Automated testing has revolutionized the software development industry, promising increased efficiency, reliability, and cost savings. However, even well-versed professionals encounter significant obstacles in implementing and executing automated testing strategies. This article explores common challenges faced by enterprises in automated testing, including unrealistic goals, lack of skilled personnel, absence of a proper strategy, and unrealistic expectations.
One issue that we frequently encounter is clients setting unrealistic goals for automation, often aiming for 100% automation. They hope to eliminate human involvement entirely and run automated tests at the push of a button every time there's a build. Convincing them that this is not feasible is one of the greatest challenges in automation testing, especially when upper management expects cost savings through increased automation. In actuality, humans are still required to build and operate the automation, and there are certain functions and features that are not appropriate for automation.
Having the right people to perform automation tasks is critical to its success. Recently, we were requested by a client to provide coaching on a particular toolset for automating a client's application. Our first inquiry was regarding the expectations and skills of their employees who would undertake automation tasks. We discovered that they had been sold a tool that emphasized its record and play features, making it appear as simple as 1-2-3. While record and play can be utilized for much of the automation process, developing scalable and reusable test automation necessitates more than just record and play functionality. It also necessitates experience, knowledge, and expertise in abstraction, parameterization, and basic programming concepts that require practical, hands-on practice.
One major challenge in automation testing is the lack of a proper strategy and guidance from businesses. Sometimes, clients prioritize the number of scripts created over developing a suitable framework that is scalable and maintainable in the long term. This approach can result in an inefficient automation process that is difficult to manage and update.
It's crucial to have a well-defined strategy and framework that takes into account the business requirements, automation tools, and test environment. The framework should be designed to handle changes and updates efficiently, and the development team should prioritize its scalability and maintainability.
The challenge of automation testing is having unrealistic expectations, particularly with regards to management's view that automation can replace humans. While automation can be utilized in replacing humans for conducting mundane and repetitive tests that are frequently accessed by users, management must understand that humans are still required to maintain and conduct the automation process. Although artificial intelligence and machine learning are making progress in this direction, it isn't yet at the stage where it can replace humans entirely. Furthermore, it's not always appropriate or feasible to automate new features and functions as they are added since they may be subject to change.
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Automated testing offers numerous benefits, but it is not without its challenges. Unrealistic goals, lack of skilled personnel, absence of a proper strategy, and unrealistic expectations can hinder the successful implementation of automated testing.
Overcoming these obstacles requires a realistic understanding of automation's capabilities, prioritizing the right skill set, developing a well-defined strategy and framework, and managing expectations effectively. By addressing these challenges, enterprises can harness the full potential of automated testing and achieve improved efficiency and quality in their software development processes.