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Strong automation test planning is important for continuous testing in DevOps. In the application development life cycle, automation tends to take time and money up front before the return on your investment is fully realized. When you invest in automation, you are investing in it for the long term.
At a certain point after implementing automation, your test coverage increases, the time it takes to test decreases, and you have better overall application quality. In order to maximize the automation process and get to better testing efficiency and better quality apps sooner, it is important to develop a software testing strategy.
In this blog, we will cover the basics of an automation test planning strategy and how to successfully execute it to get you on the way to better quality apps today.
An automated test strategy defines how you’ll utilize automation frameworks throughout testing. It includes manual and automated test planning, test cases of all types, automation scripts, test environments and their definitions, test data, test results, execution logs, and reporting output.
A successful automated test strategy means:
Having the right test automation strategy is key for successfully transitioning to DevOps.
When the overall test orchestration runs at scale upon each code commit, the developers have much more time to:
The first question to ask when it comes to developing a successful software testing strategy for automation is: What are the overall objectives? Some additional questions to ask are:
Perhaps the most important factor in developing a software testing strategy is to determine and then standardize your approach. This includes deciding what to automate. The key here is that not everything is a good candidate for automation. It is important to start with automating the tests that will provide the most value for your team in order to foster trust in the automation process.
In addition to determining your automation approach for your software testing strategy, you should consider the following categories:
After going through the above software testing strategy checklist and evaluating your status and plan going forward, you will be well on your way to executing your automation test planning strategy.
A static testing strategy determines the quality of the software while the software is not running. This can come in the form of code-checking after the code has been written but before it has been pushed. Another form of static testing is evaluating the overall project's system requirements, code, and design. Identifying issues in the software before it becomes a production bug can save time and money.
Behavioral testing primarily analyzes the performance of the software as opposed to the technical work under the hood that drives the performance. This type of testing is known as black-box testing. The objective is to focus on all aspects of the user journey by testing the software from an end-user's perspective. Testers should know at least some of the software requirements to know what users will tend to do with the software in order to create test scenarios.
Otherwise known as white-box testing, structural testing falls under unit testing and is typically executed on individual components in order to locate localized issues in the software.
This type of testing focuses on the aspect of the software that is user-facing and, thus, the primary focal point for consuming content or engaging in transactions. It is a vital part of the SDLC.
Your automation test strategy is important. With proper test planning, testing no longer belongs at the end of the process. It’s central to the entire software delivery lifecycle. Or at least it should be.
As teams strive toward continuous testing in DevOps, the role of automation becomes all the more essential. Your automation test strategy is critical for orchestrating the what, when, and why of end-to-end test processes.
Here’s how to create your automation test strategy.
It’s best to begin your automation test strategy with what you have control over. From there, you can start planning. This makes your DevOps pipeline a great place to start.
Pipelines are the fundamental pathways that delivery orchestration follows. They consist of all tasks and deliverables that software delivery teams execute on to bring ideas into production via software. The “continuous” aspect of the DevOps pipeline considers the iterative and repeatable nature of software delivery.
One methodology, SAFe, considers cyclical segments often owned by different teams interacting constantly along a pipeline. Here’s an example of a continuous delivery pipeline.
Other pipeline views break out major stages of software delivery. They emphasize technologies like source control and orchestration automation (such as Jenkins) as the engine that drives the pipeline.
Here is a fast and simple example of a functional test stage that most companies do today.
In this diagram, the bubbles connected to steps are “wasted time.” By identifying where you know time can be cut or improvements can be made, you can plan out how to build a continuous delivery pipeline segment by segment.
Areas of time-savings will play a key role in your test automation strategy.
Cloud is another important aspect of your test automation strategy. In fact, cloud testing should be your first choice.
Here are a few basic use cases for cloud test automation to help you get started.
Quickly spin up multiple operating system types or versions, simultaneously, with a command. Containers make this even easier as you can deploy to different clouds. Functional tests, for instance, could be run against many operating systems. Similarly, you can perform multiple simultaneous browser tests, database types, etc.
Using load generators to drive simulated traffic from multiple regions and up to large scale was one of the first use cases for cloud computing. Load tests can be triggered by a build job and results can be passed in an automated fashion as part of a performance regression suite.
AUT environments can be spun up as part of an automated process. Real users in any location and environments close to users (or far away) can be utilized to test the network impact of systems close to or far away from users.
Embracing automation is also key to a successful test automation strategy.
A never-ending saga in the testing industry revolves around automation in DevOps. It doesn’t matter:
What does matter it that you plan to utilize a test automation strategy with your CI/CD orchestration.
If you aren’t automating regression tests, you are wasting time.
Functional test automation has always been a great place to start. For web, recording technology is mature and stable. So, even junior-level test engineers can reliably capture basic tests to replay.
Here’s how it works:
Nearly every application has a mobile component and nearly every company has a mobile app. The need to test on many different devices and the pace of change of those devices is daunting.
However, mobile testing has matured and recording or scripting tests to run on emulators or real devices can be highly automated. In turn, this automation can be triggered as a CI/ CD orchestration job, to be run “hands free.”
Finally, load testing doesn’t need to be the job of specialized teams. Use cloud or traditional servers. Once load tests are created — as a single component test or even end-to-end — the CI/CD pipeline should include fully-automated load test runs at various stages.
The earlier teams start testing for scale and performance, the fewer problems they will encounter at the “Ops” end of the DevOps cycle.
With your test automation strategy, it’s best to start small and go from there.
The key to successful continuous testing in DevOps lies in building trust between the dev and test practitioners. To build trust, there needs to be a small and proven smoke or sanity test suite that runs automatically within CI (Jenkins) upon each code commit.
The next step is to scale the number of platforms that undergo these tests. “Certify” said tests and make them an integral part of the DevOps pipeline.
Finally, scale the test suite to cover more essential test scenarios and platforms. You’ll need to maintain the coding practices and test certification processes to maintain trust between team members.
Having the right automation test planning strategy is important, as is starting the automation process with a clearly defined software testing strategy. To start off on the right foot, you need the right tools. Perfecto is ready to help you on your path toward continuous testing.
Whether you’re just getting started with automation or you’re well on your way, Perfecto’s expertise can take you to the next level. Soon you’ll have an automation test plan that delivers accelerated testing with fewer defects and faster deliveries.
See for yourself how Perfecto can help you automate testing. Get started with a free 14-day trial.
This blog was originally published April 16, 2020, and has since been updated with new information.