How to Make Test Automation Effective in an Agile Environment

How to Make Test Automation Effective in an Agile Environment

We’re living in a world where businesses must keep up with the latest software development technologies. If you don’t, you won’t survive. Agile methodologies can help keep you up to date with the trends, especially when it comes to automation and testing. 

Nowadays testing needs to happen faster than development. Faster testing means you need to have faster and more advanced testing methods. An agile approach will not work with slow testing methods. 

Enter: automation testing. 

This article discusses how to make test automation effective in an agile environment, including five clear steps for how your process can become easier. We’ll conclude with Bunnyshell’s Environment as a Service solution. 

How to Make Test Automation Effective in an Agile Environment

Testing is an integral part of the tech world. Meanwhile, there is an ever-growing demand for automation. Teams started adopting automation testing for agile development as an alternative to manual testing, which resulted in decreased product quality because of the additional time teams spent on testing new features. Agile approaches have faster time-to-market and better product quality, two essential aspects for you and your customers. 

And although automation helps with automating repetitive, critical, and lengthy test processes, you must have a workable strategy in place. A well-thought-out strategy will help you respond faster to new opportunities and changing market trends, giving you a competitive edge. To get started on a strategy, let’s first understand which test cases can be automated:

- The test cases which are repeated daily

- The mundane technical tasks that become difficult to perform manually

- The critical scenarios where risk must be mitigated. 

Below is a list of steps you can take to focus on these processes and make test automation effective in an agile environment.

Select the Right Automation Tool

An excellent first step is selecting the correct automation tool for your team and business. To do this, you must spend ample time evaluating the capabilities of the tool. For a successful test automation program, the tool must meet certain basic criteria for features and usability. Regardless of the testing environment, some ideal features any tool should have are:

  • Capabilities of meeting end-to-end testing requirements
  • Easy-to-understand UI, functionality, and navigation (needs to be user-friendly for optimal testing automation)
  • Cross-functional tools like bug tracking, test management, CI
  • Should be robust so testers can respond quickly to the test results
  • Affordable pricing, to be within the company budget, with features that match the price.

Implement an Automated Testing Technique

Once you have taken a look at a few tools and decided on the best one for you, it’s time to implement it. Since testing needs to be faster, implementing an automated testing technique is the best way to make your CI/CD pipeline handle the situation more efficiently.

Agile development incorporates Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Deployment (CD), and Continuous Development. CD is possible only if the product is continuously tested too. There are several tools available for automating a testing process:

- Bunnyshell

- Selenium

- Appium

- Cucumber

These tools require you to have an already developed test case for the needs of the particular app or software which will be tested. You can then run the test multiple times while you’re performing continuous builds. This ensures that every step is bug-free. If you do find a bug, it’ll be easy to pinpoint its location. Due to frequent builds, code changes are common, so these tools also help with cracked code issues.

Conduct Parallel Testing

Since agile development focuses on continuous releases in several iterations, this can cause the test automation team not to fulfill their requirements. It becomes difficult for teams to identify, fix, and test each iteration, especially when more sprints require fixing. 

Start by allocating the proper time for testing and then start conducting test automation in parallel to development cycles so you can avoid lag. In turn, the team will also become more productive and respond more quickly to the given requirements, ultimately avoiding any last-minute rushes. We already know that rushes can lead to lower product quality and not only. 

Adopt DevOps

We know from our DevOps vs. Agile article that these two approaches work best together to achieve more reliable results and greater efficiency. The concepts of building, testing, and releasing quality software at faster speeds are the main focuses of both DevOps and agile. They both focus on good communication and collaboration, as sharing updates regarding the development process is vital (and because teams vary in size and skill sets). Both approaches also make use of automation. For DevOps, automation is at its core, while for agile, automation helps free up human resources so the team can dedicate more time to research testing. 

Optimizing test automation is an incredible method to achieve faster releases. With automated testing, it becomes possible to allocate limited resources to more costly processes. Automation also reduces the time spent on test executions, while increasing the number of test cycles in a more limited amount of time. This means that fewer resources are being used, making changes cost-effective and dramatically improving time-to-market.  

Use Environment as a Service

Since software development (and infrastructure) changes are costly, it’s critical to know when to test changes and how costs will be distributed. Thanks to automation, multiple test environments can be run simultaneously to increase efficiency (an otherwise time-consuming task), all while keeping costs low and with less internal development time. Environment as a Service (EaaS), driven entirely by automation and self-service, uses multiple test environments to increase the efficiency of automation

This means that multiple developers or teams of developers can be working on these test environments for various feature branches before pushing their builds to the staging environment. With an EaaS, teams only use the resources they need, scale when they need to, reduce rework, and work hand in hand with the CI/CD pipeline so products can reach production as efficiently and quickly as possible. Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment are the two critical factors you need to rely on to see how fast you can use the work your team completed. 

Read more about how to get your product released faster without sacrificing quality in our What Is Development Velocity article.   

Go Wild - Use EaaS to Run Multiple Test Environments Simultaneously

It’s necessary to test processes and software to achieve quality. EaaS allows you to run multiple test environments simultaneously, supporting faster innovation, efficiency, and time-to-market. This has benefits for your team, your costs, your product quality, and not only. See more benefits to using EaaS here. 

Bunnyshell offers you the perfect Environment as a Service solution, making automation testing and solutions attainable, all while your team is able to collaborate on multiple environments. Automate your testing now, and don’t worry about long release cycles ever again. 

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