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Software testing often gets a bad rap. It takes too long, requires too many resources, and impacts the production schedule. In various industry surveys, the testing phase is called out as the primary factor for software delivery delays. Although testing is recognized as the biggest bottleneck, it’s essential to ensure quality software is delivered.
Manual testing can be incomplete and time-consuming, but it’s still prevalent at many companies. Incomplete test coverage may result in hidden bugs. Code defects that could be avoided with a more comprehensive approach, may slip into production.
So, what should you do about it?
In The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Functional Test Automation Suites, Q2 2020, Diego Lo Giudice states,
“Automation is at the core of being adaptive. While test automation is not new, past automation approaches have not helped app dev teams keep up with increased demands of modern delivery.”
To improve your testing performance and achieve high levels of test automation, you need to adopt a strategy that simplifies, accelerates, and optimizes your test processes to create higher quality code and generate fewer bugs.
Automated testing involves using tools that augment the manual tester’s capabilities by creating, executing, and maintaining complex test cases within a test environment. This enables test runs to occur more quickly and more often, improving test coverage with up-to-date test cases.
Test automation improves the testing workflow but will not completely replace manual testing. While you want to automate as much as possible, there will always be a need for human involvement in certain aspects of the test process. Develop your strategy accordingly to incorporate both manual and automated testing depending on the needs of your application.
While there are certain areas where manual testing is the best approach, there are several opportunities where automation can improve application testing:
A solid test strategy will incorporate end-to-end functional testing as a key component, along with non-functional testing for security, load, and performance. Forrester advises,
“Functional testing is converging with load and performance testing to save time in creating duplicate test cases and automation bots. Look for CFTA suites that provide converged types of functional automated testing, with load-speed performance testing, API testing, service virtualization testing (SVT), and more.”
Many organizations are recognizing the importance of software testing to improve the time to market for their applications while meeting increasingly complex compliance and security requirements. They are turning to DevOps and Agile development methodologies to help them update their testing processes and implement effective testing strategies so they can keep up with the demand for more frequent production deliverables. But while these dev workflows can provide some guidance on code testing considerations, they do not recommend specific steps or best practices to actually improve your processes.
Test automation is the first step to take for creating reusable tests that address many use cases and can execute without manual intervention, providing better test coverage in a shorter amount of time. There are different levels of automation that can be implemented. For example, open source automation requires manual scripting and maintaining of test assets, involving more human resources. , involving more human resources.
If you want to more easily scale your testing, it’s helpful to use a tool with automation that can create and support repeatable test flows with easier maintenance by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. A good testing tool makes it easier for you to generate and debug the test scripts, and helps you keep the tests updated and maintained as changes occur in the application.
Fortunately, there are automated testing solutions that can help you update legacy workflows and develop an effective testing strategy. According to the Forrester report,
“Smart, integrated suites of testing tools outperform the less effective, siloed best-of-breed ones. On top of the typical integration and maintenance functions, capabilities like AI and machine learning (ML) infused in test automation design and execution, combined heterogenous channels, and API testing dictate which providers will lead the pack.”
You can optimize your test flow after code changes if your testing tool correlates test execution data with test coverage data and identifies which tests are necessary to validate the changed areas. Smart test execution against only the impacted code will reduce your overall testing time and allow you to focus on continued development.
Test automation by itself is not sufficient to handle frequent and extensive real-world testing or full coverage of the entire application. Continuous testing is the new paradigm, incorporating the right mix of automated and manual testing to ensure end-to-end coverage for continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) development projects. This reduces delivery cycle time, while also increasing software quality, by extending test automation to occur earlier in the development life cycle. Known as “shift left”, this practice enables testers to provide better feedback sooner in the dev process, when it can be used to correct issues before the code is released to production. You can’t achieve true CI/CD without automated testing.
Choosing to implement continuous testing must be a top-down decision from management that has decided to align testing with business goals and recognize that these process improvements add value to their bottom line, reducing costs, mitigating risk, and improving quality. If you are ready to automate and shift left your application testing as a step toward implementing a continuous testing process, contact Parasoft to learn how we can help.
“Parasoft is executing on its strong, committed AI roadmap … and has plans to infuse AI and ML at all layers of the testing pyramid. Parasoft’s continuous testing shines in API testing, service virtualization and integration testing, and the combined automation context.” – The Forrester Wave™: Continuous Functional Test Automation Suites, Q2 2020
Joy Ruff is a Product Marketing Manager, focused on product positioning and marketing content for Parasoft's functional testing tools. With over 25 years of experience, she has provided technical marketing and sales enablement for various enterprise hardware and software solutions.