Smart and Innovative ways to Reduce Maintenance on Automated Tests
Jul 21, 2022
Maintenance in QA Testing (What is it indeed?)
Test maintenance is a process which consists in the healing of tests in order for them to stay updated on code changes. This includes updating our testware as well, should any tool or third party library change.
The scaling size of a project is normally a reason to apply automation practices –we want to save time and money, but let’s not be fooled; the creation of automated test cases is just a fraction of the efforts a professional, well devised automated testing strategy requires.
What this means is, test maintenance is central to the concerns of automation testing. As much as automation means a benefit for our project, we must not forget that test maintenance is a task that will normally take up valuable hours of our time, given the constant changes that our code, the framework and other components of our infrastructure undergo throughout the life of the project.
Recently, studies have shown that testers spend approximately 30% of their time on test maintenance. That is a lot of time –and effort– spent on other concerns than actually writing and executing test cases, and we don’t want to waste resources and talent on things which are not the essence of our job.
Test maintenance is not an easy thing to keep up with when the product put to test scales in size, as a lot of testers and QA teams might acknowledge. Losing that rhythm could mean a progressive accumulation of false positives (that is, flaws in the test method/instrument, not in the test subject itself.), with the added risk of losing confidence in the validity of the instrument, to the point of abandoning it and resorting to manual testing.
If we don’t want to lag behind we should incorporate automated test creation and their respective maintenance into our release pipeline, especially when implementing a CI/CD pipeline. This inevitably implies personnel –QAs or developers– to have a full time commitment to creating tests that cover new features of the product, and fix those which present breakages due to such changes in the software code. And all of this, of course, must be done before the change is released in the production environment.
This can give developers a hard time with test suite failures. As said before, when things get big, so do the potential failures. When our test suite grows so much –in the order of maybe thousands of test cases, it becomes potentially unreliable, prone to yield a lot of false positives.
Outdated test suites are another typical cause of failure. This usually occurs when some developers push updates into the code before the test suite design is finished. Large, complex E2E tests can cause this type of failure, causing a general –unnecessary– slowing down of the development process.
Whether we perform test maintenance before releases or mandate it before building any new features, it is a work effort that we will not escape the need to prioritize.
I know what you’re thinking: doesn’t this sound like too much of a hassle? What about the competencies a tester should have? The implicit costs in training personnel, the implicit time consumption in setting up all our testware once a new project starts, just to think of a few possible scenarios.
Picture this: instead of having to go through all the preparation phase, our tool can identify and locate elements in a user interface. Instead of having to modify certain classes for the testware to adapt to changes in the application code, our tool can register those changes and immediately adapt the test cases, and so we get rid of many boring, time-consuming maintenance chores. Instead of using valuable time creating test scripts, why not use the power of Artificial Intelligence and let a no code platform learn changes in our code and adapt to them, making manual script writing/maintenance a thing of the past –and all this in an autonomous way?
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Apart from increasing the coverage of your tests, Autify can help you increase the overall test coverage. By eliminating the test phase –automating tests at the initial stage of the development process, times and costs are dramatically reduced.
Autify will help you regain the energy and the time spent in inefficient, repetitive tasks, potentiating your team by giving more value to each member’s personal abilities.
You can see our client’s success stories here: https://autify.com/why-autify