5 reasons why automated tests fail
Test automation is only continuing to increase in popularity, as it is a great way for companies to deploy applications swiftly and efficiently. Yet whether you’re looking into an initial investment or scaling your automation efforts, test automation can present certain challenges that might seem daunting.
To help address these challenges as early as possible, we compiled five major reasons why automated tests fail. Staying aware of these issues can serve as a guide to lead your test automation in the right direction.
1. Too much test automation
One reason why your automated tests might be failing is that they shouldn’t have been automated in the first place. While test automation is helpful for keeping up with release cycles, automation isn’t a be-all-end-all solution to your software testing issues. Achieving 100% test automation is a highly unrealistic expectation, and companies that try to do this will ultimately face larger costs and problems down the line.
Make sure that you know what results to expect from implementing test automation, such as increasing product quality by fixing bugs or shortening release cycles by reducing testing time. If you are not automating your tests with a clear purpose, you are setting them up to fail from the beginning. This will also help you discern whether they are fit for automation, or if manual testing is a better fit for these scenarios.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re automating your tests strategically and for the most relevant use cases. Start this process with automated tests that are simple, but repetitive. This will help set a strong foundation for building more complex test scenarios later on. You can also decide to automate tests that you expect to run for a long time, especially if they’re part of a larger project that is only continuing to scale.
2. Forgetting about manual testing
Another reason why your test automation efforts might be failing is that your team might not be balancing automation with manual testing effectively. As mentioned above, test automation does not get rid of the need to do manual testing. Rather, it offers you more time to focus on those tests that still require a human touch.
Automated testing should be done with manual tests in mind, in order to make automation a more strategic decision. Manual tests serve a completely different purpose than automated tests, which impacts how they are designed, strategized, and executed. In addition, business testers have a unique set of skills that make them invaluable to any testing team. They have the business knowledge to test a web application more in-depth, and the gut feeling necessary to create tests that a machine cannot think of on its own.
3. Changes in the application’s logic
Automated tests are especially helpful for tests that are repetitive, but take up a lot of time and resources. Whether it is as simple as testing a login process or as complex as checking the chatbot function on your home page, these are great examples of tests that can benefit from automation.
But what happens when you’re looking to make changes to your website UI? For example, what happens when you want to make the login button bigger to make your website more user-friendly? Luckily, there are simple solutions to address these kinds of issues. Certain automated testing tools make testing these processes easier by incorporating AI into their platforms. Through the use of dynamic element locators, these tools use AI to overcome changes like this in their applications. Going back to the login button example, a tool using AI-based technology would be able to locate the login button despite changes in size, color, or shape.
Now, what happens when these tests still fail, even when the tool you’re using boasts a high accuracy rate of their machine learning algorithm? One important disclaimer to make is that while AI can make test maintenance easier after making changes to your web application, it does not help when there is a change in the process being tested. To go back to the login example, AI can overcome a changed login button correctly without any human involvement. It cannot, however, complete a test that adds an entirely new step to the login process, such as two-factor authentication or adding your LinkedIn profile. In order to stop this test from breaking, a tester would need to go in and modify the test to include this additional step in the login process.
4. You haven’t refreshed your existing processes
Starting your test automation journey can often feel very exciting. When implemented correctly, you can quickly grasp how much time you can save and how it can help the QA team become more integrated into the software development process. Yet, companies that have adopted automation for a long time can sometimes feel bogged down by the sheer number of automated test scenarios they need to go through on a regular basis. While a QA tester may have some automated tests that they turn to frequently when testing new features, other tests can become outdated and cumbersome over time.
To ensure your test automation efforts continue to benefit your team, it is important to dedicate time to optimizing your existing test automation suites. Especially when your test automation operation is more mature, it’s important to go back and make sure your old tests are still relevant instead of just focusing on automating new areas. This will keep your testing operations lean and make it easier to scale your test automation even further.
5. Not choosing the right tool
Of course, another reason why your automated tests might be failing is that you haven’t selected the right tool to meet your test automation needs. When choosing an automated testing tool, it’s important to understand the scope of the tool, and whether the features it offers are compatible with your team’s priorities. While some companies may be looking for a solution that works with mobile apps, others may prioritize a tool that can operate within their framework, such as Angular and React.
With a clear automation strategy and goals, selecting the right automation testing tool for you should be a much simpler process.