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4 Steps to Select the Right Test Automation tool for your Project

Pubblicato da Il 18 Febbraio 2021 in Blog

Nowadays, test automation has become an essential element in any software development process, from traditional to agile. In fact, test automation tools and frameworks are crucial for the success of a testing project.

However, it is difficult to select the test automation tool(s) that best fits into a software project or organization. The IT market has plenty of automation tools and not every tool suits every user’s testing needs. In fact, it is important to closely examine his/her project specifics and organizational needs to choose the right tool.

Selecting the right tool is critical as it will greatly affect the whole automation effort. If the tool is good and provides the required capabilities, the automation becomes faster, easier and effective. Likewise, the investment will probably be a failure if the tool doesn’t fit the needs.

Furthermore, it is worth remembering that choosing a suitable automation tool takes a lot of time, but this is a one-time activity that will benefit in the long term.

This guide will provide you with a simple 4-steps to follow that will help you choose the right automation tool:

Step 1: List requirements
Step 2: Evaluate tools and vendors
Step 3: Verify your choice
Step 4: Make the final decision

In simple words,

1. Understand what you need
2. Analyze and compare candidates
3. Try the most promising tool(s)
4. Review and decide

STEP1: List requirements

First, you must understand what you are looking for. To do this, get a deep understanding of your project requirements and constraints (current and future) together with your organizational needs if you are looking for a common tool for all projects in your company.

It is necessary to answer all these questions:

a. What to automate? & What not to automate?
b. How to automate?
c. In what timeframe?
d. Who will do the automated tests?

The decisions on who, what and when to automate is important since it will help make a better decision when selecting the right tool. Wrong decisions can lead to a waste of precious money and time (including resources and efforts).

Once you have a clear picture of your needs, you can define a set of criteria for which every interested tool is checked.

Here is a short entry list of criteria:

Criteria

Description

 

License costs

 

Purchasing and licensing cost of the tool.

 

Technical support & assistance

 

This includes training, documentation, tutorials, guidelines…

 

Learning time

 

Time and cost to train the resources.

 

Support for Web, Desktop & Mobile applications

Leveraging different tools for different platforms is a complicated task to handle. It is better to select a tool that supports all platforms.

Object recognition

How the GUI objects to test are identified by the automation tool. Via GUI Maps or Object Repositories? Through Images? Automatically?

Support for Keyword & Data-Driven Testing

 

   

A Keyword-driven framework has all testing operations and instructions specified by keywords, written in an external (Excel, CSV) file.
Data-driven tests read data from data storages, for example, from a (Excel, CSV, XML) file or database, rather than use hard-coded values.

Language support (Java, C# and other)

 

    

In some cases, the tester must write the code…You should consider your skills of programming language which will be used in your automation project. You should also consider your software development house’s programming language. In this way, you will get help from developers…

Intuitive test reports

Test reports need to be simple, yet useful for the management.

  

Cross-Browser & cross-devices (mobile) testing

 

Cross-browser testing is the practice of making sure that the web sites and web apps you create work across an acceptable number of web browsers.

Cross-device testing checks the software under testing across several mobile devices.

 

CI, DevOps support

 

Support to integrate with Continuous Integration tools for automated builds and deployments.

Level of programming skills required

The minimum level of programming knowledge you should have to write automated tests.

Level of skills and experience required

The minimum testing capabilities you need to automate tests.

Add your own project or organizational requirements to this list.

Remember that the top issues in this market are:
1. commercial tools are too expensive
2. lack of support
3. too much experience and expertise needed
4. strong programming skills required
5. difficult to integrate with other tools

STEP2: Evaluate tools and vendors

After baselining the requirements/criteria, you must analyze the commercial and open-source tools that are available in the market that match your requirements.

You can start your market analysis from tools you or other project members have previously had experience with, plus tools recommended in newsgroups, testing forums, conferences, Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_GUI_testing_tools) and other sources.

This stage typically produces a list of 20-30 products. In step two, narrow your list down to 3-5 tools by concentrating on your ‘must-have’ and key criteria.

Fill a tool comparison matrix to make an informed decision based on your needs.

STEP3: Verify your choice

When you have a preliminary winner among the automated test frameworks, evaluate the quality of that tool by taking a trial usage and launching a pilot. Every tool vendor provides an evaluation period.

In case you still have some doubts about the tool, or if you need to try it in your current working environment, it is recommended to arrange a Proof of Concept (POC).

A POC provides you with a clearer picture of the tool, but will also help you understand whether the right people are involved, or whether the testing goals are well placed, and so on and so forth. Moreover, it also facilitates identifying the possible risks even if you are not familiar with the new tool or technology.

During a trial or a POC:

1. Choose a few scenarios
2. Automate the chosen scenarios
3. Analyze the results

Now you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

STEP4: Make the final decision

The next step is making the decision and choosing the tool with the greatest potential for your organization.

The final evaluation will require having detailed knowledge of the subject: it means you must understand which are the strengths and the weaknesses of the tool, and the (balance of) costs and benefits.

If you have done everything properly then the best candidate is the one with the top marks you calculated, and you’ll see why.

Finally, prepare a presentation deck to communicate the results of the selection process to all stakeholders and decision-makers.

Now there is nothing left to do other than signing the contract.

Conclusion

Automation testing success largely depends on the selection of the right testing tools. There’s a lot to consider when deciding on what testing tools to invest money in. Price, functionality, installation, training, and customer support are some of the key criteria to evaluate when you are deciding which direction to take. A vast array of factors play a role in the final selection: knowing exactly what you need and testing your top choices will make the decision a little easier.