Reasons for Test Automation Failure

Over the last decade, test automation has acquired a significant space in the software testing industry. Owing to the increasing adoption of agile methodologies and DevOps principles, we see enterprises and test engineers plunging into test automation for various reasons. However, not all of them have been successful in getting the automation ROI out of their investment of time, money and resources in test automation. In most of the scenarios, testers have failed to obtain the desired results of their test automation initiative primarily due to one or some of the following reasons:

Reasons for Test Automation Failure

  • Lack of proper planning before implementing test automation
  • Inadequate resources to purchase the right tools
  • Wrong selection of tools
  • Underestimation/overestimation of time, costs and efforts required
  • Lack of training to kick-start test automation
  • Lack of skilled testers
In addition to these, there are several myths and misconceptions among test engineers which often lead to failure.

Common Myths of Test Automation

Myth 1: Test automation should be implemented to meet the tight deadlines. 

Fact: Test automation requires diligence and time to inscribe, manage and interpret the results. It is not the automation that is faster but the execution. Thus, it should never be adopted when the deadlines are tight.
Myth 2: Test automation always helps improve software quality 

Fact: Not always. Test automation just automates the process of executing tests which do not necessarily contribute to improving software quality. Sometimes, it is just to test the responsiveness or functioning of an application and not identify the errors.
Myth 3: Testers should automate tests that are monotonous. 

Fact: Testing is to identify the defects and hence not all tests are monotonous. Hence, automation should not be applied for all the tests.
Myth 4: Roles of tester and automation engineer are same 

Fact: Testers are the ones who decide and write test cases while automation engineers know the areas of test automation to be applied. However, the problem occurs when the tasks of testers and automation engineers overlap.
For these reasons and misconceptions, it is advisable to have an accurate plan and time-frame for test automation to get the righteous benefits out of it. You should know the ideal scenarios and best practices to really make your test automation a successful endeavor.
So first, let’s try and find out the answer to the below question:

When to Automate Testing?

Here are the top scenarios where test automation really pays off:
Scenario 1: Regression Testing 

Automation is a good option when you require performing regression testing or re-testing of existing applications and their new functionalities on a continuous basis.
Scenario 2: Number of Iterations & Test Cases 

Even when there are a large number of test cases or iterations in the application, automation is considered better than manual testing to identify errors in the functioning of the application.
Scenario 3: Continuous Integration 

Software test automation should be also preferred in cases where there are continuous integrations in software application and testers require feedback on a daily basis.
Scenario 4: Large Data Sets 

Testing can be also automated when application functions require being validated with different values, especially when there are large data sets.
Scenario 5: Complex Processes with High-level Assessment 

Test automation is also ideal in case there are complex processes in the application which require high-level of assessment.
Scenario 6: Agile Development 

Automation should be also given preference in an agile development environment where there are time-boxed development and sprint releases.
Scenario 7: Load Testing 

Test automation can be implemented when you need to create virtual users for testing the load capacity of your application.
Scenario 8: Failure of Manual Testing 

Automation testing is also performed when manual testing fails or when testers can’t perform certain tests or figure out errors
Scenario 9: Static Tests 

Automation should be implemented to tests that are highly repetitive and static in nature.
Scenario 10: Predetermined Time 

When you have piles of test cases to be executed at a pre-defined time, you can automate them, which can be executed unattended when you are away from the workplace even during weekends.
Though these scenarios ensure that your test automation is conducted for the right purpose and at the right time, there are certain points to be followed while performing test automation.

Points to Consider While Performing Test Automation

  • Gather accurate requirements and document it
  • Concentrate on test design and investigative testing
  • Ensure test cases are clear and precise
  • Create test suites to club the automation process
  • Develop an automation framework that is easy to manage
  • Create realistic test scenarios that can actually be automated
  • Create generic test scripts to ensure reusability
  • Automate functions that are stable and unchanging
  • Set right expectations and stick to it

Automated software testing in itself is a great strategy for testers struggling to release flawless software and keep their quality under check. It can either transform your application to a great height or ruin it if utilized in a wrong manner. It offers the best ways to accomplish testing goals with effective utilization of resources and time. However, if you understand these simple facts and best practices about automated testing, there would be no instances where your test automation would fail.
Also, make it a point to choose the best test automation tool and the skilled testers. Handing over an expensive tool to the unskilled testers can lead to frustrations. Also, make sure the automated testing tool meets your requirements otherwise, your tool will remain on-the-shelf giving you no ROI.