AUTOMATED TESTING: Are you missing out on the big benefits?

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AUTHOR: Tom Giordmaina - QA Lead

Tom has extensive experience delivering superior quality digital products for large enterprises from Origin Energy to Nine Entertainment Co and News. Tom has exceptionally high standards and rigorous QA methodologies to ensure Kablamo’s (and our client’s) products meet the expected requirements and quality.

Introduction

In my experience as a QA Manager, every organisation I’ve worked for has had a keen interest in automated testing. It’s easy to see why everyone falls in love with its perceived benefits - faster testing, with fewer people, at lower cost… the dream!

For this reason, every business case I’ve had approved to implement automated testing was achieved based on the below objectives and planning:

  • Decrease resources – based on fewer manual ‘human’ testers required;
  • Improve testing time – speed up testing, for example by reducing regression testing from days to hours;
  • Overall cost savings – as a direct result of fewer people required over a shorter testing period.

Perceived Value

So, the perceived value of automated testing can be summed up as:

LESS RESOURCES + IMPROVED TEST TIME = COST SAVINGS

In my humble opinion, these benefits - while clearly advantageous to any business - are merely convenient side effects of automated testing. In fact, the actual value is far greater.

The true value of an automated testing strategy is actually higher quality and expanded test coverage (although these benefits don’t go down as well in a business case).

So-called “manual” testers are still important. Not everything can (or should) be automated as humans are still needed for many elements. Analysis, investigation, and designing the test scenarios immediately spring to mind, though the list goes on.

Automation does have its place, and should primarily be used to eliminate manual regression testing. So once something has been tested manually, any repeated testing of the same functionality can be conducted by a machine. After all, even the most vigilant human can lose their diligence when repeating and testing the same component over, and over again. So, in the case of regression testing, machines can more consistently deliver quality.  

However, a common mistake made after the introduction of automation, is to reduce the number of testers in the organisation. Instead, the testers should finally be free to do what they’re employed to do - TEST!

(There are caveats to this rule - for example, where an organisation is completely reliant on manual testers to execute enormous manual regression suites, automation will naturally decrease the number of manual testers required).  

It all boils down to the fact that endlessly running through regression checklists is not testing. This is something anyone can do and involves very limited skills… (but that’s a topic for another day).

True Value

With all this in mind, the true value of automation can be summed up as:

RELIABLE AUTOMATION + REPEATED TEST PROCESS = BROADER TEST COVERAGE + HIGHER QUALITY

Summary

The selling points to automation are usually that because less manual resources are required, testing can be carried out quicker while saving the business money. While no doubt important, the real benefit to the business is being able to repeat test processes which allows human testers to move on to other aspects, ensuring higher quality code and better digital services across the organisation.

If you’re sick of bugs and false starts hamstringing the delivery of your digital services, get in touch to find out more about the automation test tools Kablamo has devised to significantly reduce test time and improve quality for clients.