5 Critical Factors for Successful Functional Test Automation

Elisa Abbott
Elisa AbbottGuest Author | January 22, 2019

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve tried automating functional testing automation, but the results weren’t as good as you had expected. Well, when it comes to functional tests, there is a wide range of reasons why they could go wrong, so taking a comprehensive approach that includes both managerial and technical aspects, is tremendously important.

One good way to help you to prevent a lot of serious mistakes with functional test automation is to study the five critical parts of the automation equation. Knowing how each of them should work to contribute to the success of your test automation implementation will make you more aware of potential risks and issues.

So, let’s take a closer look at these five critical factors.

  1. Competent and Skilled Team

The first building block of the successful functional test automation is people. The engineers, architects, developers and other members of the team responsible for automation implementation should have appropriate expertise and knowledge to deliver success, otherwise, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Here are some tips to ensure that your team meets these requirements.

  • Have them explain the following: Why automation is the best solution in this specific case? What tests should be automated to deliver the best possible results? How to create an easily maintainable yet powerful automation solution?
  • Make sure that your consultants understand the long-term plan. Many companies fail to maximize the benefits of test automation because they hire a consultant without considering the long-term sustainability plan. As the result, they have to revise the automation to ensure that it meets the long-term requirements of the business.
  • Ask your potential team leader the following questions:
    • How can you build functional test automation that we can easily maintain in the long-term? Here, you’re looking for such keywords as well-documented methods, reusable code, and taking advantage of functions.
    • Have you trained anyone to implement functional test automation? If the person has experience in training others to do automation, it’s a good sign that they know what they’re doing.
    • Is there something that you learned from your previous experience with designing and implementing functional test automation that made you change the way you do things now? If the person says that they have been doing the automation pretty much the same way for years, it’s a clear sign that they’ve lost the passion for the advancement of their expertise.
  • Make sure that the test automation team members you’re about to hire have proven experience in working on similar projects. For that, feel free to find out about previous teams they’ve worked on as well as the results of their projects. During the interview, don’t hesitate to ask questions about what they’ve learned while working on those projects.
  • Pick the right size. While there’s no universal formula on the perfect size of a functional test automation team, you should ensure that its performance won’t be affected if one person leaves for some reason. This means that you should have at least two automation engineers and always have someone to observe the maintenance of the automation solution because it’ll be an ongoing task.
  1. Proper Tool

While considering a tool for functional test automation as well as similar projects, you need to be clear about the following things.

Investment

How much are you looking to invest in this project? To know how much you need review the prices of the potential options and adjust the budget accordingly.

Testing Requirements

Knowing the whole range of testing requirements allows setting the criteria for selecting the best test automation software. To identify all of them, you need to have a deep understanding of functional test and all the technologies involved.

Collaboration

This is an important consideration if your automation team members are located in different locations. To make sure that they can work great, select a tool that allows real-time collaboration.

Try Free Versions of Different Testing Tools

Software companies tend to offer free trials for test automation tools, so feel free to try them to determine the one that works best to meet the needs of your business.

Read Reviews

Software reviews by users can be helpful (in fact, 95 percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchase) to define whether a test automation tool is easy to learn, can meet the needs of certain businesses etc., so don’t hesitate to find them online.

  1. Test Automation Framework

A test automation framework encompasses a predefined set of automation instructions and guidelines that ensure the consistency of the testing process, improve reusability, and reduce the need to conduct constant code maintenance.

Experts have defined a number of specific factors that define the effectiveness of an automation framework. Accordingly, a framework should:

  • Be reliable and consistent
  • Be fairly easy to maintain
  • Allow maximizing test coverage
  • Be scalable for new requirements
  • Generate reports of automation test results.

Four types of automation frameworks are available at this moment, including:

  • Data-driven. The main advantages include efficiency, reusability, flexibility, and reliability. However, it requires major upfront time and significant resource investment.
  • Keyword-driven. The list of advantages encompasses those of the data-driven type as well as a lack of dependence on the app and less technical and automation knowledge requirements. On the other hand, this framework has a high initial learning curve for those without a technical background and requires significant expertise to maintain it properly.
  • Modular-driven. A totally adjustable and scalable framework that has a user-friendly process of designing and implementing automated tests. The list of disadvantages includes significant expertise requirements for maintenance and integration of precise modules.
  • This one uses a data-driven approach to organizing and maintaining resources with keywords and combines some other strengths of previous frameworks, which is the main advantage. However, with such increased complications, issues may arise that require technical expertise.
    1. Expectations

    One of the most common mistakes that people do with functional test automation is having unreasonable expectations. For example, many business owners think that engineers can ensure a complete, 100 percent automation that will quickly fix a lot of problems.

    To avoid making this crucial mistake, you need to define the scope of automation in great detail before the beginning of this project and have a clear vision of potential results and benefits.

    1. Maintenance of Automated Tests

    A lot of functional test automation projects have failed miserably because the testing team didn’t realize just how much effort is required to maintain automated tests properly. So, before you start your automation project, you should make it very clear that the team has to do a great job and thoroughly check and maintain automation scripts for each software release cycle.

    One often overlooked aspect of functional test automation is analytics. One of the key factors of this is understanding exactly where to run functional tests. Analysis can help you to determine what your tests are missing, and whether or not they are covering what they should, e.g., recently changed the code that may not have been tested.

    Finally, there’s the matter of metrics. Nobody should begin the process of testing or sign off on the resulting analysis without establishing the right metrics. In many cases, pass, fail, and other simplistic measurements are not enough.

    Final Thoughts

    Don’t be among those who have failed after trying functional test automation by following the tips in this article. As you can see, there are lots of reasons why the automation can go wrong, but now that you know these critical considerations, you can significantly improve the chance of success for your project.

    Also, don’t forget that the work doesn’t end after you achieved automation! Maintaining and keeping it in order is equally important and is something you must do to succeed in long-term.

    Elisa Abbott is a freelancer whose passion lies in creative writing. She completed a degree in Computer Science and writes about ways to apply machine learning to deal with complex issues. Insights on education, helpful tools and valuable university experiences – she has got you covered;) When she’s not engaged in assessing translation services for PickWriters you’ll usually find her sipping cappuccino with a book.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve tried automating functional testing automation, but the results weren’t as good as you had expected. Well, when it comes to functional tests, there is a wide range of reasons why they could go wrong, so taking a comprehensive approach that includes both managerial and technical aspects, is tremendously important.

One good way to help you to prevent a lot of serious mistakes with functional test automation is to study the five critical parts of the automation equation. Knowing how each of them should work to contribute to the success of your test automation implementation will make you more aware of potential risks and issues.

So, let’s take a closer look at these five critical factors.

  1. Competent and Skilled Team

The first building block of the successful functional test automation is people. The engineers, architects, developers and other members of the team responsible for automation implementation should have appropriate expertise and knowledge to deliver success, otherwise, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Here are some tips to ensure that your team meets these requirements.

  • Have them explain the following: Why automation is the best solution in this specific case? What tests should be automated to deliver the best possible results? How to create an easily maintainable yet powerful automation solution?
  • Make sure that your consultants understand the long-term plan. Many companies fail to maximize the benefits of test automation because they hire a consultant without considering the long-term sustainability plan. As the result, they have to revise the automation to ensure that it meets the long-term requirements of the business.
  • Ask your potential team leader the following questions:
    • How can you build functional test automation that we can easily maintain in the long-term? Here, you’re looking for such keywords as well-documented methods, reusable code, and taking advantage of functions.
    • Have you trained anyone to implement functional test automation? If the person has experience in training others to do automation, it’s a good sign that they know what they’re doing.
    • Is there something that you learned from your previous experience with designing and implementing functional test automation that made you change the way you do things now? If the person says that they have been doing the automation pretty much the same way for years, it’s a clear sign that they’ve lost the passion for the advancement of their expertise.
  • Make sure that the test automation team members you’re about to hire have proven experience in working on similar projects. For that, feel free to find out about previous teams they’ve worked on as well as the results of their projects. During the interview, don’t hesitate to ask questions about what they’ve learned while working on those projects.
  • Pick the right size. While there’s no universal formula on the perfect size of a functional test automation team, you should ensure that its performance won’t be affected if one person leaves for some reason. This means that you should have at least two automation engineers and always have someone to observe the maintenance of the automation solution because it’ll be an ongoing task.
  1. Proper Tool

While considering a tool for functional test automation as well as similar projects, you need to be clear about the following things.

Investment

How much are you looking to invest in this project? To know how much you need review the prices of the potential options and adjust the budget accordingly.

Testing Requirements

Knowing the whole range of testing requirements allows setting the criteria for selecting the best test automation software. To identify all of them, you need to have a deep understanding of functional test and all the technologies involved.

Collaboration

This is an important consideration if your automation team members are located in different locations. To make sure that they can work great, select a tool that allows real-time collaboration.

Try Free Versions of Different Testing Tools

Software companies tend to offer free trials for test automation tools, so feel free to try them to determine the one that works best to meet the needs of your business.

Read Reviews

Software reviews by users can be helpful (in fact, 95 percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchase) to define whether a test automation tool is easy to learn, can meet the needs of certain businesses etc., so don’t hesitate to find them online.

  1. Test Automation Framework

A test automation framework encompasses a predefined set of automation instructions and guidelines that ensure the consistency of the testing process, improve reusability, and reduce the need to conduct constant code maintenance.

Experts have defined a number of specific factors that define the effectiveness of an automation framework. Accordingly, a framework should:

  • Be reliable and consistent
  • Be fairly easy to maintain
  • Allow maximizing test coverage
  • Be scalable for new requirements
  • Generate reports of automation test results.

Four types of automation frameworks are available at this moment, including:

  • Data-driven. The main advantages include efficiency, reusability, flexibility, and reliability. However, it requires major upfront time and significant resource investment.
  • Keyword-driven. The list of advantages encompasses those of the data-driven type as well as a lack of dependence on the app and less technical and automation knowledge requirements. On the other hand, this framework has a high initial learning curve for those without a technical background and requires significant expertise to maintain it properly.
  • Modular-driven. A totally adjustable and scalable framework that has a user-friendly process of designing and implementing automated tests. The list of disadvantages includes significant expertise requirements for maintenance and integration of precise modules.
  • This one uses a data-driven approach to organizing and maintaining resources with keywords and combines some other strengths of previous frameworks, which is the main advantage. However, with such increased complications, issues may arise that require technical expertise.
    1. Expectations

    One of the most common mistakes that people do with functional test automation is having unreasonable expectations. For example, many business owners think that engineers can ensure a complete, 100 percent automation that will quickly fix a lot of problems.

    To avoid making this crucial mistake, you need to define the scope of automation in great detail before the beginning of this project and have a clear vision of potential results and benefits.

    1. Maintenance of Automated Tests

    A lot of functional test automation projects have failed miserably because the testing team didn’t realize just how much effort is required to maintain automated tests properly. So, before you start your automation project, you should make it very clear that the team has to do a great job and thoroughly check and maintain automation scripts for each software release cycle.

    One often overlooked aspect of functional test automation is analytics. One of the key factors of this is understanding exactly where to run functional tests. Analysis can help you to determine what your tests are missing, and whether or not they are covering what they should, e.g., recently changed the code that may not have been tested.

    Finally, there’s the matter of metrics. Nobody should begin the process of testing or sign off on the resulting analysis without establishing the right metrics. In many cases, pass, fail, and other simplistic measurements are not enough.

    Final Thoughts

    Don’t be among those who have failed after trying functional test automation by following the tips in this article. As you can see, there are lots of reasons why the automation can go wrong, but now that you know these critical considerations, you can significantly improve the chance of success for your project.

    Also, don’t forget that the work doesn’t end after you achieved automation! Maintaining and keeping it in order is equally important and is something you must do to succeed in long-term.

    Elisa Abbott is a freelancer whose passion lies in creative writing. She completed a degree in Computer Science and writes about ways to apply machine learning to deal with complex issues. Insights on education, helpful tools and valuable university experiences – she has got you covered;) When she’s not engaged in assessing translation services for PickWriters you’ll usually find her sipping cappuccino with a book.