Why automated testing projects fail

This blog is intended for companies who have tried to setup automated testing, are currently struggling to setup automated testing or are trying to figure out how to go about it. I am going to tell you the simple truth that many companies and their employees are not going to want to hear.

So why is setting up an automated testing framework so hard and why do most companies fail? The biggest reason for the failure is that executive management and your QA group have not realized that the skill sets and tools required to do automated testing have changed and your QA team simply does not have the required skills and knowledge. On top of your QA group not having the required skills and knowledge, companies compound this by thinking that with little to no training their employees can develop these skills and knowledge. Then there are the many companies along with their recruiters who think they can simply go out and hire folks to do automated testing, wrong!!! These people do not exist, I will explain this in more detail.

A major issue that most companies, recruiting firms and employees wanting to get into automated testing do not understand, just because you learn a little about the Selenium/WebDriver API does not mean you can do automated testing. The figure below is an ATF Knowledge Pyramid that represents the skills required to work in automated testing, with the pyramid representing from bottom to top the skill/knowledge levels of importance. As you can see from the pyramid having Selenium skills is the least/smallest level of importance. This pyramid represents the problem in the automated testing market today, there are individuals who have done Selenium IDE record and play or maybe have learned to move these record and play scripts to an IDE and do some basic editing, but they do not know how to build a framework that can be maintained, scaled to a corporate level or build solid test scripts.

This example shows a very simple method using Selenium (WebDriver API), the bolded code is the WebDriver specific code, but the rest is a Java method. This highlights the problem, the Selenium (WebDriver API) code must be wrapped in a programming language to be used.

public String getTitleText() {
return getWebDriver().findElement(By.id(“main”)).getText();
}

atfskill

So what options do companies have to build an automated testing framework? The first option would be to try and go out and hire individuals with the required ATF knowledge, problem is that few of these people exist and the one’s that do will cost way beyond what you are probably expecting to pay. The second option is to require your existing staff to go out and learn these new skills, this presents an obvious problem of time. Most individuals are going to want to return to school to learn programming and this will take longer than the company can wait. The third option would be to hire a firm who builds ATF’s and can provide training. The last option is to simply outsource your automated testing to a firm that provides automated testing.

Posted in best practices, testing, Uncategorized

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