Improving Test Maturity with Automation

Automation saves time and money while improving the overall customer experience.

As organizations strive to become more customer-centric, quality assurance is an increasingly important part of the development process. When automation is well-designed and implemented according to the needs and limitations of your organization, it dramatically increases the frequency of your testing cycles, improves your capacity for test cases, and creates more robust quality assurance.

 

Why Maturity Matters

In Quality Engineering circles, maturity refers to how well an organization integrates quality assurance into the software development lifecycle. Mature organizations have robust processes and tools to support continuous testing throughout the software development life cycle, making quality assurance a priority from the beginning.

When you fail to consider quality upfront, it can become a source of frustration later on. For instance, if a team discovers a UI issue late in the development cycle, it will cost more time and money to correct and delay the feature deployment. This issue requires the development team to revert to the design phase and repeat each step.

Research by Splunk shows that organizations with mature data practices innovate twice as fast. They don’t need to spend as much time on rework, which frees up resources to work on projects that bring real customer value.

Customers expect a high level of quality and responsiveness from the applications they use. The average user won't wait more than three seconds for a page to load before moving on to something else. This level of customer expectation suggests that businesses can't afford to release applications with bugs or performance issues. Your user simply doesn’t have the patience for it.

Beyond customer experience, reputation, cost, and time considerations also necessitate continuous testing and well-integrated quality assurance practices. Failing to meet customer expectations can result in loss of business while catching and repairing errors before release saves time and money.

To meet these demands, organizations need to think about quality as an integral step in the software development lifecycle and ensure that their applications are scalable and user-friendly.

 

How Automation Can Help

Traditionally, companies perceive quality assurance as a time-consuming, manual process. However, with advances in test automation, it's now possible to speed up testing cycles. This improvement is important because it allows organizations to quickly get feedback on their products or services and make corrections as needed. One survey found that 88% of organizations that automate the majority of their tests experience faster testing cycles—enabling them to focus on delivering quality solutions.

In addition, automating the testing process reduces human error, improving quality and customer satisfaction measures. Automation also helps scale testing by executing many test cases in a relatively short time.

We spoke with Sam Kukadia, who has worked in quality engineering and testing for seventeen years, about how automation can help organizations improve their test maturity. For example, Kukadia explains that reduced the testing cycle from two weeks to one day in one project by implementing an automation framework. This reduction saved the company time and money while allowing them to manage 4,000 test cases more effectively.

Kukadia also notes that humans are prone to making errors, especially when they're under pressure with a large workload. You know the exact input and output with automation, so there's less room for error. Automation may not serve every organization, but it is particularly well-suited for regularly executing many test cases.

When designing an automation framework, Kukadia notes that there are three key elements to consider:

  • A modular function library: A collection of functions that can be reused across multiple test cases. For example, one function could enable a basic login, a prerequisite for many different test cases. This function would include visiting the login page, entering credentials, and clicking the login button. Modularity is important because it allows you to reuse code, saving your team time.
  • A driver script: A script that executes the test cases. The driver script calls the functions in the function library and passes parameters to them.
  • A recording: A record of the steps taken during the test, which can be used for reporting and debugging purposes.

With these three elements in place, you can create a robust and scalable automation framework that will help you understand and improve your organization’s maturity by integrating quality assurance into each stage of the development lifecycle.

 

Takeaways

Automation helps your organization understand and improve test maturity by speeding up test cycles, increasing productivity, and reducing human error. By implementing a well-designed automation framework suited to your organization, quality assurance becomes part and parcel of your entire software development lifecycle, which will benefit your entire team and customers.

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