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Measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation

Measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation

Measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation

Test Automation is a big step for any organization as it involves a lot of expenses. To get a value return, read these words!

The shift from manual to automated testing is hectic and expensive. The process starts by adding skilled testers to your team and forming a dedicated team for Test Automation. The team must formulate an automation framework for the tests to run effectively. Then the reviewing and validating of the tests begin.

But how do you say that your team can automate tests effectively?

What metrics must be used to measure the effectiveness of Test Automation?

What factors can affect the effectiveness of Test Automation?

Knowing answers to these three essential questions would be a game changer for your business. Read ahead to know more…

How can you determine if your team can automate tests effectively?

The need for effective Test Automation arises from creating a stable and reliable test suite. That keeps your software of high quality, focuses on testing the right things, identifies errors and flakiness at the right time, and, most importantly, reduces the time between the application development and its deployment.

While factors like complex infrastructure, flaky tests, errors in codes, etc., add to the difficulties in creating a reliable test suite. Running tests repeatedly to identify errors based on the results and estimating & reviewing the overall time taken to conduct the particular number of tests can be considered potential solutions in the process of effective Test Automation.

The pre-requisites for automating tests effectively is a skilled and dedicated team of testers and developers with the ability and knowledge to create a flawless test framework that can conduct test automation effectively. But creating a reliable test suite requires a good understanding of the factors and key metrics that affect the effectiveness of the test suites.

Read: Why Python is a great companion to Selenium test automation

KPIs for measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation

When measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation, there is no one-for-all solution available. Because the key performance indicators (KPIs) or the metrics used are very subjective and context-based, the concerned team of testers has to understand which metric is to be considered under which circumstance. Below are the most commonly used and accepted KPIs for measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation:

  • Number of completed tests:

    This is one of the most widely considered and used KPIs to measure the effectiveness of Test Automation. The number of tests conducted and completed and their respective results - successful, unsuccessful, can’t be determined, error found, etc.- help estimate the test's effectiveness. Tracking the number of tests and their results also helps identify where improvement is needed and what changes need to be made.

  • Errors/ Flakiness found during tests:

    Test Automation is time-saving, but if the conducted tests are not reviewed and validated correctly at the right time, the time, energy, and money spent on it are wasted. Many tests turn out flaky or unstable, causing the results to be undetermined. In such cases, one should keep running tests repeatedly to identify and separate the unstable tests from the stable ones; doing so will help decrease the errors and increase the effectiveness of Test Automation.

  • The number of risks decreased:

    To measure the effectiveness of Test Automation, one needs to conduct tests based on risk priorities. Any threat/defect/error to the system or the project should be identified and mitigated at the right time to avoid test failure. Prioritising the risks helps in understanding the level and impact of it on the project.

  • Time-saved:

    Test Automation starts with automating simple and mundane manual tests daily. It saves much time compared to manual testing and could be understood as an indicator of effective Test Automation. It is also beneficial for the organisation and the respective team in charge as they have enough time to study the application to understand the errors and areas of improvement. The testers can invest their saved time in improving the automation process by exploring and adding complex functionalities to the current automated tests to carry out more critical and value-giving tests.

  • Easiness in using the automated tests:

    Test Automation is ideally supposed to decrease manual labour and increase the efficiency of the software. The test codes and results must be easy to use, read, understand and review by anyone and everyone on the team. All these factors together help in estimating how effective the Test Automation was.

  • The ability to identify defects and errors:

    Test automation primarily aims to reduce manual efforts, save time, and have a better and improved testing version. Thus, the test codes should be able to conduct proper and stable tests and derive precise results to determine necessary action.

If you’re a tester or part of the product quality team, you would have come across this question – “How did QA miss this” at least once during the release. While it can be challenging for a QA to identify the bug and do some quick fixes, it’s essential to know the reason behind this pervasive and intimidating question.

We’ve talked to our QA team and identified the five most common reasons. Let’s check it out one by one below. 👇

  • Reduced complaints:

    Effective automated tests results in reduced complaints. These complaints could be because of unawareness about specific features of the product, or, like in most cases; it could be because of errors and bugs found in the product. An effective automated test suite will have a strong foundational core with error-free codes and functional features and lesser bugs.

  • Increase in performance and confidence levels:

    If your test automation is effective, it means that your hardwork has paid off, customers are happy and satisfied with your product and that the investment in resources and other essentials was worth it. The morale and confidence level of employees (developers and testers) must be high and positive as it affects their ability to perform. Constant negative feedbacks, complaints, rejections, and running around without getting desired results could directly impact their performance.

Go to Zuci's clients' test automation success stories 

  • Faster and quicker deployments:

    Faster and quicker deployments helps in building trust in the service delivery, but if the quality is poor and product is unfinished, then there might be a conflict of interest. If the test automation is effective, meaning the codes are running properly, there are no bugs or errors, and it is functional in nature, then it can be considered that the product to be delivered. The key to faster and quicker deployments is to be focused, aware and alert during the developmental part of the product. One must make sure that the test suite is right and is taking the right actions, before making a call for delivery.

Apart from these KPIs, return on investment (ROI) can also be considered an essential metric to measure the effectiveness of Test Automation. But when considering ROI as a metric, one must ensure that they consider the quality assurance (QA) department as a value provider rather than an expense sector. The reason for doing so is because an investment is supposed to give additional service value at the cost of incurred expenses.

But, if the QA just conducted the tests and didn’t necessarily give any feedback or provide precise results based on the conducted tests, then the money spent is wasted.

5 key factors that can affect the effectiveness of Test Automation

1. Number of Test runs

Test automation requires less time to conduct a certain number of tests than manual testing and is more effective. Thus, if your test automation fits the criteria mentioned above, it can be said that your test automation is effective.

2. Experience of the Tester

Experience of the person conducting the task always impacts the results and overall process in any field. The tester's experience helps prepare a successful test suite that can identify errors quickly and focus on the right things when testing. It can also help reduce the expenses of making the test suite.

Take a look at our take on "What should a QA ask for instead of these traditional responses?" 👇

3. Data-driven test suite

Developing, maintaining, analysing and evaluating different test suites for different data can cost you a lot of time, energy and expenses. Thus, developing a stable test suite that can be used to input various data and get the desired results will help increase test automation's effectiveness. Testing the same test suite in various environments with different data will also help determine which test suite performs best under which circumstances.

Watch: Keys to building an effective test automation suite

4. Cost of the tools and test suite preparation

Most of the testing cases that are assigned to the testers are the ones that can’t be conducted manually. Test Automation tools are expensive, but they can be considered an investment because they provide value for that expense. Identifying which tool is the best for your test suite preparation, estimating the results and returns and evaluating the overall process will help you create effective test automation.

Read: 27 impressive testing tools that every tester should know

5. Evaluation and Analysis

Test Automation is often considered a solution to all the problems once the test suite is prepared and starts running tests efficiently. But, developers and testers also need to ensure that they conduct timely evaluation and analysis of the process to prevent any flakiness or occurrence of errors during the test automation, as it can affect the effectiveness of test automation.

You may be interested in "4 Essential Software Test Metrics for Your Project" 👇

Final thoughts

 Though the effectiveness of Test Automation can be determined by studying and considering the KPIs or metrics, you must understand that it is entirely subjective and context-based, as there is a no-for-all solution to measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation.

Your priorities and business goals should define your metrics for measuring the effectiveness of Test Automation. You must also keep in mind the 5 key factors that can ensure the effectiveness of your test automation. Overall, it can be concluded that timely analysis and evaluation for constant improvement and efficient and regular testing is the only way to ensure the automated tests are effective.

Keerthika

Keerthi Veerappan

An INFJ personality wielding brevity in speech and writing. Marketer @ Zucisystems.