7 Reasons Why Test Automation Fails

Get On Top of Your Automated Testing

Whenever someone recommends automating tests, they always speak of the many benefits it can bring: it’s quicker than manual testing, can cover a wider range of features, ensures consistency and reliability of results, saves time, and increases efficiency. But focusing on its advantages too much can generate too many expectations, leading you to think that the sole implementation of automation testing is enough to enjoy those benefits.

That’s far from the truth. Automation tests can frequently fail, especially if you don’t pay attention to some of the most common reasons why that happens. Want to know what they are? Here are the 7 most common reasons why test automation fails, according to BairesDev testing engineers.

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Expectations that are impossible to meet

A lot of people think of automation testing as some sort of magic testing technique. In their minds, all tests can be automated by the QA team and left to run on their own. Yet, as amazing as that would be, it’s impossible to do in reality. There are tests that necessarily require some manual human intervention to check aspects that a machine couldn’t possibly check (or that would take too long or cause avoidable errors).

User experience tests and smoke testings are undeniably manual in nature, which means that automating them feels truly unrealistic.

Indecision as to when is better to use automation

Given that you can’t possibly automate all tests, it will be necessary for you to define when automated testing is the most appropriate alternative and when you should choose a manual route. Unfortunately, a lot of people can’t truly tell the difference, which ends up in applying manual testing when automated tests would be a better choice – and vice versa. 

As a rule of thumb, automated testing is always better when you’re testing a stable element that requires countless repetitions of the same action. For instance, automating tests that check a software feature is a good choice but doing it to test rendering issues isn’t. 

Neglected reports

Automated tests (as all tests, to be honest) result in detailed reports about the process. Basically, this means you’ll get a comprehensive account of what took place during the automated test along with all of the findings. While it’s obvious that your engineers will act on the issues found on those tests, it’d be wiser to analyze those reports further to identify any potential issue that might be impacting the way in which you test. 

Reports coming from automated tests are easy to ignore, especially when they pass or when they fail by a seemingly minor thing. However, neglecting the reports implies you’re casting aside a piece of valuable feedback that can provide you with insights to improve not only the software at hand but also to enhance your testing practices as a whole. 

Application of the same automated tests to different projects

Developing automated tests can be a time-consuming task, which is why some teams like to recycle them across different projects. While that may be possible to a certain extent, the truth is that the level of automation you’ll use in each project will depend on the individual requirements. Believing that a single automation testing approach will work for everything is wrong and will lead to many failed tests.

Believe it or not, this is a fairly common issue, especially in companies that don’t have big budgets or in businesses that want to save time and money by reusing automated tests that have worked in the past. The take is simple – automated tests depend on each project, so they can’t be reused without a second thought. 

Tools that aren’t right for the projects

Automated testing has become essential for QA and testing teams everywhere, which explains why there are so many automation tools available in the market (both off-the-shelf solutions and custom testing tools). While that’s great news for testers, it also brings a challenge: picking the right tool for the project at hand. 

It’s fairly common that testing teams that lack the experience and expertise with automation solutions end up picking tools that aren’t a good fit for their goals and their project requirements. 

Non-existent parallel execution in the testing framework

Sometimes, automated tests can become extremely complex, taking numerous actions in each run. In addition, sophisticated software often requires a series of automated tests to cover the entire requirements. That leads to a large test queue in the test framework, something that can be efficiently tackled through parallel execution of tests.

Unfortunately, many teams don’t include parallel execution, mainly because of a lack of experience and expertise. Using it allows you to run different tests in different environments, making better use of the time and avoiding potential timeout issues that cause automated tests to fail. 

Lack of proper expertise

Finally, there’s a widespread belief that any engineer or tester can design automated tests for virtually any project. That’s never the case. Creating automated tests requires a specific set of skills that not necessarily all engineers have. 

Aside from the technical knowledge needed to devise, set up, and implement automated tests, engineers need to have excellent communication skills to keep managers and stakeholders from having the wrong expectations around their work.

Automation Testing, Done Right

Automating your tests is essential to improve your productivity and efficiency while enhancing the final quality of the products you develop. That’s why you should always aim to have automated tests in your testing framework. That doesn’t mean you have to adopt those tests blindly. 

There are several pitfalls you need to consider to ensure you’re getting the most out of your automation testing approach. To avoid them, you need a combination of experience, expertise, and the proper tools which can be tricky to pull off. Fortunately, you can always count on BairesDev testing services to help you out.

Our testing team can help you design, configure, and implement any level of automation your testing framework might need. Our testing engineers can ensure the proper integration of any automation tool to your testing environment and guarantee the best results, adding value from day one. If that’s what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate, contact our experts today. 

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