When Should You Start Software Testing Automation?

Automated software testing is part of the testing process at the quality control stage of the software development process. It uses software tools to run tests and verify the results of execution, which helps to reduce the testing time and simplify the testing process.

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Also, automated software testing gives a business confidence in the stability of their product. This is especially important for Healthtech or Fintech products.

Why use automated testing?

The main goals are to:

  • reduce the cost of manual testing;
  • reduce the time required for debugging and releasing updates;
  • reduce the number of defects;
  • risk reduction;
  • improved product architecture.

Why is this direction in demand today?

For startups, it is important to deliver high-quality updates and changes to users as soon as possible to stay ahead of the competitors.

This is possible thanks to flexible development methodologies, as well as practices such as continuous integration and continuous delivery.

This means the use of automated testing. If you run auto-tests regularly, you can be sure that the app works as you expect. And if there are problems, you will find out about them as soon as possible.

How do you know when to implement test automation?

Test automation can be implemented if the project meets one or more requirements:

  • a large number of manual tests and not enough time for regular full regression testing;
  • a large percentage of missed errors due to the human factor;
  • a long time interval between making an error, detecting it, and correcting it;
  • preparation for testing (configuration setup, test data generation) takes a lot of time;
  • large teams that need confidence that the new code will not break the code of other developers;
  • support for old or multi-software versions, in which you need to test new patches, service packs and other updates.

When is it not worth implementing test automation?

It does not make sense to implement test automation if:

  • it's a young project with unstable functionality;
  • there are not many manual tests and they pass quickly;
  • you need to check the layout, translations, usability;
  • no time to develop auto-tests.

Put quite simply – for short-term projects with a small number of releases, it will be more cost-effective to conduct manual testing several times.

💡 The longer-term the project, the more frequently releases are expected – the more profitable automated testing becomes.

There are so-called ROI (Return on Investment) calculators. Based on a number of parameters, they help determine at what point automated testing becomes more profitable than manual testing.

It’s important to understand that the calculations will be very approximate, because it is extremely difficult to predict and take into account everything with high accuracy.

In addition, automation allows you to replace only part of the manual checks. Automation itself is the same product where there is a technical debt (infrastructure and technical component updates) that needs to be resolved, and this should also be taken into account.

How to start automating testing on a project?

  1. Define your automation goals. Someone is looking for cost optimization, someone wants to unload manual testers, someone wants to increase the coverage of tests. Defining the goals of auto-tests allows you to determine what to automate and what to do first.
  2. Choose a test automation strategy. It is worth considering the overall logic and strategy of automation based on the goals. Here is also a choice of the entire technical component of automation (the choice of the test framework, architecture, etc.).
  3. Create a plan for the implementation of automation. Here, based on the first two points, tasks, stages, deadlines, and the distribution of roles are determined. The distribution of roles is understood as who will be engaged in architecture, development of auto-tests, writing manual test cases (if there are none), automation management, and direct testing (trigger auto-tests and analyze testing results).
  4. Release of the automation implementation plan.
  5. Evaluation of the work done and ready automation solution.

Let's sum up.

One of the important advantages of automation is that it allows you to reduce the percentage of manual testing, thereby saving the cost of adding more QAs to the team.

In this case, the effectiveness may also be implicit: QA engineers have more time to conduct other types of testing that are performed only manually, for example, UI, UX, research, ad-hoc, and so on.

☝ However, you need to realize that the main goal is not to completely replace manual checks or reduce financial costs. It allows your product team to move to the next level of quality assurance.

It is also convenient that QA specialists can reuse previously written scripts for repetitive scenarios, making minimal changes to them, as well as run several auto-tests in parallel. This helps to reduce the time of testing — especially regression tests, increase test coverage, and avoid a large number of missed defects.

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