What to Expect When You’re Automating Testing

Automation Testing Published on:
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I spoke recently with Zephyr's Sanjay Zalavadia on TestTalks regarding what most testers should expect when making the switch from manual to automated testing.

Here are some of the things Sanjay touched on:

Factors to Consider When Moving From Manual to Automated Testing

QA professionals should take into account certain factors before making the switch to automated test scripts. The need to accelerate the testing process and meet increasingly tighter release schedules has driven many quality assurance teams to pursue automated tools. When properly utilized, automated test scripts can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a QA operation.

However, software testers should avoid jumping into automation blindly. Like any change to the testing process, supplementing manual testing with automated test scripts can present some wrinkles.

QA professionals should take into account the following factors before making the switch so they know what to expect.

Switching manual tasks to automation

In many instances, QA teams will opt to simply write brand new automated test scripts. This can be a time-consuming process, preventing testers from giving other tasks the proper attention. Writing test scripts can become even more arduous if team members are unfamiliar with the mechanics involved in creating these tools.

One stumbling block that QA professionals may encounter is translating existing manual operations into an automated program. In his book Software Testing Help, quality assurance veteran Swati Seela explains that successfully executing this process invariably begins with a quality manual script.

With that solid foundation in place, teams can build effective automated testing processes that will analyze code and identify defects in the software.

The need for customization

Another issue quality assurance teams should be on the lookout for is the likelihood that they will need to customize their automated test scripts to meet the demands of a current project and in-development program.

As TechTarget noted, this is especially true for organizations that are working with open-source or commercial off-the-shelf software. Having to customizing test scripts may come as a surprise to QA professionals, particularly because of automation's reputation for simplifying and accelerating testing processes. However, by putting in the up-front effort, teams can benefit over the long haul.

Reap the benefits

There may be some initial hurdles QA teams need to clear when implementing automation testing, but the potential rewards are well worth the effort. Automated test scripts can comb through software and spot defects much quicker than a manual operator ever could.

Not only will this enable teams to cover more code and thoroughly analyze its performance, but it will also provide testers with more time to tackle other responsibilities. If done correctly, infusing QA processes with automation will ultimately result in a more polished final product.

QA management should also consider supporting their automated test scripts with a comprehensive test management system.

These platforms will enable team members to upload their best scripts and share them with their fellow testers. They will provide QA professionals with the tools needed to ensure the integrity of currently in-development software as well as future projects.

Getting test automation right

If you would like to learn more about getting test automation right, make sure to register for the upcoming webinar that I will be guesting on along with John Sonmez and Dave Haeffner.

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  1. Joe,
    Excellent points made. The number one problem I see, and still to this day, is the lack of planning and front-end work preparing for the automation effort itself. You can’t properly build a house without blueprints, and the rush to get something done has caused a lot of companies to put the cart before the horse. A recipe for disaster, and why still to this day the failure rate for first time implementations is still hovering around 70%. We need to work on getting the horse back in front of the cart.


  2. Hi Joe,

    I think that manual testers that move to test automation should not expect this transition to be short.

    In other words, there are no shortcuts for learning test automation.

    I remembered this quote while reading your article:

    “There is no royal road to geometry, Euclid (father of geometry) once said to a king who wanted the short version.”

    There is no quick way and no shortcuts to learning test automation.

    And the same can be said about learning a programming language which is obviously a must for automation.

    I wrote a while ago an article on this topic as a response to a manual tester who was asking about how much java he needs for mastering automation:



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