that there are never enough resources to perform enough tests. Therefore, the key is the efficiency of the QA process.
One straightforward way to increase product reliability is to simply increase the test mileage on all supported features by expanding the test effort to be an around-the-clock effort. This is where test automation comes in.
Test automation is not a new concept. From open source web applications that are available all over the Internet to all the popular large-scale software development principles such as agile and DevOps, automated testing is usually taken into consideration as a vital step of the development process.
Yet automated testing does not automatically improve development efficiency. As Rod Michael, director of global market access strategy and channels at Rockwell Automation, famously said, “If you automate a mess, you get an automated mess.” A meaningful—and therefore effective—automated test system is created using intelligent design. It is not something that just happens.
Automated regression testing, which largely relies on the user interface, is very effective, and many QA professionals are achieving excellent results with programmatic approaches such as APIs and service virtualization testing. Regardless of which technical approach you take, it is valuable to understand the underlying principles of effective automated testing, beginning with the test architecture.
A more systematic and comprehensive architecture is desirable, bringing us back to the “engineering” part of “software engineering.” It calls for the design of a robust and efficient test automation architecture that can effectively facilitate the QA effort in enterprise software.
With that in mind, there are a few necessities essential to any automation platform. In order to best maximize a software product’s reliability, consider these seven test automation requirements.
Centralization: Automation effort has to be coordinated, not only among QA engineers and developers, but also among facilities that span the globe. Test scheduling, executing, and reporting can be coordinated in a central place and managed in a multi-user environment.
Customization: Having a test case platform that allows testing to be customized at runtime via the web-based GUI allows generic test cases to be developed, as opposed to machine-specific scripts. Remember the mantra “Develop once, use everywhere.”
Multi-Component and Cross-Platform: The “develop once, use everywhere” principle applies not only to different tests, but also to different platforms and components within a test. This implies an agent-system that can be installed on different OS platforms.
Cost-Effectiveness: The fundamental motivation is that the effort spent on design, developing, and implementing the infrastructure will be substantially less than what is spent on performing manual tests.
Process Development: Normalize writing test scripts to encapsulate most non-test-related logic within the framework, such as the logic to report the status and progress of the tests. This allows QA engineers to quickly put together new test cases that focus only on the test logic. Reusable test scripts allow new test cases to be created more efficiently.
Test Result Reporting and Analysis: Uniform reporting allows test results to be quickly and accurately analyzed.
Test Progress and Result Monitoring: A user-friendly, web-based GUI allows for setting up test plans and managing and customizing test cases. This makes the operation workflow more efficient, as developers and QA engineers can each focus on their own tasks.
In almost any software development operation, but especially for large-scale enterprise software, having access to a next-generation platform for testing automation built with an architecture following this blueprint will help achieve higher engineering effectiveness.
Not only can the testing effort be extended around the clock, providing valuable test mileage during its stages of development, but with the help of the platform’s advanced management and reporting capabilities, testing also can facilitate the management aspect of QA operations within the organization.
Such a platform can be a vital component in helping you push software quality to a whole new level.