Choosing the right automation testing tool could be a tough job. At times, choosing the wrong tool could lead to results which are unexpected and unforeseen, besides there being significant technical difficulties in making the tool work in your environment. Situations like these will, at best, set back your test automation efforts and may also sabotage them for some time. This article provides some tips on selecting the right automation tool for your business.
Where to Start?
When contemplating the acquisition of test tools, automation tools for test execution should not be the first and only choice. The area in which tool support may be advantageous strongly depends on the respective project environment and the maturity level of the development and test process. For instance, test execution automation is not a very good idea in a chaotic project environment, where ‘programming on the fly’ is common practice, the documentation does not exist or is inconsistent and tests are performed in an unstructured way. In those situations, manual testing must first be organized.
Next, thought can be given to the questions such as which process steps can be supported by tools, what can be done to enhance the productivity or quality by using tools?
Selection of Tools
After a decision is made about which test task a tool shall support, the actual selection (and evaluation) of the tool starts. The selection process consists of the following five steps:
- Requirements specification for the tool– For the first step, the following criteria may be relevant:
- Quality of interaction with the potential test objects
- Tester know-how regarding the tool or method
- A possibility of integration into the existing development environment
- A possibility of integration with other already used testing tools
- Platform for using the tool
- Possibilities for integration with tools from the same supplier
- Manufacturer’s service, reliability, and market position
- License conditions, price, maintenance costs
These and possible further individual criteria are compiled in a list and then weighted according to their relative importance.
- Market Research-Parallel to creating a catalogue of criteria, market research takes place: A list is created listing the available products of the tool category of interest. Product information is requested from suppliers or collected from the Internet. Based on these materials, the suppliers of the preferred candidates are invited to demonstrate their respective tools.
- Demonstration of tools- Demonstrations helps to gain a relatively reliable impression of the respective company and its service philosophy. Such demonstrations are a crucial step in identifying the best tool for your business.
- Evaluation of Tools on the short list- Primarily, the following points need to be verified at this stage-
- Does the tool work with the test objects and the development environment?
- Are the features and quality characteristics that caused the respective tool to be considered for final evaluation fulfilled in reality?
- Is the supplier’s support staff able to provide qualified information and help even with nonstandard questions (before and after purchase)?
- Review of Results and selection of tools- Finally, the tool is selected and introduced in the organization.
Introducing Automated Tools
Normally, the first step in the introduction of the software tool is to launch a pilot project (proof of concept). This should show that the expected benefits will be achieved in real projects. A pilot operation should deliver additional knowledge of the technical details of the tool as well as experiences with the practical use of the tool and experiences about its usage environment. It should thus become apparent whether and to what extent, there exists a need for training and where, if necessary, the test process should be changed. Furthermore, rules and conventions for general use should be developed. These may be either naming conventions for files and test cases or rules for structuring the tests, and so on. If test drivers or test robots are introduced, it can be determined during the pilot project if it is reasonable to build test libraries. This should facilitate reuse of certain tests and test modules outside the project.
Because the new tool will always generate an additional workload, in the beginning, the introduction of a tool requires a strong and ongoing commitment to the new users and stakeholders. Coaching and training measures are, therefore, important.
There are some important success factors during rollout:
- Introduce the tool stepwise.
- Integrate the tool’s support with the processes.
- Implement user training and continuous coaching.
- Make available rules and suggestions for applying the tool.
- Collect usage experiences and make them available to all users (hints, tricks, FAQs, etc.).
- Monitor tool acceptance and gather and evaluate cost-benefit data.
Thus, a successful testing tool introduction is based on following steps-
- Execute a pilot project.
- Evaluate the pilot project experiences.
- Adapt the processes and implement rules for usage.
- Train the users.
- Introduce the tool step-wise.
Thus, following the above steps could help in assuring users’ acceptance and hence the continued application of the automation tools in future.
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