As a project grow, so does time QA engineers spend on repetitive tasks. This overconsumption of QA time adversely affects workflow. The team can no longer maintain the same working standards for the entire project.
There are three options for QA:
- lower quality of testing and focus on the core.
- increase QA budget as testing costs skyrocket to keep pace with the growing work demands
- implement automated testing as project expands
Going with option #3, let’s discuss the main benefits of test automation: how it affects project costs and helps cut repetitive, tedious tasks.
What is automated testing in software testing?
Automation testing is a script simulating user interaction with a system. The goal is to identify errors and bugs in software and send reports to QA engineers. The QA engineers fix identified bugs and ensure uninterrupted delivery.
Automated Test Process
- Determine test cases
- Generate data
- Develop test code
- Perform test
- Interpret results
- Prepare reports
Automated testing requires a greater investment of time upfront. But it saves time on regression testing of developed functionalities and features.
The diagram shows time needed for manual testing increases compared to automatic testing. As a project grows, so does QA time needed for manual testing. As the project increases in size and complexity, so does QA time to manually perform functionality tests.
What are the main goals of automation testing?
Increase effectiveness of testing. Regular automated testing frees up QA engineers’ time to focus on investigating new functions. QA spends less time (and client’s money) on retesting and monitoring of developed functionality. As a project grows, the probability of human error increases. Test automation helps avoid this issue.
Reduce the time for regression testing that increases with each iteration Sprint. Automation reduces the amount of time needed for QA workflow “find a bug – log the bug – fix the bug – check in fix”. In “manual” mode, it can take a QA engineer at least 7-8 hours. In automated mode, it takes 2-4 minutes.
Transparent testing process. QA engineers regularly spend a lot of time to complete and report all errors and defects. Test scripts automatically generate reports. These reports contain all information about what passed and did not pass the testing steps.
Reduce testing cost. Once created and written, tests need minimum maintenance. If either functionality or interface changes, engineers must adjust their test scripts. The time required to do this ranges from 10 minutes to several hours. It all depends on the number of changes in the system to help optimize costs on software testing outsourcing.
What projects benefit from automated testing?
Here are just a few examples of projects that need automation:
A complex project with extensive user roles. The number of tests run increases with a project’s complexity. When manual test cases reach 500, and it takes the resource management system and one person at least one week to check them, we begin to automate testing.
Team with more than 2-3 developers. There are more than two developers in a team. Developers must ensure the code they check in does not break someone’s code, already-created logic, or any system functions. If such a failure occurs, automated testing quickly uncovers it. Without automated testing, it might take one or two days—or more—for developers to discover it. Or even worse: users or clients uncover it.
Generating test data takes a lot of time. Doing the job manually includes setting up the data in the system and analyzing the results. Such an unjustified waste of resource time, especially when opting for software testing outsourcing! Spending a week testing already-completed functionality within a milestone takes too long. In auto mode it takes 1-2 days.
What are disadvantages of automated testing?
As above, test automation does not work equally well for all types of projects. Its demand increases with project complexity. Simple, short-term projects with a limited budget should rely on manual testing.
The reasons to choose manual testing instead of test automation are, as follows:
- Test automation initial investment: infrastructure, software licensing (if needed), training of specialists. Also time required for workflow alignment.
- Qualified engineers required to write tests. Not all QAs can perform test automation equally well. They need relevant skills and qualifications. Also, these specialists receive higher hourly rates.
- It pays off on the long distance: it does not pay off in the short run. It works best when project complexity grows but the core remains relatively unchanged.
So, auto-tests are a less favorable option for small projects where the core codebase constantly changes.
What are automation tools?
There are dozens of software testing tools. The most common include:
- NUnit – framework designed to perform unit tests for .NET and related platforms.
- SoapUI – feature-rich app created to test APIs and web services.
- Selenium – helps with effective testing in browser.
- Selenoid –makes hundreds of parallel UI tests possible. and more.
- JMeter – No.1 choice for performance testing of Web apps.
- Specflow – built for automated acceptance tests.
How to perform a simple ROI calculation for test automation?
ROI can be used as a rudimentary gauge of an investment’s profitability.
Once the ROI is >1, we can consider that we have a profit from the investments. Let’s take ~500 test cases. We spent 32 hours to run all test cases manually.
If we set a goal to automate ~80% of those test cases, we get the following benefits:
Writing 400 test cases for autautomation matization at approximately 40 min per test case = 16,000 min. (267 – let’s round up to 270 hours).
100 test cases cannot be automated and take 6 hours to run.
Profit: 32 hours – 6 hours = 26 hours per each run
Cost of Investment: 270 hours
ROI = (26 * X – 270) / 270
Where X – amount of Milestones
ROI will be > 1 if X > 11
Once we have already prepared the framework for a particular project, time required decreases after each sprint. Accordingly, profit is achieved faster because investments for automated tests are reduced to 60%. Speed of automated tests: 30 sec. per test * 400 = 200 min. Plus, they can run in parallel with manual test cases.
Not all projects require test automation. Sometimes we cannot use them; it is better to do manual testing.
However, test automation reduces costs for large projects with development spanning years. It helps speed up many processes and minimizes the human-error factor.
It helps increase the quality of the product. Test automation also improves the product’s structure through versatile, stable, and reliable test scripts.
The main benefit of automation? Time saved. A lot less time is spent on regression testing after each sprint.
Once written, test cases can be run with each iteration of regression testing. Each test case will take less than 1 minute.
Read more about outsourced software tests.