Agile testing

Test Automation Essentials: What’s Needed to Get Started

This isn’t yet another blog on the merits of test automation. It’s required—period. There’s just no way that software testing can keep up with Agile and DevOps unless you have a respectable level of test automation.

Today’s test automation rates certainly aren’t where they need to be, but hope seems to be on the horizon. According to a new 2018 testing trends survey by QASymphony, less than a quarter of organizations are currently automating at least 50% of their tests,  but almost twice as many expect to break that 50% test automation threshold within the next year. For Global 2000 companies, even greater test automation growth is anticipated. These large enterprises are automating less than 20% of their testing today, but the majority of them expect to be achieving over 50% test automation in the next year.

So, how do you get there?  Obviously, you’ll need to acquire and master test automation tools that can test all the technologies that your application uses—APIs, SAP, ServiceNow, Salesforce, other packaged apps, and mainframes as well as web and mobile UIs. But that’s just one piece of an extremely complex puzzle. Any test automation tool acquired without a parallel people and process transformation is, unfortunately, going to take the fast path from software to shelfware.

In a new research report titled The Eight Essentials When Moving to Automated Software Testing, Gartner outlines the top challenges that organizations face when getting started with test automation (based on their interviews with 1200+ clients), then offers recommendations on how to overcome these common test automation roadblocks.

“When done well, the merits of test automation are irrefutable, but when done badly, application development teams can end up wasting time, effort and money. This research outlines eight things to consider for test automation initiatives. The following recommendations will increase your likelihood of succeeding in adopting test automation as an integral part of your development and testing approach.”

Gartner’s recommendations for steering clear of the top pitfalls include:

  • Selecting the appropriate set of measurable goals
  • Allocating additional resources to exploratory testing
  • Understanding strategies for transitioning manual tests to the new paradigm of automation
  • Identifying situations where test automation is not likely to pay off
  • Making manual testing more strategic
  • Placing functional GUI testing within a holistic testing process that includes static analysis, unit testing, API testing, and load testing
  • Selecting the right tool for your team’s skills, practices, and application targets

For a detailed discussion of these and other recommendations, download the complete Gartner report on Test Automation Essentials.