According to Peter de Winter, Test Architect at ICT Group, organizations are still not fully benefitting from automated testing. In fact, testing automation can sometimes even detract from the strengths of professional testers. In this blog, Peter explains how software businesses can complete new functionalities quicker and better by making smart use of testing automation. The digital development cycle has drastically impacted time to market and the way markets work. Organizations would try to push their software products onto the markets yesterday, if they could. As a result, businesses are looking to testing automation as a way to speed up product development cycles. In theory, this is a good idea. Testing automation has the potential to boost both efficiency and effectiveness. In practice, a lot of organizations end up feeling cheated because they do not respect a very important caveat to the theory; only automate when it makes sense. What typically happens is the following: once a company decides to go forward with testing automation, they tend to stick with it… a little too much. Skilled testing professionals end up spending endless hours creating automated tests. This leads to an effective net loss in time ‘saved’ and the number of bugs found. Another unintended consequence is that human testers have a lot less time to look for bugs manually. Ironically, this is where human testers add the most value. How to test thoroughly? My advice to businesses is to carefully consider and decide in advance to what extent you want to implement testing automation. Weigh the expected efficiency gains against time invested to create the automation. And use risk analysis to test the functionalities that have the most potential for negative consequences. This also leads nicely into regression testing. For example, try testing entry fields with all possible and impossible combinations, but limit your regression test (or part of a larger test) to a single combination (which you preferably vary). In this regard it is very important for the test data to be independent of the testing scripts. This gives you the advantage of being able to add variation, while ensuring fast and easy maintenance of testing scripts. You can add to these advantages by keeping automated tests small (by focusing on a small piece of functionality), which grants you the additional benefit of using it in other, more abstract automatic tests. Finally, it is good practice to determine whether or not all automated tests are used and need maintenance, potentially saving a lot of valuable time. By pre-determining these steps, organizations can get the most out of testing automation and their testing professionals. This lets your testing professionals focus on what they’re good at and passionate about: finding the bugs that fall outside of the range of automated testing. Focused manual testing combined with smart testing automation results in highly qualitative functionalities that get delivered on time. This allows businesses to quickly capitalize on new market opportunities. Want to learn more about smart testing automation? Get in touch with Peter de Winter, Test Architect bij ICT Group.