If test automation promises to deliver fast, efficient, consistent, and reliable testing, why don’t more companies take advantage?
Less than 25% of QA teams are using test automation, and why are so many companies still sticking with manual testing even when they have an automated testing tool available?
According to CA Technologies’ report, Test Automation Trends, the number one reason for test automation failure is that there isn’t enough testing expertise in the organization.
Test automation provides numerous benefits to software development projects, such as reducing manual QA time and raising code quality by catching bugs early.
Yet, many teams still don’t automate their tests—and it’s not because they lack the money or time to do so. Indeed, there are several other reasons why test automation fails, so these are the most common ones. Here are some additional reasons why test automation fails in organizations.
1. Unrealistic Expectations
Development teams have come to believe that test automation is a one-size-fits-all solution is the most common reason why test automation fails. Developers, who may not be accustomed to thinking like testers, are sold on test automation with unrealistic expectations.
For example, they may assume it will eliminate all manual testing or that it will drastically reduce test cycle times. This leads to disappointment when expectations aren’t met and leaves them questioning whether automated tests provide any value.
2. “One Size Fits All” Mindset
One of the leading causes of the failures of test automation is that test automation does not provide a one size fits all solution as it depends on various parameters like requirements, the type of tests, and the number of tests that need to be automated.
You’ll need to be patient and willing to grow along with continuous improvement for automated testing to work efficiently.
3. Improper Management
There are plenty of reasons why your software projects might not be automated, but poor management is likely near or at the top of that list and responsible for test automation failure.
When management doesn’t value test automation—or worse, does not prioritize it above other activities—there will always be a long list of pressing tasks that will get done before anyone gets around to Automation.
And once you do begin to automate, you can expect resistance from everyone on your team who isn’t quite sure how it fits into their workflow. So make sure you have support from upper management and don’t be afraid to help them understand why it’s important in term of avoiding failures of test automation. After all, if you have time for another meeting about defects or issues with code quality, there’s time for test automation!
It is naïve to think that Automation will fix everything. This issue is complicated because only half of the team members know how automation testing is performed.
Each team member should have the necessary skills to perform their role effectively, as Automation is a team effort rather than something one person can handle independently.
4. Ignoring Manual Testing Completely
Humans aren’t always consistent. The same test can be executed multiple times by different people and get vastly different results.
For example, one person might be in a good mood on a particular day and interpret things more favourably than another. Even if all users execute tests with 100% accuracy, a manual tester is still limited to only being able to test one thing at a time—and they can only do that once every 24 hours!
Most teams find it faster and cheaper to automate tests instead of solely relying on manual testing during peak hours.
If you want your tests to run fast and frequently, consider automating them. Also, remember: even better than Automation alone is having both humans and machines work toward an accurate final result!
Read also: Problems with Manual Testing
5. Unclarity on When to Use Automation
Some organizations that have embraced test automation haven’t given up manual testing; they’ve just automated only a small set of tests. Even though automating those tests may make sense (perhaps there are high levels of re-testing or manual testing is slowing down development), there may be no strategy for transitioning from primarily manual to primarily automated.
This confusion leads some teams to abandon test automation altogether because it’s not meeting their goals or doesn’t align with their plans to reduce headcount. If you want to convince your organization that you need to automate more tests than you already do, then be sure everyone understands how test automation fits your long-term strategy.
6. Improper Staff Selection and Resource Planning
Resources that are not adequately trained to use a specific test automation tool or technology can create severe issues with the tests and execution of those tests resulting in test automation failure.
You need to have tools for your staff that are easier for them to use, and you need to ensure you have enough of these
skilled resources on staff to handle all your automation needs. When choosing a test automation tool or technology, look at your existing team’s skillsets, what they already know, and any training they may need.
If you don’t pick a tool with an easy learning curve, it will be a lot harder to convince others in your organization that they should give it a try. It also doesn’t help if none of them has any experience using it.
7. Not Giving Attention to Test Reports
Why does test automation fail? It’s simply an answer maybe you’re not giving attention to testing reports.
Automated testing does many checks at once, making failure more likely, so it’s important to sift through test reports.
If you fail to look at the test reports carefully and attend to the test results, you might overlook the primary defects, wasting time, resources, and efforts.
Some tests succeed, and some fail, so it is necessary to analyze the causes of failures to solve problems before they even occur.
8. Keeping Focus on User-Interface Testing, Only
No matter what you are selling, it will constantly be changing and evolving with new features incrementally. Some of these features may also require changes to the user interface.
The UI is the only way the user interacts with the website/web application, but the product is more than what the user sees or interacts with! Several other operations might be happening simultaneously when the user clicks on a particular button, and it is crucial to test all those scenarios.
Changes in test code cause costs, and the problems increase if there are changes in the user interface. It is better to opt for web testing on headless browsers when intending to test your product’s internal functionalities. These browsers have no GUI and are used for product development and testing that involve parallel execution. You need to create both GUI tests and functional tests to test your app correctly.
Lack of cooperation and understanding between stakeholders of a web product, for example, the planning team, the development team, and the testing team can hinder the timely release of a web product. As such, it is crucial to keep all the project stakeholders up to date on the overall development progress.
9. Lack of Domain Expertise
No matter what test automation tool you use, the team will require some programming knowledge. The majority of the test automation tools use popular test automation frameworks like Cucumber, Selenium, Robot, etc.
The best choice of test framework will provide your team with the best results in Automation. It’s important that our team and you should be aware of the benefits and limitations of each testing framework.
10. Improper Management Leading to Lack of Visibility for Test Automation
If automated tests are not built with management in mind, then there is a big chance that they will be overlooked. It leads to projects being moved forward before automated tests are ready or even in place. It ultimately leads to teams making decisions on inadequate data and produces sub-par results.
If your goal is to promote test automation within your company, management must become involved at an early project planning stage. It stays engaged throughout all stages of development.
The more visibility management has, the better equipped they will be to make sound decisions regarding automation practices and procedures. It’s been found repeatedly that test automation always pays off; however, it often takes a while for organizations to see these returns because they don’t implement it correctly right out of the gate.
11. Inadequate Infrastructure
It can be considered one of the significant factors in the success or failure of automation testing. Whether you’re creating web products for consumers or businesses, you’re still interacting with web browsers.
While working with a product before you launch it to the public, you may start off using a manual testing approach that comes with many limitations. Manual testing may not challenge your infrastructure to attain an appropriate test coverage, as there may be limited tests that may not apply well to this strategy.
While your team may verify against only limited combinations of web browsers, operating systems, and devices, take the case of cross-browser testing, for example. While you can technically test on the browsers installed on your machine or the network, you are limited in what you can try as different browsers.
Their many different versions can’t be detected and accounted for. It will be a different story when you turn to automation testing or automated cross-browser testing. With manual testing, a testing team can execute a handful of tests in a day if the tester is there to run them since neither they nor the testing infrastructure is entirely challenging or used to the fullest.
12. Test Automation In Silos
The key reason for automation testing failure is that the test teams work in silos and have no communication with the other teams on the project.
Many organizations still prefer the traditional Water-Flow approach. Still, for Product Development and Testing, it’s essential to keep in mind Automation Tests should be considered a part of the Development Process.
Automation tests are carried out during development, which often leads to testing bugs in a more sophisticated form that should have been discovered during the beginning stages of product development. This phenomenon usually leads to unaddressed functional, non-functional, performance, and other types of bugs that might significantly detriment the product’s overall functionality.
Neglecting to test for issues will delay product release and can be detrimental to your company. More testing is required. The key to successful test automation is often trying.
13. Not Having A Plan For Automation
Many things could go wrong when automating your tests, and it’s hard to stay on top. If you don’t have a plan for automating your tests, you’re pretty much guaranteed to test automation failure.
The first step is to make sure you know what needs to be automated before doing so. The second step is making sure that everyone who needs to work with those tests knows what they should do in case something goes wrong.
The third step is making sure that everyone understands why Automation isn’t always perfect and sometimes fails (and knowing how to fix those failures). These three steps can help ensure that you’ll be able to handle any problems with Automation in a way that doesn’t impact your ability to deliver value from automated testing.
14. Not Having Independent Tests
Not having independent tests is one of the Significant reasons why test automation fails. Good test automation allows you to run your tests independently from each other, allowing you to identify which ones are not working correctly quickly. If your automated tests are tied together, it’s time-consuming and difficult to pinpoint why they aren’t working correctly. Several different things can cause a lack of independence.
For example, you might have poorly written code that interferes with other tests, or maybe test cases share common elements that cause conflicts with each other. The best way to get around these issues is by isolating your tests from one another as much as possible; for example, putting them in their folders to be easily identified and executed independently from each other.
15. No Design Pattern
Automated testing is not an easy task; for testers to write automated tests that can run on various browsers and platforms, they must first have deep knowledge about these technologies.
If a tester has no fundamental understanding of automated testing practices, then there is no way they can build solid and stable code. Skipping a design pattern will lead to low-quality test automation code and, ultimately, failure of delivery deadlines.
Although high-quality tests are essential to achieving high levels of software quality, they don’t automatically appear out of thin air – testers need to plan them carefully beforehand to stay maintainable throughout the entire project life cycle to avoid failures of test automation.
16. Not Scaling Automation Undertakings
It’s not uncommon for teams to start automating but then find they haven’t scaled their efforts fast enough. They can only automate some of their tests, or maybe they’re only able to automate a subset of them. The easy method to avoid those issues is by automating more at once or planning for future growth.
The latter seems more in line with agile and continuous delivery: continuously adding features and functionality.
17. A Lack of Transparency
Automated tests are supposed to reduce problems caused by human error and inconsistencies. But if you can’t see what’s happening in them, they aren’t doing their job. Whether you’re coding your tests or letting a testing tool do it for you, adding logs and debugging information is just as important as ensuring your automated test runs successfully.
And if things go wrong, knowing what happened will help your business find ways to make it right again. If there isn’t enough transparency in your test automation process, finding out why may be a lot harder than it needs to be.
18. Misunderstanding (and Miscommunicating) the Value of Automated Testing
A lack of understanding can lead to unrealistic expectations, poor planning, and failure. Misunderstanding automated testing is also one of the most common reasons organizations don’t invest in Automation.
If you take away one thing from this post, let it be that test automation should complement (not replace) manual testing—and that investment into test automation is an investment into long-term improvements and increased quality.