Why is Scoping So Important to Test Automation Success?

A test lab is usually complex and comprised of a wide variety of equipment. Equipment may be shared by multiple users across a number of different test beds. Managing and maintaining a test lab can become extremely difficult.

Traditionally a test or lab automation solution is an answer to a productivity challenge. But a test lab automation solution needs to take into account the physical setup of the lab and its test beds, the users of the lab and the tests that need to be performed in the lab. Failure to consider all aspects of the testing environment will typically lead to rework and delays.

The test lab automation solution development process begins with problem diagnosis and validation. Once the problems have been identified, a Proof of Concept (PoC) is developed and demonstrated. After the PoC is agreed upon and accepted, the solution is designed and implemented. The solution is then installed, the team is trained, and test asset building is started. The team begins to adopt best practices around test lab automation. However, in many cases these critical scoping steps are not formally documented and problems begin to arise. Some of the scoping problems, if caught in a timely manner, can be addressed when discovered. Other scoping problems may result in systemic complications that can threaten the success of the solution.

Lack of proper scoping may result in some of the following consequences:

  • The Statement of Work (SoW) does not provide an accurate definition of deliverables leading to “scope creep” or unmet expectations
  • The project development and integration schedule is not aligned to delivery schedules resulting in missed deadlines
  • Budget is not properly allocated for the solution resulting in a reduced project scope or budget overrun
  • Technical requirements are not properly identified resulting in changes that do not sync with overall objectives of the solution
  • Qualified resources are not assigned to the critical tasks of implementation and integration does not match the original requirements
  • Unidentified groups and resources within the organization are affected by the solution integration resulting in delays and changes to the launch schedule

Scoping is a critical element of test automation solution success. Proper scoping ensures that all aspects and impacts of the test automation solution have been identified before implementation begins.

In the next blog, we’ll look at why classifying test environments helps with effective scoping of test automation. Meanwhile, we welcome your observations and comments below.

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