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3 Most Common Automated Testing Pitfalls

3 Most Common Automated Testing Pitfalls

The purpose of automated software testing (AST) is to detect and report errors that result in unwanted behavior of an app. No wonder the global automated testing market is projected to grow from USD 12.6 billion, as it was in 2019, to USD 28.8 billion by 2024. 44% of the surveyed software companies are already converting more than 50% of their test operations to automated tasks 📈 Meanwhile, some automation projects fail. Well, no one says that it is an easy task. You don’t have to tell a tester that underestimation is the worst thing. Thus, among other things, unexpected automated testing pitfalls may arise during the process. 

We’ll discuss the three most common of them in this post 💪

Automated testing is a cure

❌ Misconception: automation will skyrocket your testing activities and help fix all the weak points.

Striving to use automated testing for all tests is not an optimal decision. AST is not a one-size-fits-all approach to testing. It focuses on simplifying the repeatable testing patterns or periodic checks.

When a QA team starts to automate everything, the blurring of information about the actual state of the software may appear: hundreds of tests mix up, and it’s getting harder to separate and analyze test outcomes of peculiar software features 😖

Besides, a tested object may be extensive and has such a multitude of functionalities that cannot all be automated by default. Each functionality has a number of deviations from the standard behavior, driven by input data, which multiplies the number of test cases to be created. Also, the cost of an endeavor to automate everything may exceed the cost of developing the application itself.

Automated tests reduce the cost of manual tests in only one case: a given functionality must already be stable and require only periodic checking whether it still works (“regression tests”). 

The full cycle of product testing does not end with a one-time test. Rather, it is a chain of a series of repeated runs that only work in regular execution. Some non-functional tests just can’t rely on machine thinking and require human involvement. In this way, AST is not a universal solution, it’s a great enhancer to the overall test coverage.

✅ What to try

Test automation is a helpful approach for testers. Don’t treat AST as a universal solution to all tests within the Quality Assurance concept. AST is mostly a bug detecting activity, not the fixing procedure. It should be aimed at a specific area and have a finite mindset and use cases. 

Simply speaking, don’t automate everything possible and test it at one time. You need to treat automated test cases separately, make them isolated to explore the results properly. 

Poor collaboration 

Misconception: automated testing doesn’t require much time and attention.

Sometimes AST is treated as a supplementary or separate activity exclusively, e.g. automating a set of tests to speed up the delivery. But like any resource-intensive operation, automated testing needs skillful organization. The absence of proper collaboration between the department leads to the lack of required management and correct prioritization. Thus, transparency and communication within the team are a must 🔗

Another reason for the collaboration pitfalls may be excessive pressure from the management that requests unreasonable ambitious goals in a short time. Here poor management appears. Eventually, automated tests don’t bring value to the development and testing coverage.

✅ What to try

You should improve team collaboration on a general level: 

  • Make reporting and documenting activities a must
  • Establish cross-team meetings, period syncs
  • Utilize case analysis to identify potentially suitable automation scenarios
  • Prioritize tasks, features to test
  • Set real deadlines and adequate goals (adjust them when needed)
  • Improve every member responsibilities and ownership 

Only an equal collaboration within the QA department will create harmonious conditions for effective management. You can also call it support for a healthy QA environment.

Bad tech choices

❌ Misconception: you can choose any automation tool to set up AST.

A proper tool used is half the battle won. Instead of implementing solutions adequate to their needs, QA teams try to use more popular solutions that don’t meet their actual requirements to the fullest. 

On the contrary, some teams dive into custom solutions, trying to re-invent the wheel, while it’s more logical to ride the existing one. All these bad choices of approaches and tools may affect test automation dramatically 😥

In fact, understanding your own needs is the first and most important part of your automation test strategy. Knowing what you want to achieve, you can look for a unified solution instead of a set of segmentary methods. 

For example, if you need to automate email testing, you can choose a set of tools analyzing particular elements (deliverability, layouts, etc.) or you can try a service providing a full-cycle email testing like Mailtrap or alternatives. Another example could be TestProject if you need to automated the web or mobile apps you’re developing. 

✅ What to try

Before setting up test automation, you should know all the technologies and frameworks used in the development of your product. Respectively, the choice of tools must comply with those technologies not to end up with poorly collaborative frameworks and integrations. You’ll set up automation longer than needed in this case.

Take the time to find the right methods for you, treating the test stage as seriously as other product development stages like business analysis or product commercialization 🙌

Sum up

Automated software testing is not that easy as it seems at the first glance. Automation helps to deal with repetitive tasks, but it doesn’t solve all the testing challenges. 

By mistake, companies see a universal solution in AST, and often it leads to failure. To avoid common pitfalls in AST implementation, use it as an enhancer of manual testing activities, instill a collaboration culture in your team, and spend time choosing a suitable tool 🌟

About the author

Dmytro Zaichenko

Dmytro Zaichenko is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Mailtrap, an email testing sandbox. Mailtrap imitates the work of a real SMTP server and capture test emails for debugging and polishing before sending them to real users. Dmytro is passionate about writing and helping the dev team to share knowledge and expertise globally. He has 6+ years of experience in producing engaging content. 

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