Debugging Myths on Test Automation

Test automation implementation has its fair share of risks.

Wherever you will suggest test automation, you will need to clarify a few myths around automation that are very common, and people believe them to be true.

Most of the time, test automation is blamed for the failure of a project.

What needs to be done is taking enough time to analyze – the approach, execution of the test, and the tools used – to understand what exactly went wrong and caused the failure.

Few common myths around the test automation

Let’s delve a little deeper into the common myths that surround test automation and try to understand the real thing. 

Test automation is expensive.

It can be expensive at times, but it’s not costly all the time. Automation needs upfront planning with the right tools and plans.

It can be built quickly and can save your money if tests are written faster plus by reducing the costs of maintenance later.

Frequent UI changes break automation efforts.

Frequent UI changes make many automation tests fail because these brittle tests break every time with changes in UI.

When the UI has been modified, then the proofs are a little less fragile. 

100% guarantee on automation cases

Neither 100% automated testing is possible, nor you can get 100% guaranteed automation cases.

If anyone makes such claims, they are making a false claim.

It’s possible to increase test coverage by covering various operating systems, browsers and mobile devices, using more test data and test configuration in automated testing.

Still, 100% automation is never a possibility.

Moreover, as it is clear that not everything is automatable, unnecessary automation may add high cost and effort. 

Instead of 100% automation, one should strive to select regression tests wisely to make the critical decision of what to automate and what not.

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Automation is a QA team’s responsibility. 

Automation tests need the involvement of both QA teams and development teams.

Testers need to create robust tests.

The developers provide access to the code level features and help customize those tests when required.

Test automation can replace manual testing.

Both manual testing and test automation can’t replace each other.

Manual testing should be preferred in areas that need human observation, UI test, usability testing and exploratory tests.

At the same time, automation is fit for repeated, data-intensive and frequently run tests (regression tests). 

Repetitive and data-intensive tasks can be automated, but it will require ongoing maintenance and a well-thought approach. 

Manual testing services is best suited when skills like experience, knowledge, creativity, human intuition, etc. are required.

These specific features make manual testing irreplaceable by automation.

Developers are the best people to do automation.

Developers know programming and coding well.

They are aware of most of the modern design patterns and coding architecture.

Still, they are not the best people to do automation as automation is not limited to only development activity.

Having a tester’s mindset is essential with a better understanding of the application and in applying testing methods.

Testers are not always good coders, but companies can invest in their resources and get them well versed in the coding practices. 

Automated testing is better than manual testing.

Automated testing is limited to verifying the defined rules, but manual testing provides both validation and verification.

Manual testing takes care of overall user experience, usability, look and feel, easy to access, etc.

Manual testing can be involved in the initial phase of software development.

It plays a vital role, whereas automation is not well suited in the development phase of the product. 

In this agile era, requirements change frequently, and automation can’t keep up with the changing requirements.

On the other hand, manual testing is crucial in these situations.

Both automation and manual testing are useful in different scenarios.

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All tests automation should pass.

Automation is meant to evaluate and show the current state of the product.

It will fail when there are issues, and at times it can be false positive and false negative depending upon various reasons.

It’s more important to get 100% accurate results than 100% pass results. Sometimes automation tests carry bugs and give inaccurate results. 

In case a test fails then the tester should take action to check for known issues.

If there is an issue in the automation script, then it needs to be fixed first and rerun multiple times before rerunning next time. 

Test logs can be checked to understand the exact reason if it’s an application bug. 

A network or environment can also cause tests to fail. If this is the case, then report to the DevOps team.

You will get a quick and high ROI in test automation.

Automation involves developing, testing and executing the test cases and other essential activities like having a pleasant test environment, test scripts maintenance, etc.

Test automation takes time and investment.

Later, in the long run, it comes to a steady-state. Every project is different and has unique test requirements. So, there is no definite way to determine ROI.

Automated checks ensure a higher rate of defect detection.

Though fairly sophisticated automation tests can never compete with manual testing, people expect automated tests to find more bugs, but that’s a myth.

In reality, this is not the case. 

Automation tests are suitable for figuring out the regression issues.

Automated tests face the limitations that they are previously programmed and comply with the script written by a person.

The results depend on how good those scripts are written.

Conclusion

Apart from these myths, few more are prevalent like most people think that they have a specific requirement for either system UI automation, or they only need unit test automation.

Some have lost faith in test automation, and they don’t trust that it will show results. 

All these myths are not right. The QA team can assist you better in determining the testing requirements.

The best way to get more effective results is by preparing a hybrid test that includes both components of testing – automation and manual testing.

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