The word “test” doesn’t usually draw excitement out of people. Many refer to their days of school and shudder at the thought of the midterm or final exam. While many throw away their proverbial flashcards after graduation, others deal with tests on a day to day basis. One such group of individuals are quality assurance engineers, or testers. Day in and day out, testing is necessary; it ensures an application is running up to speed. And if done incorrectly, they can impact deadlines and deployments. How can the team get around this issue? A great solution is automated tests! Automated tests are scripts written to run a test automatically, thus removing inconsistencies. Sure, there’s upfront time in creating them, but in the long run, they can improve the development process. Here are the 3 key benefits of automated tests.
Cuts Out the Busy Work – Every time a new feature is deployed, regression testing needs to be performed to test every single other feature to make sure the new feature doesn’t break. Traditionally, this is done manually, which entails physically running one test at a time on both the old and new features, recording the results and fixing issues if/when they arise. This would even force teams of developers to work over the weekends together to keep a project on target. With automated tests, this process can run seamlessly and efficiently as new features are deployed while keeping the results. This leads us to our second point.
A Detailed History can be Managed – When paired with a good test case management tool, automated tests can be easily recorded and saved for further analysis. Every “pass” and “fail” can be looked under a microscope, showing trends in what works and what doesn’t. This can be done with manual testing, but with so much time spent on administering the tests, recording results for later may not be a top priority. The question comes down to this: is it important to record what’s working and what’s not or is it more important to meet the deadline with a working product? With automated tests and a good test case management tool, the dilemma never rises.
More Innovations – When points 1 and 2 are added together, it can be deduced that developers and quality assurance engineers have a bit more time on their hands. This leads to bigger and better innovations as well as better and more intelligent test cases. Otherwise, a quality assurance engineer is too busy spending their time on activities that don’t demonstrate their value. For example, testing a login screen every single time doesn’t add a lot of value because most of the time, the software will pass a test. But it’s liberating to know that everything is getting tested without relying on human hands. This leads to time better spent on creating the best software possible.
They help cut out the busy work that drains the time and life out of QA engineers. Secondly, testing history can be recorded, analyzed and used again in the future. Finally, the time saved and efficiency gained leads to more innovative software and more intelligent testing. What it all truly boils down to is if software development firms are invested in learning and growing through their acquired knowledge. They increase the value in the agile process by speeding up iterations and feedback through the entire development cycle. Automated tests are just one example of making this investment, but it shows they have their eyes towards making it their work a higher grade.
Originally on SmallFootprint.com.