If your team members all have Google accounts (and why wouldn't they?), sharing files and collaborating on them simultaneously and in real-time is a snap with Google Docs. A word processor and spreadsheet are your only choices--no free-form whiteboarding here--but the service is free and easy as pie to operate. Upgrading to the Premier Edition brings extra space (a 25GB limit versus 7GB for free) and a conference-room scheduling system. (Standard Edition is free)
BambooHR has two main plans, Essentials and Advantage. The Essentials plan includes everything for HR administration plus an employee self-service portal and online support. The Advantage plan includes hiring tools, advanced analytics, and integrations. BambooHR is built to grow with a company without overloading with features a really small business might not need.
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.
In this article, I'll discuss some of the best practices I discovered through on my own journey toward automation. These are practices you should consider when automating your testing cycles to make sure you build a suite of tests that work well and can be maintained throughout the life of your application. (This article is based on a presentation that can be viewed in full here.)
Chandra Kandukuri is a Technical Test Lead at Microsoft with more than 16 years of software development experience in multiple environments, developing automation frameworks and tools. He advocates the use of TDD and dedicating the time and resources to do it well. Although it is relatively uncommon to see teams utilize TDD in his experience, Kandukuri recommends the method with automated software testing because of the positive teamwork habits it can promote.
I think we can all agree that automation is a critical part of any organization's software delivery pipeline, especially if you call yourself "agile." It's pretty intuitive that if you automate testing, your release cycles are going to get shorter. "So, if that's the case," you might say, "why don't we just automate everything?" There's a good reason: automation comes with a price.
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.
Testing in these short Agile iterations often necessitates a “shift left” approach. This shift left in agile development process means testing starts much earlier in the application lifecycle. As a result, in such an approach, developers with strong technical expertise are increasingly being held accountable for testing, and thus, they often work alongside testers to create test automation frameworks.
Yet we’re increasing delegating key quality assurance (QA) tasks to robots. The market for automated testing products is expected to be worth $20 billion by 2023 – three times as much as now. The ever-increasing complexity of software programmes, which have grown from a rudimentary series of command lines to a potentially infinite number of variables, have forced us to seek help from artificial intelligence. What’s more, the growing influence of agile and DevOps means we’re in a permanent sprint, and we need to speed up the QA process wherever we can.
Jones believes the most common reason for using test automation today is to shorten the regression test cycle. Regression tests are used to determine if changes to the software are the cause of new problems. They verify that a system under test hasn’t changed. To guard against introducing unintended changes, they become part of a regression test suite after the tests pass. Regression tests are automated to ensure regular feedback.
The objective of automated testing is to simplify as much of the testing effort as possible with a minimum set of scripts. If unit testing consumes a large percentage of a quality assurance (QA) team's resources, for example, then this process might be a good candidate for automation. Automated testing tools are capable of executing tests, reporting outcomes and comparing results with earlier test runs. Tests carried out with these tools can be run repeatedly, at any time of day.
With automated testing, that time is cut drastically. The work for automated testers is instead spent coding the tests and making improvements to these tests repeatedly as adjustments are needed. Once the test is complete, however, automated testing allows for the recycled use of tests so that they do not have to go through this whole process again. In essence, the time spent on the mundane tasks and repetition a manual tester would go through is instead spent focusing on larger, more important issues involving the software you’re developing.
Xero is an accounting software that is largely known for having revolutionized accounting. Developed to provide the best user experience possible, the solution is easy to use, making tough accounting tasks like double bookkeeping simple even for first time users. For those who require a bookkeeper, the vendor offers certified advisors who are more than willing to assist them. The platform has gained traction in countries like the UK, US, Australia and Europe. It comes with integrations with known third-party applications and accounting tools and the software’s Express Setup feature makes set up a breeze. You can maximize the product’s potential with the assistance of its help center.