Strategies and Best Practices for Successful Test Automation

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Manual testing and automated testing can differ in many aspects. Manual testing ensures the software code does what is required, which consumes more time and effort. Also, manual testers must record their findings such as log files, external services, database errors. Thus, manual testing processes can be extremely time-consuming and repetitive. Automated testing is, well, automated. Less time is needed in probing tests and more time is needed in maintaining test scripts. Automated testing is ideal for large projects and products which requires repetitive testing and for projects that have already been through a manual testing.

Several factors should be considered before beginning a test automation project.

Selecting an automation tool

Consider the following criteria when selecting an automation tool:

  • Budget of the project
  • Compatibility with different operating systems, browsers, technologies, etc.
  • Number of languages supported by the tool
  • Reporting mechanism of the tool

Even though an automation tool that fulfills the above criteria can ease the testing processes, the overall success of any good automation tool depends on the skilled QA resources.

Know the application to be tested in and out

Having a thorough understanding of the nature of the application and the being aware of the technologies used in the project are decisive factors for selecting a testing tool. For example, if the subject application is a desktop application, know which language is used to develop the application and what kind of third-party controls are used by the application. If it is a web-based application, it is important to know its compatibility with different browsers.

Good manual test cases matter

Write and execute test cases manual which will help you identify the prerequisites and test data. Test cases should contain steps and the expected result for each step. Also, maintain fewer dependencies between test cases. This helps detect bugs before writing the automation scripts as most bugs are identified in the manual execution phase.

“Automating without good test design may result in a lot of activity, but little value.”

Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach by Cem Kaner, ‎James Bach, ‎Bret Pettichord

Automating everything is not possible

The purpose of automation is to avoid the repeated work performed by the manual testers, which gives them the time to focus on finding more bugs and exploring new scenarios to be tested. Generally, test automation begins by automating smoke testing and then by automating the build acceptance testing. Then, test automation focuses on test cases that require frequent testing. Finally, test automation is performed on test cases that required longer time.

Automation is software development

To develop a quality software, it is necessary to apply best practices such as code reviews, following a framework or design pattern and constant maintenance.

Automation is ultimately software development. All best practices followed in software development should be followed in automation as well. The more you follow best practices, the more successful automation will be, resulting in a high-quality software product.


Mohamed Insaaf
Associate Software Engineer – QA, Project Delivery