When should you invest in automated testing?

An essential part of every software application and product, testing effectively mitigates the risk of repeated errors and unexpected cases of system failure. From a neutral standpoint, it’s often seen as repetitive and taxing, but testers who sit in the front row see it in a very different light. Many of them would probably go as far as to say it‘s a very dynamic road full of unexpected turns.

In practice, every system or product requires a custom approach to testing. Only then can this step bring the best possible result, keeping future mishaps at bay. Each method demands contribution from different teams and will result in very different work flows and maintenance practices.

Testing is destined to bring system errors and other week spots to light so they can be fixed before users get affected. In practice though, it’s a rocky road that comes with many challenges. The root of the problem often lies in critical features of a system or a product. In cases of manual testing, these features will have to be revisited on a regular basis, increasing the probability of human error due to monotonous practices. That’s a good example of an opportunity to implement automated testing. If done right, it can be more effective – and more efficient – in preventing repeated errors in problematic scenarios.

Automated testing is a cool concept that, in our practice, makes heads turn and often receives a warm welcome from potential clients. But not many of them know how challenging and demanding it can be. A common challenge that we face in testing projects are misaligned expectations. Automated testing isn’t always the best solution. Whilst still in the planning stage, it’s crucial to estimate its result and all the resources it will require.

That leads us to a very common misconception.

Automated testing isn’t a “one and done” solution. As it’s a shared responsibility between testers and programmers, it’s important to note that the process of setting up automated tests will be complex and – most importantly – continuous. Contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t have an end date. As data changes and accumulates, every automated test has to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. Failing to review and update an automated test in time may result in a long and complex upgrade project – so much so that starting it from scratch might seem like a better option altogether.

Another variable is the sequence: automated testing works best with processes that are more stable and related to critical features/functions of a software system or product. Therefore, it’s best to start with those and save the rest for further consideration. But it’s also important to be very selective with it, because the more automated tests there will be, the more time and resources their maintenance will take.

Automated testing can be a true game changer, significantly improving the system/product for developers and users alike. Based on dynamic experience in the industry, Insoft team can provide consulting and guidance in making decisions that matter. We guide our clients through every phase of their automation project, adapting to their preferred tools and crafting custom solutions to match their needs.