Sometimes it can seem that the most difficult part of running a small business is selecting the proper software to take care of the more tedious details for you. Sure, your grandfather just sharpened his pencil when it came time to take care of the books, but this isn’t your grandfather’s business climate anymore. These days, there are many products available to streamline the process for you, so you can put your mind to more important things…like making money.
The ROI on automation tests varies depending on several factors. Some tests are difficult to develop because of technology constraints. For example, testing frameworks may not support test cases that run across several browser sessions or across different devices. Other tests may not need to be run frequently. For example, it might be more cost-effective to occasionally and manually test a use case for a rarely used feature, rather than invest the time to develop and maintain an automated test that runs after each nightly build. Each organization will make its considerations according to its own priorities, but it's always important to consider the ROI you'll get by automating your tests.
Hazen uses the term “automagic” to get people to think about what their goals are for using automation tools and technology for their specific project needs. He cautions against assuming the use of automation testing tools is a cure-all or silver bullet solution. As Hazen points out, automation testing is still dependent on the people performing the testing.
We've emphasized the importance of getting everyone involved in automation. Here's how it works in my department. An integral part of each development team, the DevTester writes and executes manual test cases for the team's user stories. The tests are written using a methodology (see connect manual tests with automation using a clear methodology) that clarifies how to automate them later on. Once a feature is stable, the DevTester writes the actual automation tests. Then, there's the Developer. In addition to developing the application, the developer works with the DevTester to review both the test's design and the testing code itself. The developer's involvement in the automated tests increases his or her engagement in the automation efforts, which also means the DevTester can help with test maintenance should the need arise. The QA architect is an experienced QA professional who is instrumental in deciding which feature tests should be automated. This is the person with the higher-level view of the overall testing effort who can understand which test cases will yield the best ROI if automated. With a broader view of the application, the architect is also responsible for cross-feature and cross-team QA activities to make sure that end-to-end testing can also be automated.
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