Test Automation Pitfalls (2)

Continuing from the earlier post on the subject, lets look at another factor that leads to less than effective test automation.

2. Automation Framework and Process.

For many groups, test automation begins with the acquisition of a tool and from thereon it proceeds towards a race to automate as many tests as quickly as possible. Everyone's excited about the tool and its features, so much so that each one lets loose their creative energies on automating their set of tests quickly. During this time, some attributes of test automation such as – reusability, maintainability, scalability, separating data from the automated tests and such others are often ignored. These attributes unfortunately, are required for a robust and maintainable test automation suite.

An oft repeated aspect of test automation is that you must approach test automation just as you would a product that your organization produces. This implies that the same principles and practices need to apply to test automation; the same level of detailed planning, designing, architecting, process definitions, reviews, etc. need to apply. Test automation is software that you are developing and a reason that automation can fail is because most organizations do not treat the test software they develop with the same level of care and commitment as they do to the products they sell.

Dis-organized test automation or automation done with little attention to the required attributes, results in a suite that can be a maintenance nightmare. Groups soon realize that they need more resources to both maintain the automated suites as well as to automate newer tests, resulting in ever increasing costs and little added benefit.

It will be useful to remember that all automation needs to be maintained or abandoned. Make sure your automation is maintainable easily at low cost.

We'll continue examining additional factors in the next post.

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