Test Automation Best Practices for a Smooth Ride

Test automation can be compared to riding a race car. Just like test automation, a race car is an attractive way of getting where you need to go with the speed of lightning. By the same token, this can be very dangerous if you don’t possess all of the needed skills. Racing a car is a feat accomplished by many separate elements combined into one. The racer must be focused, agile, and adaptable.

The elements of racing apply to test automation as well. Development teams must be skilled, 100% focused on their goals, and adaptable, especially when considering the overwhelming amount of new platforms and emerging technologies that form new obstacles on the road every day. Most development teams that encounter such obstacles can overcome them, but only in the right environment.

Another roadblock comes in the form of cutting resources. When test managers try to cut corners, allocate less skilled personnel to do automation, or mix test automation with other responsibilities, they are giving the reins of a formula one to someone who barely knows how to drive a go-cart at a theme park. Overwhelming testing teams leads to distractions that turn them away from their goals, lengthening the process and leaving room for errors and failures. These problems result in such issues such as test automation teams trying to develop un-executable artifacts. The testing projects lose out – development is pushed back and the budget dwindles.

At ZAP, we have over 10 years of consulting experience. Pulling from this knowledge, we always advocate the approach of assigning specific tasks to particular team members and setting reasonable mini-goals that will build on each other to reach the ultimate conclusion. One of our best practices is dividing the work between “Experts” and “Specialists”.

Experts perform QA analysis that focuses on testing goals and test documentation. Their roles also include managing requirements and building modularized test cases that will adhere to test automation best practices.  They schedule test execution based on the goals of the project and execute test sets while tracking defects and errors in the products. Simultaneously, they will collaborate with Specialists to ensure that they develop scripts addressing testing goals through test case logic and validation criteria. Meanwhile, Specialists are solely in charge of developing and maintaining robust test automation framework.

The productivity of such collaboration usually results in 1 Specialist supporting 3-5 Experts. Automation Specialists should always use advanced technologies such as HP QTP and ZAP-fiX to make their tasks easier. Test automation teams should implement HP ALM as the ultimate test automation product to be able to quickly address all testing objectives and apply them cross-platform. This will allow test Experts with one artifact to execute it on multiple platforms with ZAP-fiX’s revolutionary 1Script technology.

In conclusion, if Specialists use good tools like QTP and ZAP-fiX, they can execute their scripts cross-platform using ZAPFARM hosted services. In order to achieve efficient test automation processes, teams should define precise roles and responsibilities and assign particular skillsets of their members to define QA processes while focusing on test automation tasks using advanced technologies. Following these guidelines will complete the racing metaphor – proper technique, focus, and training will always result in a safe and exciting race.

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