Test automation is becoming a key driver in modern agile software development practices 🔑 More and more organizations prefer automation testing over manual testing, to speed up their software delivery process. Test automation brings many benefits like ensuring consistent quality, reducing project costs, and refraining testers to perform mundane tasks.
However, these benefits are vastly dependent on the approach teams adopt while implementing automation testing. An in-sprint automation testing approach would help teams to maximize these benefits.
Problems with the Traditional Automation Approach
The majority of the teams still automate the testing only after the sprint is completed, by manually testing the functionality. In many cases, there is a separate automation team that automates the manual ‘test cases’ and transforms them into an automated regression suite.
This approach has many demerits, like limiting the potential return of the test automation and diluting the functionality automated. Moreover, there is a lack of collaboration within the team and it creates an unwanted automation backlog.
This is where in-sprint automation provides an opportunity to maximize automation return potential by automating the functionality developed within the same sprint.
What Is In-sprint Automation?
In-sprint automation is an approach to automate the testing of business ‘requirements’ within the same sprint in which they are been developed. Thus leaving no automation backlog. This ensures the functionality delivered in the sprint is tested through automation testing, and with every sprint the regression suite is updated with the new automation scripts.
In-sprint automation relies on collaboration between all the roles within the team – BA, Scrum Master, Development, and QA. It puts software quality as a team’s goal, rather than just a QA’s goal.
It is a collaborative effort where the BAs have to define stories that are granular enough to be developed and tested in the same sprint, the developers have to develop and unit test the code through automated unit tests, and the QAs have to write parallel automation test cases 🎯
1️⃣ Zero Automation Backlog
With the traditional automation approach, testing teams always remain behind the product version. But in-sprint automation is based on the principle of zero automation backlog, and the product can be tested through automation at all times.
2️⃣ Maximize the Automation Return
As we automate as early as software is developed, in-sprint automation provides maximum ROI.
3️⃣ Helps in Shifting the Testing Left
Software teams are aspiring to shift left, i.e. use automation early in the software development lifecycle. In-sprint automation complements the shift-left approach.
4️⃣ Collaboration Within the Team
In-sprint automation brings more synergy between the BAs, developers, and QAs, as all of them have to collaborate to achieve the desired results.
5️⃣ Helps in Implementing Product Model Efficiently
The goal of the product model is to have a single product team responsible to deliver software products. In-sprint automation complements the product models as it enforces collaboration to deliver quality software.
How to Achieve In-sprint Automation
While there are many benefits of in-sprint automation, the implementation could be challenging. To implement it, the software teams have to put in a highly collaborative effort. Following are some of the guidelines that software product teams can follow to achieve in-sprint automation:
1️⃣ The Product Quality is the Entire Team’s Responsibility
In-sprint automation is the responsibility of the whole software product team and not just the QA team. It is not possible to implement in-sprint automation by separating out testing as a stand-alone activity.
2️⃣ User Stories Should Be Granular
The only possible way to achieve in-sprint automation is to have granular user stories that can be developed, automated, tested, and delivered within the same sprint. With complex and lengthy user stories, it is impossible to achieve in-sprint automation.
3️⃣ Automate the Requirements, Not Test Cases
A lot of teams focus on automating test cases after the sprint is over. However, to achieve in-sprint automation, teams should focus on automation testing of the requirements within the sprint, not the test cases after it’s over.
4️⃣ Follow the Test Pyramid
To test faster, we shall test the most at the unit and integration level, and the least at the UI level. Following the test pyramid will ensure teams speed up the testing and automate user stories within the sprint. To achieve in-sprint automation, automate at the layer that is fastest to automate and provide better coverage.
5️⃣ Test-Driven Development (TDD)
The TDD approach can be one more way to aid in-sprint automation. In test-driven automation, developers develop the code based on the test cases with the intention to pass the test cases. In test-driven development, developers can write automated test cases to test the code within the sprint.
6️⃣ Behavior Driven Development (BDD)
BDD helps to create a single document that can hold all the roles in agile teams (BA, Development, and QAs). Using the same BDD document and creating a test automation framework based on BDD would help teams to achieve in-sprint automation.
Software teams have leveraged test automation for its multiple benefits. However, in-sprint automation helps software teams to maximize these benefits over the traditional automation approach.
Having said that, achieving it can be a challenging task where the whole team has to put in a collaborative effort. But once implemented, it helps teams to reach a happy stage of zero automation backlog, minimum manual testing, and consistent software quality ✨