The demand for rapid product development is increasing and driving quality standards higher and higher. Automation testing has transformed from a “good to have” component to a critical component in delivering best-in-class software quickly. The latest technologies have added more capabilities to test automation like codeless automation for example can be considered the future of modern testing.
When it comes to businesses, automation testing increases development speed and adds flexibility to development pipelines. While decision leaders accept test automation as a great idea, they hesitate to adopt it into the business. Reasons range from the uncertainty of costs involved to whether the costs justify the value delivered.
Your development team may be thinking about automated testing for a new project. Would it be productive for the project in the long run? Would your team be more productive with fewer manual regression tests? Can your business derive quantitative benefits from test automation to justify the investment?
We will consider all these questions and more in this blog. You will understand how to get the best ROI and some best practices to optimize automation testing.
Top business advantages of automation testing
A major challenge in software development is fixing defects. Longer delays between development and identifying defects increases time, expenses, and efforts to fix them. Test automation creates a tighter feedback loop to reduce the fixing time from weeks and months to minutes. Your business will not miss out on market opportunities due to testing holding up development. You will reduce defect costs by a large margin with automated testing.
Identify more regressions
It is typical to identify more regressions after adopting automation testing. While more regressions may seem like high costs for your business now, regressions found by users after your product is launched in the market tend to cause severe losses for your business. In the past, developers may see a failed test in the CI environment, identify the issue, and fix it quickly without documenting it. Test automation captures all defects and reduces the fixing time drastically enough to justify the regressions found and documents it for future insights.
Highly testable products
Test automation makes testing time trend downward over significant periods leading to qualitative and quantitative benefits. Automated testing enables better test coverage with minimal manual intervention leading to better testable products. Your business can test such products in more ways, reduce the risk of missing use cases in testing, and go to market rapidly with quality applications.
Shift-left refers to the practice of evaluating quality, testing, and performance early in the development cycle. This practice is crucial to a business as it speeds up development efficiency and addresses any defects early in the development cycle before your apps get into production. Your development teams can deliver applications or software more frequently with high quality.
Less slow regression
Regression is slow and does not help identify significant issues. Automated checking is more beneficial than manual checking as the performance is the same anytime and every time it is done. The procedures don’t change, the costs are lower for repeated testing, and your teams can easily identify and document a regression any time it happens.
Avoiding test automation pitfalls
A significant aspect in determining the ROI of automation testing lies in how your business approaches the implementation process. Automation testing has evolved enough to identify common pitfalls, and your business would benefit by avoiding these mistakes. Let’s consider a few of them.
Ignoring manual testing
While test automation is highly beneficial, it will not fit all scenarios or processes. The value of automated testing lies in running tests multiple times, but all cases do not require automation. If your development teams are working on diverse products, features, or processes, you may require manual testing in some cases along with automated testing. Your teams need to discern scenarios that require automated testing and scenarios that require manual testing to save your business money in the long run.
Your business needs to plan long-term ROI other than the initial costs and short-term calculations. You need to consider some questions that will help evaluate test automation ROI for now and in the future. Would automation testing help solve more issues for your company in the long run other than reducing QA time? Would it open new opportunities for your business to expand and grow? Will automated testing help to improve the quality of your products and development?
Excluding test maintenance
Automated testing is still based on coding and requires maintenance and upgrades if you want to derive value from them for years. Test maintenance takes time, so your business should consider it while planning implementation. Significant code changes might take away most of your development team’s time. Would your team be able to handle it? Or do you have a third-party partner doing test maintenance for your business? Do you want your business to handle long-term test maintenance? Answering these questions in the initial stage would help your business get the best ROI of test automation.
Documentation is essential to calculate automation testing ROI. Document everything your team does. Even if you have a key developer dropping out, your team will not be at risk of losing all progress or having to re-engineer multiple complex cases with accurate and detailed records. Proper documentation eliminates complete dependence on human expertise and ensures only necessary dependence just like test automation.
Parameters for advanced test automation
The basic formula for calculating ROI is universally applicable - (ROI = Cost Savings-Investment/Investment). However, the components, cases, metrics, and best practices may differ from business to business. The top three significant parameters that would apply to any business are:
The most important parameter in automation testing ROI is the cost. A critical decision revolving around automation testing is the investment in infrastructure. Factors like framework, test suite, and cloud hosting have a direct impact on the outcome of automated testing. While it seems expensive initially, it pays off in multiple long-term benefits.
Opting for test automation on the cloud ensures a scalable and secure infrastructure that is available to run tests at any time, regardless of the tester’s location. Benefits, such as reducing critical man hours or savings due to investment in in-house infrastructure result in huge cost savings in the long run. Remember that ROI on automation testing will not be evident right away, but once your business reaches breakeven, you can see the benefits.
Test coverage and accuracy are the significant value propositions for automation testing. A higher test coverage means a high probability of detecting bugs quickly, resulting in a high-quality product. You should align automation testing with integrations, such as CI/CD tools, product management tools, and bug tracking tools to expedite the process of defect discovery, issue tracking, and issue fixing.
Execution speed, test reporting, and QA are major factors in the automation testing ROI calculations. While they do not bring in direct financial benefits, they contribute to huge time savings and quality applications that benefit the overall product delivery timeline. Test automation enhances customer satisfaction with better products in less time.
Test automation can work 24/7 and can run a significantly large number of test cases within a short time. Tests are more accurate than manual tests and are executed at a much faster pace. Integrating test automation with CI/CD tools results in high-quality products and rapid product readiness, making the best out of continuous automation testing.
The time reduced in running rigorous test cycles and creating products with faster time-to-market leads to huge savings on the investment.
You can leverage test automation on a scalable test infrastructure to run:
- Multiple tests on the same test combinations parallelly
- Multiple tests on different test combinations parallelly
- Same tests on different test combinations parallelly
A few parameters that can be integrated or used as stand-alone parameters for your business are:
- Automating new tests
- Automating older tests
- Reusing testing scripts
- Testing all-around environment
Best practices for ensuring proper test coverage
Test automation implementation should include two vital factors: Gradual introduction and long-term strategy. Both factors contribute directly or indirectly to your business costs and returns. Knowing the best practices of the industry will help you implement test automation in the right way. Consider these three best practices while preparing to integrate automation testing into your business.
Do not rush to automate every single test right away
Trying to automate every test from day one is an extreme approach that will not benefit your business. As considered earlier, manual testing is required in some cases while you automate other tests. So, carefully consider your project pipeline and the testing needs of your business to start from the right place. Identify the ROI parameter most vital for your business and start from there.
Remember every test will become a regression in the future
Consider the long-term impact of automation testing as every testing will become a regression testing eventually. The best practice is to integrate new tests with existing tests as a part of your regression testing right away.
Perform test automation early in the development lifecycle
The traditional waterfall method where development and testing are done in different phases is less productive when compared to the advanced shift-left testing process. The shift-left method enables your teams to develop and test simultaneously. This method helps you detect any bugs early in the development cycle and fix them, saving your business much time and money.
Become a dominant market player with automation testing
Implementing an automation pipeline might seem like a daunting task when it comes to monetary, time, and effort investment. But understanding all the factors and calculating the ROI of automation testing will demonstrate how it adds value to your QA operations and business. Digital customers are prioritizing agility, and your business requires automation testing to deliver an agile experience to your customers.
Adopting automating testing will give you a head start on your market competition and empower you to become a dominant market player. While there is no shortcut to reaping the benefits of automated testing in one go as it depends on multiple factors, the best way is to choose the right test automation provider.