Automated Testing is Not for Everyone, But It Should Be
It is a widely accepted notion that collaboration benefits an organization. Based on past research by MIT and Capgemini Consulting, collaborative learning, coupled with an engaged and empowered workforce, offers significant potential. In fact, organizations that exhibited the ability to collaborate without regard to discipline, geography, status or other boundaries showed increased levels for adaptability and long-term resilience.  Despite this understanding and decades of teaching collaboration from preschool days to leadership trainings, teams often continue to work in silos and lack the motivation to join forces with others. As the tipping point for automated testing approaches, we also see a divide among testing communities: manual vs. automated testers and also seasoned vs. new age testers.
The Tester’s Role Redefined: Low Code, New Skills, and Co-creation
The role of the tester is changing, but that doesn't mean the tester should change. Today, most testers do not know scripting languages, and they haven’t had the need. Testers either follow pre-scripted manual steps or specialize in exploratory testing, which holds its own unique set of skills and responsibilities. However, there is a growing trend for automated testers in the marketplace that has created an impression that knowing scripting is required. This is a misconception. In fact, the new skills for testers are not focused on code at all, but on platforms that enable low code solutions, new skills such as agile methodology and cross browser/device testing, and end-to-end testing techniques for co-creation across the software development life cycle. Testers do not need to steer away from adopting automated testing because existing testing products are not what they used to be: they are easy to use.
The Bridge to Collaboration: Script and Scriptless Functionality
QA managers can take the first step to fostering collaboration among traditional and new age testers by providing one platform regardless of level of experience. For example, having both script and scriptless capabilities as a part of your automated testing environment is key to fostering a collaborative environment for any testing community. With scriptless functionality in your automated testing tool, test scripts can be written with simple keyword-driven or data-driven testing framework at any skill level. (Figure 1) The right tools provide the capability to convert keyword-driven test scripts to various scripting languages, allowing novice testers to lay the foundations for seasoned testers. (Figure 2) The right tools allow you to export your tests to also be managed and executed by exploratory testers. And the right tools capture both script and scriptless functionality to foster collaboration between business analysts, manual testers, and automated testers alike. With one platform for novice and seasoned testers, countless companies can reap rewards from cost efficiencies and better test coverage.
Figure 1: Keyword Scripts for Multiple Projects and Data-driven Testing from Any Data Source
Epiq Systems Increases Test Coverage and Business Collaboration with Keyword-Driven Testing
With the use of custom keyword-driven testing, Epiq Systems could take multiple months of forecasted manual testing down to 26 hours. Aside from a significant reduction in testing time, cost and time to market, business stakeholders are also able to control the regression workflow with Microsoft Excel themselves and refocus manual testing efforts on more mission critical components.
Media and Entertainment Company Leverages Scriptless Automation to Keep Apace its Highly Agile Environment
In a highly dynamic and agile environment, an Australian-based company was struggling to keep up with quality and testing turnaround time due to low test coverage and manpower. Scriptless functionality allowed for a 66 percent reduction in test design efforts and 87 percent reduction in maintenance efforts.
How to Be Prepared for Automated Testing’s Tipping Point
According to the World Quality Report 2017-18 by Capgemini and Sogeti, the average level of automated testing activities is approximately 16 percent. It is clear that at an enterprise level, automation remains a huge challenge to an organization’s transformation. Increasing collaboration between manual vs. automated testers and also, seasoned vs. new age testers will bring ease to the transition to automated testing. QA managers can adapt their organization to the changing landscape with three very simple fundamental changes:
- Empowering your organization with the right tools: Whether it is Google Drive to promote real-time co-creation or Slack to promote company-wide transparency, collaboration is in. Providing access to the right tools is only the first step to set your team up for success. Allowing your testers to be able to access both scripting and scriptless functionality as well as a way to convert your scriptless tests to script are key capabilities for an automated testing tool that fosters co-creation between a novice and seasoned workforce. (Figure 2)
Figure 2: Converting Keywords Tests to Script
- Encouraging collaboration among novice and seasoned testers: Gains are rarely recognized without explaining benefits to stakeholders. Advocate for collaboration by showing how testers can improve their day-to-day interaction with their peers and how both can benefit with the flexibility of scriptless and script functionality.
- Keeping automation at the forefront of design and test: Returns can be more readily realized with widespread adoption for automated testing. The right tools and an empowered workforce married with an automated testing tool can have boundless potential. By keeping automation at the forefront of design and test, a company can not only use simple, scriptless functionality for test coverage, but also continuous testing and keep business stakeholders engaged.
QA managers can take organizational best practices to adapt its own team's responsibilities to foster collaboration and collaborative learning. And the tools we have today in the market can accelerate the mindset shift toward collaboration at all levels.
 Organizing for Digital: Why Digital Dexterity Matters, Capgemini, 2015.
 Epiq Systems Increases Testing Coverage with TestComplete, SmartBear.
 Transforming Test Automation: An Unconventional Approach to Shift-Left by Removing Scripting from the Equation, Cognizant.
 World Quality Report, Capgemini and Sogeti, 2017.
By Akshita Puram
Product Marketing Manager