8 Automation Testing Best Practices in 2021

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There is no denying that software testing is the only way to ensure whether a product is worth releasing to the market or not. Software testing helps you check every function of your product while ensuring that it works appropriately across every platform. However, choosing the proper testing approach can be pretty challenging for testers. 

Earlier, manual testing was the only way possible to test an application. With the rise in automation technology, QAs have started using automation testing to test their web applications and software products. It doesn’t mean that manual testing is no longer used in the testing processes; its usage has been reduced in the past few years.

On the other hand, automation testing has entirely transformed the software testing process. It has provided QAs with consistency, convenience, and reliability. Executing automation testing is not a simple process; it requires a specific approach and best practices to execute test cases successfully.

What is Automation Testing?

The process of testing web apps, websites, software, bots, and other systems with automated test cases and testing frameworks is known as automation testing. It ensures that the product meets the development and design requirements while determining that it is bug-free. It enables testers to execute test cases in the minimum time possible, avoid cumbersome, repetitive tasks and help improve software quality.

But, how can you get started with automation testing effectively? 

Automation testing requires a step-by-step approach with practical frameworks and tools to test your web app effectively. In this article, we will talk about some of the best practices you can follow for automation testing in 2021.

Best Practices for Automation Testing

There are multiple practices for automated testing that could be followed accordingly. However, we have gathered the eight best automation testing practices that will be on the top in 2021.

  1. Build a Test Automation Plan

Every software testing process requires a robust strategy and planning for execution; automation testing is not different. To begin with automation testing, you need to put together a team of skilled testers and QAs. The testing team must define the scope of automation while identifying the testing priorities with available resources and potential risks.

For a perfect test automation strategy, you should start planning in the development stage. Automation requires resource allocation and acquisition, which could be a bottleneck at a later stage. Thus, it would help if you plan in the beginning stages to avoid any complications of overrunning your costs and schedules.

Moreover, you shouldn’t automate everything and use manual testing as well. For instance, UX tests, accessibility tests, exploratory tests, OS native features, anti-automation features should be tested manually. The tests you must automate are unit tests, regression tests, API tests, data-driven tests, and cross-browser tests.

  1. Decide the Test Cases to Automate

As mentioned above, automating everything is not the right way to test your application. It’s crucial to determine what test cases you should automate. The significant advantage of automation is the repetitive testing of a test script. Thus, you must automate only those portions of an application that require repetitive testing.

Some of the typical test cases that you should automate in the software testing lifecycle are:

  • Repetitive tests that run for multiple builds
  • Tests requiring numerous data sets
  • Tests that cannot be performed manually
  • Tests that cause human errors
  • Tests that can only be executed on several different hardware or software platforms and configurations

Successful automation testing requires proper planning and design work. And determining the test cases for automation is the first step in it. After that, you can divide the test cases into several logical, smaller tests, which will make it easier to execute the test cases quickly.

  1. Select your Automation Testing Framework

An automation framework is ideal for building automation test cases that are robust and maintainable. There are five automation frameworks that you can choose for your automation testing process, including modular-based, data-driven, linear framework, library architecture, and hybrid framework. Now, you should select the framework that matches your testing requirements.

To select the best testing framework, perform risk analysis on the project while focusing on parameters like potential risks, probability, affectability, mitigation, and associating costs. Another thing you could do is review the test artifacts with development. For that, you need a team of the right people, which includes QAs, stakeholders, and automation testers.

With a structured framework, you can efficiently perform automation testing quickly while eliminating the most common errors in the process.

  1. Choose the Right Automation Testing Tool

A large part of automation testing depends on automation tools. Without a test automation tool, you cannot automate the test cases. But, the biggest challenge here is selecting the best automation tool for your testing process. There are plenty of options available in the market, and choosing one amongst them is a little challenging.

An automation tool should fulfill all your testing requirements while reducing the headache between team members. To select the ideal testing tool for your project, you can follow the below tips:

  • Don’t go for the best automation tools in the industry. Instead, focus on selecting the tool that possesses the key functionalities of your application.
  • If your testing requirements are minimum, stick to open-source tools like Selenium. But, it requires extensive programming expertise, so make sure you have a team of professional testers.
  • A feature-rich tool that is easy to configure and use while creating practical test cases. Besides, it should support the record and playback feature so that you can review the testing scenarios.
  • Select an automation tool that is compatible across all the platforms and devices, especially if need to perform cross browser testing.
  • Use the free and trial versions of tools to analyze whether they offer what they say. This way, you will be able to find an ideal tool for your project.

For instance, LambdaTest is a great testing tool that can fulfill all your automation testing requirements. The best part is that LambdaTest offers automation based on both Selenium and Cypress which means that users will be able run their selenium or cypress scripts easily on LambdaTest. It offers a combination of 2000+ browsers and OS to test on which can significantly increase your test coverage.

  1. Create Effective and Quality Test Data

Generating good test case data is an essential step of performing automation testing, especially for data-driven testing. Effective test scripts even make it easier for the testing tool to understand and execute. However, when it comes to storing the test case data, you can use multiple formats, such as XML, Excel, or database tables. For instance, some testing tools allow you generate test data automatically.

Creating test data might be a little tedious for QAs, but it is necessary to make your automation testing process effective. With good test case data, it becomes easier to write automated tests and execute them. Besides, the earlier you generate the good-quality data, the easier it becomes to extend the existing automated tests.

  1. Distribute the Tasks Accordingly

Automation testing also requires generating different test cases for different scenarios, which depends on the skills of your QAs. For example, not every tester is capable of generating regression tests; you need testers who have particular experience in building regression tests. Thus, it is crucial to identify each of your team members’ level of expertise and skills and divide the automated testing efforts accordingly.

Creating test cases requires significant knowledge of scripting languages. So, if all your testers don’t have scripting knowledge, you should distribute the tasks accordingly. Choose the individuals who are well-versed with scripting. However, if you’re using an automation tool that allows you to generate test scripts, you don’t need to put much effort into it.

While dividing the tasks between the team members, make sure they are continuously collaborating with each other throughout the testing process.

  1. Execute Automation Testing

Once you have gathered all the resources and information, it’s time to execute the test cases. Conducting automation tests depends on your testing methodology. If you’re following the agile method, you can increase the speed of your release with DevOps, CI/CD pipelines. There are a few tips that you can follow to execute your automation testing effectively, such as:

  • Perform parallel testing for extra test coverage and reduce the testing time
  • Use a scheduling tool or CI/CD pipeline to execute test cases in parallel. It will enable you to execute multiple test cases at once.
  • Review every test case before, during, and after the execution using the record and playback feature to identify what went wrong with a failed test.
  • Test the application under reliable networks and servers to avoid any unexpected failures and elements that take time.

These practices will allow you to execute automation testing effectively while eliminating a lot of manual work.

  1. Review, Analyze, and Reuse

Once you execute the automation testing, it’s time to review, analyze, and reuse the test cases that failed during the first process. Reviewing failed test cases is essential to analyze the reason behind their failure and how you can fix them for the next sprint. Generally, it takes a lot of time for testers to identify and fix the defects in test scripts. However, if you use an automation testing tool like LambdaTest, which is capable of detecting bugs and defects in test cases, it becomes pretty easy to fix them.

After identifying the bugs and fixing the test cases, it’s time to reuse the test cases. While doing so, add a timer to the test cases that fail continuously. It will help you identify the defects quickly and reconfigure them accordingly. Once the testing process is finished, compare the outcomes with validated reports and documentation.

Continuous testing is a great approach to find the defects in your applications while ensuring their functionalities across the desired platforms and configurations.

Wrap Up

Automation testing has completely taken over the software testing lifecycle. It has provided multiple benefits to testers while eliminating manual efforts. But, most businesses still struggle to use automation in their organization due to the lack of best practices. Automation testing requires proper planning, an effective strategy, and a practical automation tool to test the application effectively. In this article, we covered eight effective best practices of test automation that you can follow in 2021.

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