With new technology solutions and digital tools emerging all the time, the state of software testing is constantly changing. As the technology matures, the capabilities of testing automation evolve, presenting opportunities to increase the quality and efficiency of your software testing.
Keeping up with the pace of change is difficult for most organisations. To help you ensure your testing strategy is aligned with the latest technology and trends, we’ve provided a detailed guide to software testing automation in 2022 and beyond.
Overcoming Your Testing Challenges
Test Stability and Failure Analysis
In such an ever-changing technology landscape, test stability is difficult to maintain. This is a key challenge which many testers are still struggling to manage.
While there are plenty of reasons why your tests might fail, the main reasons are:
- Problems with the environment
- Problems with the test
- Problems with the test data
- Actual defects.
To improve test stability –
- Ensure requirements are thoroughly understood via practice like static testing
- Ensure parameters are configurable so they are easily maintained
- Adopt test data management practices – refresh, archive and sanitize
- Shift testing left and identifying defects earlier to prevent major failures later
- Ensure test environments are maintained, refreshed and secured
Of course, when test stability is an issue and you’re regularly having test fail, the analysis of that failure is also a time-consuming process which causes teams to lose productivity.
While very few failures will end up being due to actual defects, those are still the most important failures to analyse in your testing reports.
To mitigate this challenge, make sure you have coordinated reporting methods to save you spending more time than necessary looking into the reasons why your tests failed. You can also use automated tools to provide detailed insights and streamline your evaluation and resolving processes.
ramping up their efforts by adopting innovative new tools. The key outcome of utilising automation is essentially that it allows you to complete more testing in less time. Of course, this is a huge driver of increased productivity and allows you to save or reduce costs.
While manual testing won’t be disappearing anytime soon, applying automated processes in the right areas will help boost efficiency, improve test coverage and get software products released far quicker.
We are seeing many organisations shift their testing further left to non-functional testing, most notably with API, performance and accessibility testing.
Shift-left testing is crucial for effective functional testing, but it also allows you to reduce some of the more time-consuming aspects of testing, thanks to a few advantages:
- It supports the principles of agile and DevOps
- Its delivers cost savings to find defects earlier
- It’s easier to maintain code and quality
- It covers more functional and non-functional areas earlier.
Currently, too many organisations are making the common mistake of neglecting performance, accessibility, or security testing until the end of each of their sprints. Even worse, some testers only address these things when something has already gone wrong.
Shift-left testing provides a way to incorporate diverse tests into the sprints themselves, giving you a far more successful testing cycle.
Continuous testing is another trend that’s building momentum in the current software testing space, with automation driving the adoption of this practice.
Continuous testing is typically done by either:
- An internal quality assurance (QA) team supporting several agile teams
- Dedicated QA resources within a feature team.
These types of testers can help maintain and accelerate their organisation’s release cadence, whether that’s weekly or monthly.
Of course, working to a weekly or monthly release cadence without automation tools supporting your testing processes will leave you with a high risk of defects being released into production.
Continuous testing can help get feedback sooner and increase the overall pace of innovation.
Behaviour-driven development (BDD) is another popular approach many testers have begun to take due to the benefits it offers. BDD offers a business-focused perspective and it’s also been known to stimulate better collaboration across teams and departments.
As more automation tools are introduced into release cycles, the organisations leading the way seem to be leveraging BDD solutions to help them improve their testing output.
If you embed BDD within your continuous testing processes, you’ll likely see faster and more digestible feedback passing between your testing team and your other stakeholders.
Make Sure Mobile Testing is a Priority
With more software products being developed as mobile-first than ever before, mobile testing should remain a high priority.
The importance of mobile testing will only continue to grow as technologies such as 5G make it into mainstream use.
It’s crucial to keep nurturing the skills, tools and best practices that support the successful production of mobile-first products
Our Tips to Help You Embrace the Future of Testing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Unsurprisingly, more and more software testers are adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate and optimise their testing in 2022.
If it’s not already a part of your strategy, introducing AI and ML into your testing processes should be a top priority this year.
Not only will this be necessary to keep up with the rapid pace of the current testing landscape, but this technology can also help you:
- Increase the efficiency of your processes
- Make more intelligent decisions
- Enhance your products and services
- Reduce errors and improve accuracy
- Save valuable time and lower costs.
From test design and creation to test reporting, AI and ML will have a transformational impact on your software testing overall.
Automate and Optimise Your Test Failure Analysis
As mentioned earlier, a proven way to improve the efficiency of your testing is to address the notoriously time-consuming process of test failure analysis. Analysis of test failures has become a daunting responsibility due to the high volumes of data involved today.
Reducing the amount of time spent on test failure analysis, by introducing automated tools and processes will significantly accelerate the speed of your output.
AI and ML technology can also play a useful role here, allowing you to optimise your analysis and driving continual reductions in the time spent in this area.
Expanded Your Test Coverage
Broadening the coverage of your tests is also something we’d recommend working towards throughout 2022.
To help keep your test coverage up to date, we’d suggest taking the following steps:
- Use calendars to keep up
- Follow relevant events taking place
- Conduct web traffic analysis
- Match coverage to historical defects
- Keep your test automation suite maintained
- Don’t repeat failing tests without de-bugging
- Regularly validate and modify your test automation suites.
You can also spread your test execution out throughout the pipeline, based on things like target features and platforms, regression needs, software iteration scope, phases in the CI/CD pipeline, personas, skill-sets, tools, and more.
Investments in software testing automation will continue to rise in 2022 and beyond. As software products and applications become complex, automation will become even more important for testers in the coming years.
To keep up with the pace of the industry, adopting automation is critical. The opportunities and benefits available when manual testing processes are removed are becoming harder, and more costly, to ignore.
Similarly, you’ll also benefit from shifting your testing left, to place more emphasis on key areas like performance, accessibility, and security.
These trends are at the top of the priority list for organisations that are currently leading the way in the global software quality engineering/assurance landscape.
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