Test automation is an important part of modern software development. CI/CD processes and agile development models in particular are hardly feasible without test automation. Although test automation can bring many advantages such as time and cost savings, the cost-benefit factor is project-specific and can vary greatly.
Project managers must therefore take many factors into account when deciding on the implementation of test automation in an existing or planned project. In this article, we, therefore, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of test automation in the context of software development projects.
Advantages of Test Automation:
- Faster tests
The biggest advantage of test automation is the ability to run repetitive tests (especially unit, integration and regression tests) faster and more frequently. Testers can incorporate the results into development immediately and correct errors immediately.
- Effective use of test resources
Test automation and software quality assurance consulting saves many hours of costly working time. Instead of dealing with creating manual tests, programmers can invest their time in developing new features. The testers are also relieved of time and can devote themselves to the tests that cannot be taken over by machines (AdHoc tests, exploratory tests or usability tests).
- Consistency of the results
Automation practically eliminates the human factor and the associated errors. The consistency of test results is thus ensured and the comparability of the results over long periods of time is ensured. This leads to a drastic cost reduction in error detection and correction.
- Increased test coverage
Regardless of the type of test, automation allows you to achieve better test coverage. For example, unit tests result in an increase in code coverage. GUI tests can test more test scenarios. Therefore, the results from automated tests are more reliable and complete.
- Flexibility and agility
The establishment of test automation makes many continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment processes possible in the first place. The tests do not require human support and can start automatically at any time of the day, which achieves enormous time flexibility. This is especially useful for teams that work together across several countries (and time zones) or when some team members temporarily fail.
Disadvantages of Test Automation
Despite the many advantages, test automation also has certain limitations or is not useful in all software development projects.
- Initial costs and time expenditure
In order to successfully use test automation, several steps are required: evaluation of the current development environment and the software to be tested, creation of the test automation architecture, selection of the appropriate tools and finally the setup of test automation. The maintenance of the installed test automations also plays a major role. Although test automation saves costs in the long term, increased costs are usually planned for the initial phase of a project.
- Need for specialists
Since test automation requires specialized skills (e.g. Knowledge of the common test automation tools), it is often necessary to add further specialists to the team or to involve external expertise. You can search on https://savarian.tech/.
- Increase in technical complexity
With the introduction of test automation and the use of new test automation tools and technologies, you increase the complexity of the development processes of your project. The resulting training needs of the personnel and the adaptation of the organizational architecture in the development teams to the new processes must be taken into account in the timing of the project. Furthermore, test automation must not distract developers and testers from the actual test goals (increase in product quality).
- Continuation of manual tests
Not all tests and test processes can be automated. Exploratory tests are based on the evaluation of the developed features from the point of view of end-users. Other tests that cannot be automated are AdHoc tests, usability tests and acceptance tests.
In summary, it can be said that although test automation can mean time and cost savings for the majority of development projects, it cannot be used across the board in all projects and in all types of tests. Therefore, it is important to proceed in a structured manner and access external expertise at an early stage (already in the planning phase).