Making Test Automation a Byproduct of the Development Process

Test Automation

Given the pace at which products and solutions come to market, companies struggle to keep on schedule while accomplishing the testing needed to ensure a high-quality offering. Test automation is an answer to this dilemma, because it can improve a company’s ability to introduce high-quality products without sacrificing time-to-market. But the automation process itself must be handled strategically to provide the most benefits

A best-practices approach that promotes automation at every step of the development and delivery process is needed. This means that automation is not isolated to just QA teams but starts upstream of the product lifecycle with development.  Dev when they are ‘functional’ testing the code they create. This frees up QA to focus on its primary role of ‘system-level’ testing.

Status Quo:  System-level testing, not functional testing in QA

QA teams need to perform “system-level” tests to ensure that all aspects of a new product or update perform as intended before releasing to the market.  But often QA teams are focused on validating “functionality”. As a result, the QA team spends much of its time on functional testing when it should be conducting the systems tests needed to validate a product’s overall performance.  

Opportunity: Make Automation part of the Development Process

A “best practice” is to automate functional testing during development when product features are created. 
Developers are the best suited to take on this role because they are creating products and therefore know best how to create the functional tests. They already test their code before submitting it for QA and they can create an automation script directly during this work. This simple action will allow QA to begin its system evaluations immediately.

Outcome:  Higher quality through more test coverage

Over time, an extensive library of test cases will be created as a by-product of this process that can be reused for all future regression tests. 

The availability of these test cases enables an organization to perform functional testing earlier in the process and catch issues early, when problems are easier to correct. The libraries maximize the benefits of the developers’ work and extend those benefits to the QA team. The process allows QA to focus on system-level and more complex test scenarios. It enables QA teams to increase test coverage while shortening the test cycle and reducing the number of defects that enter the market.  

The Ultimate Benefit: Customer Satisfaction

While internal teams across the test organization benefit from this approach, customer satisfaction is the ultimate beneficiary of this process. By introducing test automation early for use by all teams, an organization can put a product through functional and system-level tests to make sure it works as designed.  By shipping quality products within shorter time frames, a company can stay ahead of the competition, increase the probability that customers will come back for more products and services, and reduce the risk of customer complaints.  


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