Automatic Software Testing | automated software testing | software test autoation

Calculating the Maintenance Costs of Automatic Software Testing Suites

Is maintaining automatic software testing* an investment, expense, or just a problem? You’ve paid a lot of money to automate software testing and all was working just fine,  but as time goes on and new features are added to your application, the automatic software testing suite is breaking more often and you’re getting frustrated.

Software Test Automation Tools are Changing Rapidly – Double Check

Before you jump off into a test automation rebuild project, it’s worthwhile to do a little bit of due diligence to make sure your platform and software test automation tool will continue to serve you into the future.

  • Your choices for software to automate your testing activities is growing and changing rapidly.  There are literally new software test automation tools announced every month. They tend to be born or created from a need to solve a unique test automation problem. Make sure your software test automation tool is synchronized with your technical needs and supports your technology platform.
  • Software test automation tools change versions and compatibility frequently. As new software technologies are built and release, software test automation tools change to accommodate those new technologies.  In some cases, these upgrades can cause havoc with the scripts you’ve already built for the previous version. How stable and “future proof” is your selected tool?
  • Software test automation tools also fail frequently as businesses. How can you tell if the company you purchase your tool from will be in business next year? There are many open source choices for software test automation but those tools have a risk as well. Will the open source community continue to be interested enough in that test automation tool to keep it working with the current changes in technology?

Maintaining Software Test Automation is Not Easy

  • You probably paid a lot of money to get your software test automation working properly but the return on your initial investment is fading as time goes by – surely that’s not how it is supposed to go.
  • Your software test automation suite worked just fine when it was originally built but today, it’s throwing more and more false errors – and that doesn’t help you achieve your business and technical goals.
  •  Your software development team is too busy writing new features to keep the test automation updated and, they aren’t really interested in working with those tools.
  • Your internal QA Team has trouble finding, selecting and keeping someone talented enough to maintain your software test automation suite – the learning curve is steep and maintaining code is much more challenging than just writing new code.
  • You’ve looked for outsourced help (again) but your software test automation maintenance project just isn’t quite big enough to interest the big offshore technology firms.

Push the Reset Button for Automatic Software Testing

  1. Build a business case – nothing complex – back of the napkin calculations should be sufficient. Gain a deeper understanding of your specific technology and business goals and how they relate to continuing to invest in software test automation. Once you are clear on your specific goals and expected returns, your choices will become much more distinct and easy to evaluate.
  2. Treat test automation false alerts as defects – just like you do with your application software. Use a defect tracker just like you do with your application software. Then, simply cross check application defects reported by your software test automation with the software test automation defects and automatically rule them as false and then use manual testing to verify. This won’t eliminate the time waiting problem but it will reduce it and stop the confidence erosion.
  3. Move your test automation engineer into the software development team. When your test automation work is aligned with the development project timeline and not the QA team timeline, your software test automation will be ready when the software is ready, not a few weeks later.
  4. Start building a software Test Automation Team. Hire a Jr Test Automation engineer to learn from your current Test Automation engineer. Not only is this a great strategy for succession, your software test automation suite will suffer fewer issues and grow quicker to match your software application.
  5. Find an outsourcing partner (not a”vendor”) to work with you over time to specifically meet your business and technical goals. Most outsourcing companies try to be as large and broad as possible to meet every need possible. A few outsourcing companies specialize in automatic software testing and test automation. We specialize so all of our talent will be perfectly suited to solving your software test automation maintenance problem.
^Most readers will dislike my use of the term, “automatic software testing suites”, in this post. The term is not accurate. “Automated software testing suites” is the accepted phrase used in the software testing world. Accepted or not, our research indicates that “automatic software testing” is used by a large number of folks as they search for information on the topic. Therefore, I’ve devoted this post to the folks who prefer “automatic” over “automated”. We do a great job for both. -JCH
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