How To Decide What Should Be Automated When You Cannot Test Everything?

Suraj Kumar

Posted On: July 23, 2018

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Read time5 Min Read

Over time, automated testing has increasingly become more popular as compared to traditional manual testing. An increasing number of quality assurance teams have started preferring the former to the latter because
of a variety of benefits. However, automated testing, like everything else, comes with its own prospects and consequences.
Automating each and every test suite might not be feasible in some situations. Economic and technological constraints do not allow each and every test suite to be automated. Hence, the team needs to filter out the cases which should be automated.

Here we have listed some parameters which may prove beneficial for deciding whether you should automate the suite or not –

What Is Its Priority?

Some features of the application or the project have a higher chance of failing as compared to others. Such features must be automated as the chances of bug detection are comparatively less with manual testing. For instance, with manual testing there are chances of the error being missed or judged with less precision. Hence, to avoid any risks, such features must be tested using automation tools. The test case would be run similarly during each cycle, thus giving ideal data for comparison and error detection.

How Often Do You Need To Run It?

Automated testing is an ideal choice for the suites where you need to run the test cases many times. Repeating the test cases is not a time-consuming activity when it comes to automated testing. However, if a feature needs to be tested as soon as possible, then it is not preferable to automate it. Tests that require quick results should be performed manually.

How Many Test Cases Have You Got To Deal With?

Another important parameter that decides whether a test suite needs to be automated or not, is the number of test cases under the suite. It would not be practical enough to automate a suite consisting of ten test cases. The frequency of the test-runs doesn’t matter much here. However, if the test suite consists of a considerably higher number of test cases required to be run more than once, then automating it is a good choice as it would be worth the cost of the automation tools

Are You Going To Execute More Than One Test Simultaneously?

Are you going to run a single test at a time or a given test case simultaneously on multiple machines? This also plays a role in deciding whether the suite should be automated or not. Manually running a test case on a single machine is good but, the simultaneous execution of the same test case on multiple machines may require more members of the team. To save such wastage of human resources, such test suites are often automated. The scripts can easily be scheduled with automated testing to run the test cases at exactly the same time on multiple machines.

Are You Trying To Perform Cross-Browser Testing?

If you have tested your web application in a single browser only, you are definitely missing out on a lot. Cross-browser testing is an important parameter on which your app must perform well. It makes sure that your application performs equally well across various browsers, operating systems and platforms. However, the process can be cumbersome and time-consuming at times. It is recommended that you automate your cross-browser tests unless you want to see your team engaged with the same test for hours or even days!

What Is The Volume Of The Input Data?

If the volume of the test data is quite large, you must automate it. Even if such a test needs to be run only once, it makes all the sense to automate the test. Not only will it become convenient for you, but also save your time.

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How Urgently Do You Need The Report?

How urgently or well-documented you want your test report to be also decides whether the testing should be automated or manual. The top automation tools, along with flawless testing, generate automatic, excellent and quick test reports for ready reference once the testing cycle completes. With a ready availability of test log, the crucial ‘go-live’ decision can be taken efficiently and quickly.

How Expert Is Your Team?

Automated testing requires specific resources to be implemented. The automation tools require a certain level of expertise from your team. A team with a limited technical knowledge can perform manual testing efficiently but cannot assure the same when it comes to working with leading automation tools. For every tool, a panel with an advanced knowledge of the framework is required

Does The Test Require User Involvement?

Automated testing has its own advantages and is known for giving accurate results but, in some cases, it cannot be used. For instance, in case any of your features require actual user interaction, it would not make much sense to automate the test.

What Are Some Cases Where You Must Not Automate?

Although, it varies from situation to situation, yet there are some cases where you must not automate as a rule of thumb. Test cases that you need to run only once, until exceptionally complex and involving a large volume of input data, should not be automated. Similarly, the cases requiring exploratory testing, visual confirmation and user response should be tested manually. Besides, partially automating a test suite is not a very good idea. Intermittent tests – the tests which do not produce a predictable and reliable result in order to produce success or failure condition – are also not good candidates for automated testing.

Thus, this was a quick guide to deciding whether you should automate a test suite or not. Although, the choice is completely at the tester’s disposal yet going by the rules of the game can ease your task a bit and give you better returns on investment in terms of time and money.

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Suraj Kumar

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