Test automation remains the hottest quality assurance trend. It is the answer to realizing CI/CD and agile QA processes, but many teams have been struggling to achieve that due to many problems when implementing and working with test automation. Even highly professional QA engineers sometimes fail to effectively solve these problems early on. But there can be some issues.

Here are the top 5 problems QA Teams face when it comes to automated testing:

  1. Unrealistic expectations of automated testing
  2. Using the wrong tools
  3. Automate useless tests and neglecting important test cases
  4. Choosing the wrong testing time
  5. Lack of proper testing

Unrealistic Expectations for Automated Testing

It’s no secret that test automation has many benefits. Most importantly, it helps the QA team save time, efforts and resources. Doesn’t this mean that automating as many processes will improve efficiency accordingly? Not quite. Unrealistic expectations people have for test automation can mess up the entire testing process. You risk having too many test cases and QAs not doing their job.

Manual testing matters. You should never ignore manual testing. In some instances, testing an application manually is a way better solution than writing automated test scripts.

Manual testing is suited for:

  • UI and usability testing
  • Quick compatibility testing on e.g. one device or two
  • One-time testing
  • Ad-hoc testing
  • Localization (L10N) and internationalization (I18N) testing.

Non-automated aspects of testing remain. Automated test scripts need people who support them. So, even if you insist on automating as much of your testing efforts as possible, you’ll still have non-automated pieces of work left.

Solution: A clear testing strategy.

Using the Wrong Tools

Test automation won’t work effectively if you don’t use the right tools. With so many different testing solutions on the market, it’s easy to get deluded. Choosing the wrong tool may result in scalability problems on top of never meeting your initial test automation goals.

Solution: Choose your tools wisely.

Automating Useless Tests and Neglecting the Important Test Cases

Sadly, when it comes to automation, QA teams often start by randomly automating test cases. This leaves them with low test coverage and too many useless tests. Moreover, with this approach, you risk not covering the important scenarios and having gaps in software quality.

Solution: Find out what’s worth automating.

Before writing test scripts, researching is mandatory. Discover what’s worth automating and then you can start implementing automation where it’ll have the most impact. Select a proper testing approach, mind test metrics and reports.

Choosing the Wrong Testing Time

Today, many teams still see testing as something that happens after development. Only when the whole build is ready, QAs start doing their job. This outdated approach can’t guarantee the high quality of software. It doesn’t allow QAs to test all the layers properly and there’s usually not much time left for testing.

Solution: Run automated tests in parallel with the development process.

Testing shouldn’t take place only in the final stages. If you want test automation to be effective, start running tests since the early stages of the development and continue to do so through the software development life cycle. Testing is a vital part of the continuous delivery pipeline: without test automation, there’s no successful CI/CD implementation.

Lack of Proper Testing

Among the test automation problems, this is one is the trickiest. The lack of proper testing occurs when QAs rely on automation too much and focus on tests passing rather than discovering bugs. The thing is, automation gives a false sense of security. With automated tests running repeatedly, it’s tempting to reduce human intervention and responsibility for the results. Such an approach has devastating outcomes like poor test design, inconsistent and ineffective testing.

Solution: QA team training.

Before implementing automation, train your team properly. Make sure they know their roles in the process and have enough technical skills to support the tests. Also, enforce test automation with exploratory testing to achieve more precise results.

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Editor @ DevStyleR