The Two Extreme States of Test Automation

Test Automation is a big topic. There are so many different areas to talk about: tool choice, jumpstart, cross platform, services, cloud… Each of these areas have changed so much in the recent past that they could each be worth their own blog post.

As software development has changed so dramatically in the past decade — from same sprint Test Automation in agile, to Selenium as a universal browser test tool, to service testing using containers in DevOps — Test Automation has evolved with it. We’ve covered Automation extensively in our own LogiGear magazine, as well as this blog.

There is one emerging trend that I’ve noticed in the last few years. It’s the phenomenon of the ‘have’ and ‘have nots’! That is, those who have significant Test Automation programs and those who do not.

When we did a survey in 2017 on Test Automation, we found that over 65% of respondents said less than 50% of their tests are automated, within this group 20% of respondents said that they had no automation at all. This is one end of the spectrum.

At the same time, we know that there are companies where the Test Automation software development project is nearly as sophisticated as the production code project. Tens of thousands of automated tests with sophisticated development and maintenance methods are running on hundreds of virtual machines or real devices in a state of continuous testing.

This group would have, for example:

  • Small, (but hopefully), effective automation, such as one automated test or smoke test suite that runs against each build.
  • A few happy path workflow, or transaction tests, or full transaction tests that touch perhaps — all the outside services or major functionality and are run against each platform.
  • A small regression suite with test design and maintenance and cross platform abilities, but also with gaps, perhaps, of various services, subsystems, or devices and platforms.
  • A Significant automation program, with high coverage, diverse platforms, significant and manageable maintenance.
  • Sophisticated automation that scales at a high volume, with an automated process that runs on a significant amount of systems and has its own development team.

As always there are constant demands to go faster, do more with less, and automate more.

Three aspects of this situation put pressure on test automation programs:

  1. There are also universal goals to test automation, such as higher coverage and lower maintenance.
  2. As you scale, each level of automation will have its own unique issues.
  3. With Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery in DevOps, each of these levels need to tie into the ALM tool chain and run automatically.

A critical task when optimizing your test automation suite, or beginning to build a test automation program, is recognizing the issues. This is where LogiGear can help. We are automation experts and can help you ramp-up your automation practice. If you have tried struggling to build a significant automation practice, or are new to automation then our test automation solutions are a good fit for you. With each customer we take the time to understand your unique needs and we will help you get your automation done right from the start.

Michael Hackett
"Michael is also a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics.

Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), available in English, Chinese and Japanese, and Global Software Test Automation (HappyAbout Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries."