There’s nothing like having to handle several projects at the same time to test your organizational skills as a small business owner. While challenges are always good, your managing many tasks at once will only leave you drained and feeling swamped. Instead, rely on the following project management tools to ensure you can keep your project on target, and please your clients at the same time.
Every software project takes time before its requirements and design stabilize. A classic comparison is between the UI that can change at any time in an application's lifecycle and back-end services that may live untouched for generations. Agile projects behave differently from waterfall in this respect. If you're developing a SaaS product, you must use automation to support frequent deliveries, but you'll have to carefully consider the effort you invest in developing tests because your requirements may also change frequently. This a fine balance you'll have to learn to work with. For an on-premise solution, it may be easier to identify the stage in which automation tests can be safely developed and maintained. For all these cases, you have to carefully consider when it's cost-effective to develop automated tests. If you start from day one, you'll expend a lot of resources shooting at a moving target.
You already know the value of software testing. But fast-paced software development environments can create time and cost constraints that make it difficult to thoroughly test an application prior to release. If defects slip undetected into the production environment, the result can be customer dissatisfaction and increased maintenance costs. Test automation allows your team to execute more tests in less time, increasing coverage and freeing human testers to do more high-level, exploratory testing. Automation is especially beneficial for test cases that are executed repeatedly, such as those for cross-browser and cross-device compatibility, and those that are part of a full or partial regression suite.
The subscription model. Desktop software was and is expensive, a few hundred dollars for a product you're probably not sure upfront that you'll end up using, and that you'll be asked to upgrade in 12 months. The online model is very much pay as you go, and pay for just the seats you need. Generally, you can sign up for a free trial and pay anywhere from roughly $5 to $70 per month for an accounting website, and you're not usually locked into a contract. Furthermore, all the upgrades are built in, and your data is all backed up in the cloud. Of course, if the service (or your internet connection) goes down, you're out of luck, however.
Jim Hazen is an Automation Consultant and “veteran of the software testing trenches” who helps companies with test automation and performance test implementations. He has presented at multiple professional conferences, including STARWest and STPCon, and published articles in ST&QA Magazine on test automation and communication techniques for testers. You can learn more about Jim on LinkedIn.
Email is a fantastic invention, but it is missing a few key features out of the box. For example: the ability to send emails later, if you don’t get a response. And notifications on which emails are awaiting your reply. Boomerang helps emails flow in and out of your inbox more easily, preventing the dreaded buildup of drafts, unreads and messages you’re “just saving for later” instead of archiving them.
Manual testing can be mundane, error-prone and even exasperating. Frequent repetition of the same test cases with only slight changes in data values is laborious and time-consuming. Test automation alleviates testers’ frustration with low-level, repetitive testing while increasing the repeatability and accuracy of these tests. Automation enables testers to focus on more challenging and rewarding work such as risk analysis and exploratory testing.
Testim.io leverages machine learning for the authoring, execution, and maintenance of automated test cases. We use dynamic locators and learn with every execution. The outcome is super fast authoring and stable tests that learn, thus eliminating the need to continually maintain tests with every code change. Netapp, Verizon Wireless, Wix.com and others run over 300,000 tests using Testim.io every month.
In software testing, test automation is the use of special software (separate from the software being tested) to control the execution of tests and the comparison of actual outcomes to predicted outcomes. Test automation can automate some repetitive but necessary tasks in a formalized testing process already in place, or add additional testing that would be difficult to perform manually.
Automated testing expanded with Agile principles because testing in a repeatable manner that is secure, reliable, and keeps pace with the rapid deployment of software is required for this environment. In their book Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, authors Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory claim Agile development depends on test automation to succeed. They emphasize the team effort required for test automation and recommend automating tests early in the development process. Also, the development of automation code is as important as the development of the actual production code for software. The “test-first" approach to development is known as Test-Driven Development.
If your business still doesn't have a blog--one of the best ways around to provide up-to-date company and product news--you're only about three years behind the curve. Hey, it's not too late to catch up: WordPress installs in minutes (it even offers a free, hosted option on WordPress.com), and the platform is dazzlingly easy to use (the site's home page carries an ad for WordPress for Dummies, but we doubt you'll need to crack that volume). WordPress so simple, your team will be begging to contribute to the blog instead of whining that it's too laborious. (free)
Interactive home pages. Some small businesspeople love working with numbers, but many just want to sign on to their accounting application, do what's needed, and move on. Interactive home pages, or dashboards on these websites play two primary roles. First, they flag tasks that need attention and provide a bird's-eye view of your finances, with graphs, charts, and tables that quickly summarize real-time income, expenses, and cash flow. Second, most of these sites' dashboards contain links to working screens, so you can pay a bill or send an invoice or transfer funds between accounts—whatever needs to be done that day.
Drawbacks? Well, unlike some of the other automated android testing tools on our list, there’s no open source capability. To run tests, you need to connect your mobile devices via Wifi or USB, which can be tricky in certain locations, and you must install the Ranorex control app on each mobile device before you run a test on it. One final thing to note is that, unlike many rival testing tools, Ranorex does not have a device viewer when recording, so you’ll need access to the mobile device.
Test automation on the other hand is the automated execution of predefined tests. A test in that context is a sequence of predefined actions interspersed with evaluations, that James Bach calls checks. These checks are manually defined algorithmic decision rules that are evaluated on specific and predefined observation points of a software product. And herein lies the problem. If, for instance, you define an automated test of a website, you might define a check that ascertains a specific text (e.g. the headline) is shown on that website. When executing that test, this is exactly what is checked—and only this. So if your website looks like shown in the picture, your test still passes, making you think everything is ok.