Automation can significantly increase the efficiency of testing processes and reduce a company’s costs. However, like any technology, automated testing is also associated with a number of challenges that should be considered before an organization decides to implement a testing solution. Understanding the potential issues discussed in this article is critical for making the most of your automated testing tool deployment.
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Lack of Understanding Principles of Test Automation
One of the main problems associated with test automation is the lack of understanding of this technology. The most common situation caused by insufficient knowledge on the subject is unrealistic expectations of test automation implementation that cannot be met and can lead to financial losses.
For example, it is common to believe that test automation is completely error-free and it is a one-time effort that does not require effort for maintenance and optimization. In addition, many people think that automation can completely replace manual testing. Companies that fall for these common myths risk overestimating the potential return on investment and losing money.
No Clear Targets for Automation
Test automation comes with costs whether an organization chooses to purchase a proprietary solution such as Executive Automats or develops a testing framework based on open-source Selenium, which cannot be done without the costly work of professional developers. Since there is a cost to implementing automation, it is important to ensure that the ROI will be substantial and quick. However, this is impossible if there are no clearly defined goals for the automation project.
A clearly defined objective is based on measurable parameters and has a specified timeframe. An example of such a goal can be a 20% reduction of time spent on testing an ERP system after an update.
Other goals that a company can achieve with test automation are higher test coverage, a greater number of reusable tests, or a minimization of test costs.
Inadequate Testing Tool
One of the main problems that many companies face is the inappropriate selection of a testing tool.
It is impossible to name a single best testing tool because different companies have different testing requirements that cannot be met with the same tool. Often, the wrong choice of a test tool makes it impossible for companies to perform all the types of testing they need, or it does not provide sufficient test coverage. This is a particularly common problem with performance testing. Many testing applications offer this type of testing, but in reality, they do not support a sufficient number of simulated users to understand the behavior of the system under a given load. Executive Automats for Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the few exceptions to this rule, as it does not limit the number of virtual users and does not include hidden costs for performance testing.
Another popular problem concerning the selection of a testing tool is that it may be too complicated to implement and use. While there are user-friendly tools with fast deployment like Executive Automats, there are also applications that will not work without the development of a complex test environment. In this case, successful implementation is impossible without hiring the right specialists.
Companies should research carefully to understand what they can expect from the technology they choose, or they may incur significant costs or not be able to implement their testing solution at all.
Problems with Test Case Selection and Test Scripts
Test automation is not effective if test cases are not properly selected. Although time-consuming, repetitive, and rule-based cases are often the best candidates for automation, there can be exceptions, especially in overly complex scenarios. Certain types of tests, such as exploratory tests and UX testing cannot be automated at all.
Many problems occur in the test script creation phase. One of the most common mistakes is to make the test scripts too complicated so that they cannot be reused and maintained. The latter is especially important for test automation, as the scripts need to be up-to-date in order to deliver accurate results.
While test automation makes it easier to run a larger number of tests, it can be difficult to maintain them all. Even if your test tool supports automatic test updates, ensure they are truly up-to-date.
On top of that, data-driven testing, which is one of the most effective testing techniques, is quite demanding when it comes to creating test scripts and maintaining test data sets. To use this testing technique effectively, it is recommended to use special data management tools and implement frameworks specifically designed for data-driven testing.
Problems Related to Timing and Synchronization
Many test automation tools interact with the tested software at the level of API or user interface, which can sometimes lead to problems caused by the mismatch between the timing of test execution and the application’s response.
In such situations, the test scripts may fail or give false positive results. To avoid such situations, testers should carefully calibrate the timing parameters.
Dealing with Dynamic UI Elements and Non-Deterministic Applications
The non-deterministic behavior of software can produce different outputs for the same input if it is affected by specific timing, concurrency, or changes in external dependencies. Testing non-deterministic features can be particularly difficult because test scripts can produce inconsistent results. To test such applications, it may be necessary to apply special techniques such as test isolation, seed data control, and the use of stubbing frameworks.
Dynamic UI elements that make applications so attractive and exciting to use are also quite difficult to handle when testing, especially with the use of traditional element locators. Testing such elements requires a more advanced approach that includes pattern recognition techniques and capturing unique element properties at runtime.