5 Benefits of Test Automation

Software testing 101

5 Benefits of Test Automation

Read any article or research paper on Continuous Testing or DevOps testing, and you are guaranteed to hear that test automation is essential (but challenging). In this article, we outline 5 top benefits of software test automation.  

Better Stakeholder Awareness

Getting your testing activities better integrated with your automated DevOps process can help close gaps in stakeholder awareness of a system’s state. Testing exists to provide stakeholders information; better automation will give stakeholders more accurate information around risk to high-value features. The result is stakeholders see current status from the last automated run rather than outdated information supplied by testers who are several release cycles behind.

Carefully adding the right amount of testing and reporting into your automated release processes will ensure your stakeholders are able to make more informed decisions at their business level.

Reduce the Number of Escaped Defects

Testing is a critical part in helping reduce the number of bugs “escaping” out to your end users or customers. A high or climbing number of escaped bugs indicates an overall quality issue that the entire team needs to address. Bringing test automation into your delivery processes ensures you’ve got a repeatable set of checks which run constantly before any package ships. Automatically running checks around your regressions, performance, and acceptance as part of your development and rollout process can help dial back the number of escaped bugs—and improve your relationship with your customers.

Reduce Support Costs

Escaped bugs, missed acceptance criteria, and poor performance all manifest in higher support costs: more and more of your support teams’ time is taken up handling customers/end-users issues. Sometimes a transition to a more DevOps/CD style process can leave testing out of the loop, badly impacting your organization’s support costs.

Ensuring your testing automation is tightly woven into your delivery/release cycles will help dial those costs back down. (And make your support team happier!)

Eliminate Rework

Rework is the tail-end cost of fixing escaped bugs and other quality related issues. Rework is a double-cost. You lose the time to fix, test, and deploy those bugs/issues, but you also have an opportunity cost in the time lost for doing new work. Rework is a heartbreaking factor for good teams: it weighs on the morale and attitude because those teams know they goofed, and they’d rather be doing new work anyway!

Automated testing will help cut rework costs by ensuring you’re keeping a fence around regressions, as well as ensuring your acceptance criteria are checked constantly. Moreover, your other testing activities (exploratory, etc.) are kept more in sync with development and rollout activities. Ensuring your testing keeps pace with rollouts is key to a well-oiled DevOps/CD process.

Accelerate Feedback Cycles

Short feedback cycles are key to any solid delivery process, regardless whether you’re phrasing it “Agile” or something else. Short feedback cycles enable teams and stakeholders to quickly adjust their backlog and strategy based on information about a system’s quality, feature set, or value proposition to customers/end users.

DevOps and Continuous Delivery processes give teams and organizations ways to speed up rollout and rollback; however, they risk leaving out feedback mechanisms relating to testing activities. Keeping your tests tightly integrated into your automated process ensures information about quality state stays in that same rapid feedback loop

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