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Misconceptions about test automation

After talking to a several Executives, R&D Managers and QA Leaders, I discovered that we expect automation to accomplish much more or at least to help us alleviate the burden of current testing difficulties. It is true, but as soon as we start automating our testing tasks, we realize - we never did enough testing…

Here I have outlined few misconceptions about automatic testing, or test automation:

  1. Automatic Testing establishment and maintenance is a Development task NOT a Testing task. Automatic Testing Platform is an application that tests another application (SUT). Since it is an internal product, it must be developed according to the company development process and standards.  Automation should possess the same standards and rules set for any development process, hence, in order to have a successful Automation platform, you need a person with development skills, someone who will know how to design and implement the framework.
  2. Automatic Testing is an auto implementation of the testing plan, which means you have to have your test cases ready or defined, in order to automate them.
    The Test Engineer should prepare and plan the Test cases and Test Environment. The Automation developer should design and implement the Automation Platform.
  3. Automation Reliability is NOT tool dependent; it is dependent on the Automation engineer. No matter whatever the reason for unreliable automatic testing platform, in all cases the reason for its failure is that the platform was not designed well or implemented well. All testing tools and scripts have their limits and boundaries.
  4. UI Testing is End-to-End testing, or Black Box testing, in some cases need much more than it implies. For example, Data based testing, DB verification and skills, Data structure building skills. UI Testing is surely not all Record and Play.
  5. Test Automation to replace manual testing, NEVER. The moment automation starts working, it is usually the time you realize the extent of damage that the lack of testing has caused to your process. It is very hard to create automatic testing in a level ready for exploratory testing (or smoke testing). Manual testing should always be continued for progression testing or to top up test cases. The best attitude is a combination of them both, wherein automatic testing goes over all regression and test cases with a long configuration process. Automatic testing can be achieved at few levels, from being a monkey robot to high level  of Artificial intelligence. It is certainly feasible, but requires much more time and effort to establish.
  6. Automatic testing is all about implementation. If Automatic Testing was all about implementation, after a while you will find yourself with many test cases which will hardly run, whose maintenance will become more and more expensive with time. Automatic Testing is a development project, you have to think about tomorrow at each step, making sure that you build your infrastructure as global and general as it can be, in a way that it will save you the maintenance efforts that may be needed tomorrow.
  7. Rating your automation according to coverage is a good thought, but the question is, did you plan and measure the exact coverage level? Was it before Automation or during Automation ?




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