Manual tests slow down your team and limit test coverage, but implementing UI test automation can sometimes seem daunting. After all, you have a massive application with numerous moving parts, and UI tests are notoriously flaky. So, how can you improve quality and streamline your UI testing efforts?
In this article, you’ll learn the difference between test automation and test management, and how integrating the two can unlock a more comprehensive approach to quality.
Test Automation vs. Test Management
Test automation and test management represent two sides of the same coin concerning software tests.
Test automation uses a test automation tool to execute predefined test cases, enabling an efficient evaluation of a software application’s functionality. By automating repetitive tasks, test automation reduces manual testing efforts and accelerates the software development lifecycle.
On the other hand, test management encompasses the planning, organization, execution, monitoring, and reporting for the whole testing process. For instance, it may involve defining test plans, designing test cases, and tracking test results to ensure software applications meet specific requirements and quality standards.
In short, test automation focuses on the efficient creation and execution of test cases, while test management deals with the overall coordination and organization of software testing activities.
Combining Automation & Management
Most software tests aim to improve visibility, which enables QA teams to make better-informed decisions and spot potential issues and bottlenecks earlier in the development cycle.
Test automation and test management complement each other and address different aspects of the testing process. By combining the two, you can maximize the benefits of each approach to build a more efficient, comprehensive, and effective testing strategy.
Test management starts by introducing a structured approach to the planning, organization, execution, and monitoring of the entire testing process. In addition, it provides a centralized platform to manage and track testing activities, giving teams in-depth reports detailing the applications’ quality and the effectiveness of their testing efforts.
By adding test automation, teams can leverage the efficiency and precision of automated tests while maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the overall process. As a result, it’s much easier to increase test coverage, reduce manual testing costs, and more frequently validate functionality in CI/CD.
Combining these two approaches offers considerable benefits:
- Higher quality – Your team can improve test coverage, detect and correct more bugs, and achieve better visibility by combining automation with a centralized source for test reports.
- Better efficiency – Your team can leverage a centralized repository of reusable functional tests, making it easier to maintain consistency across tests and speed up testing time.
- Faster releases – Your team can eliminate testing bottlenecks, integrate with CI/CD tools to streamline deployment efforts, and make faster, data-driven go/no-go decisions.
In short, test management helps unlock many benefits of test automation that teams wouldn’t necessarily realize with test automation tools alone.
Implementing test automation and test management solutions poses several challenges – even for the most capable teams.
Your first challenge is overcoming resistance to change. Adopting new testing approaches and technologies takes work. Team members may be comfortable with existing manual testing methods, and stakeholders may hesitate to invest in a significant change. You can mitigate some of these concerns by making a measured transition.
Testers also must generate and manage large volumes of test data, and create and maintain multiple test environments when implementing these solutions. These tasks can prove challenging and time-consuming, especially when working with complex or rapidly changing applications. So, proper planning and robust test management are essential.
And finally, test automation and test management solutions require a certain level of technical expertise within the team. For example, team members may need to familiarize themselves with scripting languages, tools, and best practices to create, maintain, and execute automated tests.
How SmartBear Can Help
SmartBear offers a holistic suite of solutions to support developers and testers across the software development lifecycle. Among the solutions is TestComplete, a UI test automation solution, and Zephyr Enterprise, a robust test management solution. Working together, these tools can help solve many of these challenges and realize the benefits of test automation.
Test Management with Zephyr Enterprise
Zephyr Enterprise brings test cases and plans, user requirements, and reports under one roof. As a result, it’s easier for teams to deliver software faster with fewer bugs through better insights, more flexibility, and greater visibility. Meanwhile, a real-time Jira integration and broad support for automation frameworks means it works out of the box with the tools you already use.
Get real-time test status from within Jira to empower QA teams.
Unlike other test management solutions, Zephyr Enterprise supports a wide range of software testing teams. For instance, teams can plan manual test cases and run automated test cases from the same platform. And there’s even an HP ALM adapter for organizations wanting to move toward an Agile workflow while still supporting waterfall teams.
Test Automation with TestComplete
TestComplete makes it easy to automate functional UI tests across mobile, desktop, and web applications to maximize test coverage. Rather than relying on flaky test scripts, the tool leverages an AI-powered object recognition engine to identify dynamic UI elements accurately, ensuring tests run properly.
Dynamic object recognition enables more robust UI tests.
In addition, TestComplete provides a record-and-replay feature, enabling anyone to create and execute automated UI tests without technical knowledge. That way, organizations can start building automated UI tests and improving test coverage without retraining employees or hiring new team members.
Finally, TestComplete offers integrations to simplify logistics. For example, a BitBar integration enables you to scale web and mobile testing to a device cloud, providing more test coverage. And it’s easy to integrate with Jenkins, Azure DevOps, source control, or other tools involved in your CI/CD processes.
The Bottom Line
Combining test automation and test management offers a more robust and comprehensive approach to quality. While it may seem daunting to implement these solutions, Zephyr Enterprise and TestComplete integrate seamlessly to simplify test automation and test management. By integrating with your existing tools and enabling non-technical testers to start contributing immediately, it’s easier to get started on the right foot and ensure your applications deliver an optimal user experience.
Start your free trials today, or schedule a demo to learn more.