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What to Expect in a Test Automation Vendor?

It’s disappointing to see that the proportion of teams achieving the benefits expected from automation happens only about half the time.

– World Quality Report

This is the reality in most cases. Even within an Agile-driven SDLC, test automation is frequently regarded as a separate and distinct process. The seamless integration of the test automation team and developers largely depends on selecting the right test automation partner. For organizations, this decision carries significant weight, as a wrong choice could lead to costly consequences. Hence, it’s essential to have a comprehensive checklist before choosing a test automation vendor.

Stepping a foot ahead. A usual automation vendor would generally understand their prospect’s requirements and try to meet those prescribed requirements. But there is much more an automation vendor can offer to their clients. For that, they need to take proactive steps which are beyond the requirements and see what can be done for the best results.

This article attempts to give key factors that can be considered and taken care of before choosing your test automation vendor. A good automation vendor knows the critical pain points of your business since they have already got into your shoes.

Here we go!

There are many ways in which a vendor helps their clients effectively by getting into the shoes of the client. For better understanding, the following question might make it more understandable.

Guidelines for Choosing a Test Automation Service Provider

1. What is the proactive step a test automation vendor should take?

The usual pattern of every test automation vendor out there is knowing the clients’ requirements and getting it done. This is a very task-oriented way of approaching a project. But still doesn’t answer “proactive steps”. Here we go.

For example, instead of focusing on the child screen, the test automation team should focus on the parent screen of an application instead of child screen, where they have a holistic view of the configurations, gaining a broader understanding of the software functionalities and an insight into the interaction between components. The testing team can suggest effective inputs with this higher level of information and observation.

Similarly, a good testing team shouldn’t just limit their job to mere bug hunting and resolving them, in fact, conduct root cause analysis to identify underlying reasons behind defects and propose thoughtful solutions.

In addition to performing automated testing, a skilled tester should understand the significance of automation testing in terms of its impact on the product, especially concerning the customer release schedule.

2. Should a test automation service provider always aim for 100% automation?

Each organization should consider automation testing based on its specific requirements, as manual testing remains a viable option for some. It is crucial to recognize that automation does not replace manual testing, as both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages.

For instance, manual testing excels in adaptability to changes, coping with complexity, and delivering optimal results in accessibility, configuration, and usability testing, compared to automated testing.

When deciding what to automate, a skilled test automation vendor plays a vital role in evaluating the application or software’s stable functionalities. They can identify areas where automation is the best approach, such as regression testing, security testing, and functional testing. They are responsible for assessing the software for stable functionalities, refining test cases for automation, and adapting existing manual test cases accordingly.

Watch the video to get your answers!

3. What role does a test automation vendor play after the execution of the testing?

The test automation team should ensure that the conducted tests are effective for analyzing the product. How do you do that?

Your answer is test report. Your test report should contain both passed tests and failed ones. In fact, a good test automation vendor should give more insights on failed ones because it is important to understand the causes of the failure. This provides clear clarity on the defects for the stakeholders, hence gaining trust in the client.

Moreover, a competent test automation vendor collaborates with the development team to achieve N/In-sprint automation, ensuring that critical test cases are automated in a timely manner. This integration between the test automation vendor and the development team streamlines the testing process and facilitates continuous feedback, contributing to efficient and timely product releases.

Snapshot of ‘Test Failure Category Analysis’ 

4. Would a test automation service provider disturb the structure of the processes the organization follows?

A good test automation vendor should not disrupt the existing structure of the processes followed by the organization. Instead, they should understand and adapt to the client’s existing workflows, tools, and methodologies.

One such example is some clients follow procedures to perform smoke tests where they have separate test cases or real scenarios so that it is easy for them to run the test cases as per their needs. Therefore, it is always good to have test cases grouping also, aids seamless integration between the client and the test automation team.

An understanding partner who aligns with your business standards and goals would be a good choice and helps in maintaining professional camaraderie.

In addition, encouraging test automation teams and development team to work together could enhance the overall performance. Apparently, it should start from the requirement phase itself. When they work together, it’s easy to “analyze and foresee the impact of changes to requirements on the testing, take testability into consideration while designing.”

5. What are the prime factors a test automation vendor should take into while approaching tech stack?

Selecting the language and tools should not pose a challenge for a skilled and experienced test automation vendor, given their deep understanding of the pros and cons of each. It is essential to remember that using multiple tools or shifting to different technologies might enhance maturity and leverage available skill sets. To achieve optimal results, test automation tools should seamlessly synchronize with the development environment to foster effective collaboration.

Hear from our QA expert!

When it comes to a mobile or web application, the testing team should carefully consider the programming language, especially since specific languages may not be suitable for either Android or iOS. The baseline is that the test automation team should have a clear definition on what is inside the scope of automation.

6. Should ROI be your priority when comes to Test Automation approach?

If you think yes, in the World Quality Report, ROI lies at the bottom when comes to key determining factors in test automation approach, as shown in the illustration below. Therefore, it depicts that the organizations give more value and priority to meet business needs instead of ROI.

Let’s check out where exactly does test automation incurs cost,

  • The cost of developing the automation, which involves creating the automated test scripts and framework.
  • The cost of operating the automated tests, including executing the test suites and analyzing the results.
  • The cost of maintaining the automation as the product undergoes changes, ensuring that the test scripts remain up-to-date and relevant.
  • The cost of additional tasks that may arise due to automation, such as integrating with new tools or addressing automation-related issues.

You need to have a healthy balance between cost spent on test automation testing and manual testing. Therefore, it’s paramount to have a well-planned approach that leverages the strengths of both automation and manual testing that can result in a comprehensive and efficient testing process.

Plus, it is essential to ensure that the investment made in test automation yields quality benefits. How to ensure investment worthiness?

That depends on factors like technology being tested, test tools and quality of the test suites. But whose shoulder has to bear – Test Automation team. With their diverse experience working with different clients, your test automation team should be able to give insights into critical points in the business that have automation potential.

Test Automation ROI Calculator

7. How can we deal with last-minute changes while working with an outside testing team?

To answer this question, we need to look for the reason behind last-minute changes, which might be lack of communication.

Many of the organizations experience bottleneck issues mainly because of lack of effective communication. For example, if any changes must be made to the test data it should be notified to the testing team so that they can update. Therefore, it is pivotal to maintain revision history.

This solves one of the main concerns of clients, that is script maintenance. If there is adequate communication between the testing team and the client, there should not be any problems regarding script maintenance.

As you know communication is a two-way process, a good test automation team should notify or rather should produce execution analysis report automatically to the pipeline given by the client. Therefore, at the end of the day, both parties would be updated on what is happening.

8. What is the role of the test automation vendor in test maintenance?

As you already saw in the above illustration, the top-ranking priority in the test automation approach is Maintainability. The focus has shifted from the cost of test tools to the value they bring to the business, prioritizing quality over immediate returns.

Since software undergoes constant changes, it is essential to maintain easily manageable test scripts that can conduct tests without complexities. Stakeholders often perceive maintenance as an asset that demands continuous attention and development.

Ways to improve maintainability of test automation scripts:

  • Have separate test cases
  • Follow well-defined naming conventions
  • Use comments to explain the purpose of each test script
  • Create test automation documentation
  • Use a version control system to track changes in the test scripts systematically.

Plus, testers should have to make sure that the new requirements fall in line with the existing automation for seamless integration of new features.

Checklist for Choosing a Test Automation Vendor:

  • Proficient knowledge of what to automate in testing, also balance between manual testing and automation testing.
  • Proactive approach than task-oriented approach, backed with practical suggestions.
  • Expert in selecting appropriate tools and languages for tests after thorough evaluation.
  • Provide speedy reports on the executed tests, focusing more on failure tests and their possible reasons. Also, reports as essential source material for analyzing the cost-effectiveness of automation.
  • Prioritize and manage test maintenance with effective strategies to minimize bottlenecks.
  • Should ensure seamless integration with the existing processes without disturbing the software environment or the established workflow. Also, should possess good communicative skills to collaborate with different teams to work without silos.

Wrapping up

Test automation is indeed a game-changer in software development, selecting the right test automation vendor requires careful consideration of several key factors in order to benefit in right way with expected results. By considering the above elaborately written answers, you can ensure a successful partnership and maximize the value of your test automation efforts.

Exploring test automation solutions or vendors?

Meet Sujatha Sugumaran, who’s been a pivotal role in driving multiple test automation ventures at Zuci. Her slots are open for a pro-bono consultation on all things test automation and software quality.

Get in touch with her here.

Minna Mary Saji

Curious hands with a passion for creativity and a hunger for knowledge.

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