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Challenges Faced by Organizations/CIOs in the Realm of Test Automation

V. Narayan Raman, Founder and CEO of Tyto Software
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
V. Narayan Raman, Founder and CEO of Tyto Software
Headquartered in Bengaluru, Tyto Software provides business-ready, cutting-edge software automation products for web application testing, thus enabling organizations cut-down their process costs

Test automation has considerably matured over the past decade. Most organizations have at least tried automating their tests. However the success rate of automation projects is still low. Challenges faced are in prioritization, team constitution, tool selection and development/test practices. Based on our over a decade long experience in helping automation teams, we have put together some challenges and suggested solutions.

Prioritization of Automation: The priority of automation should be understood from the top management to the bottom tester. Automation yields results when it is frequently run. Allocation of resources, choice of tools, allocation of time in sprints, machines for playback, budget for test machines or cloud instances - all these need to be understood and planned for.

Choosing the Right Team: Testers should understand the business of the product and be able to find problems that an end user may face. Having a very technical automation team may get scenarios automated but may not find business related problems. Similarly having a pure manual team which does not want to do any programming or scripting will prevent automation. The ideal would be a testing team that understands the business functionality very well. They also understand that automation can ease their work. They may not be very technical, but can write simple scripts or synthesize steps logically to create a functional flow. Given the right tools, such a team will be able to maintain quality of the product.

The development team should be able to pitch in and help testers in the automation process. However, they should not be unnecessarily burdened and side-tracked because the chosen automation tool is too demanding. Testers lose a lot of respect and developers' time because their automation tool demands that the tester ask the developers to add/modify ids to the developer code base. The right choice of tools should prevent such interactions. While hiring for automation, care should be taken to hire 'A' grade testers and quality engineers and teach them scripting if needed, rather than hire B grade developers. This ensures a healthy attitude towards testing and quality and alignment of company/team goals with personal ambitions.

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