Automated testing has become increasingly desirable for fast-paced agile development teams looking to shave time off their delivery cycles. In mobile, it is extremely valuable for performing repetitive tests quickly and on multiple devices at the same time. Unfortunately, because of the relative newness of mobile test automation, many teams struggle to incorporate it into their process in a way that provides value to the whole team.
Here are four tips for increasing the value of your mobile test automation:
1. Plan your strategy
Just like any good development team, take the time to plan your approach before writing code. Include members of the development team when creating your test architecture to ensure you’re developing a more future-proof test framework that will work optimally with the application codebase. Creating automation-specific user stories that can be tracked along with the rest of the sprint backlog are a good way to make sure your strategy becomes reality.
2. Review with peers
In cases where the SDET ends up developing the test code in the same language as the application, implement code reviews with the development team to take advantage of their deep knowledge of the application. However, if your framework uses a different coding language than the mobile application this may not be possible. In this case, you should still have code reviews with other SDETs on the team when available. Submitting to a code review process does take a little time, but it should save you much more time overall by ensuring your tests are stable and require less rework later on.
3. Track defects
Utilize the team’s defect tracking system to log and track defects found by your automation. Often, defects found by automated tests are handled separately from defects found by the manual QA team. Using the same system to track both makes sure your defects receive the appropriate amount of attention by getting them triaged along with the manual defects. When those defects are blocking you from running your automation, it’s important to make sure they get visibility quickly so they can be resolved and you can be up and running again.
4. Share results
Make sure your automated test results are being reported in an easily consumable format to the wider team. There can be a tendency to want to hold on to the results in case the tests themselves aren’t working, but you should avoid that urge at all costs. Reporting your results to the wider team is the best way to highlight the tremendous value your automation brings to the team. Use a format that shows both passes and failures so the team sees everything your automation has been able to verify as working, not just the failures. In your reports, identify failures that are attributed to tests that aren’t working as well. This is going to happen on an agile project frequently, so acknowledging when tests break should help highlight the constant work you do to keep automation running smoothly.
The end goal is transparency. Providing this level of visibility into your automation should increase the quality of your test code and ensure your test results are contributing the maximum amount of value to the rest of the team. Utilizing these four tips will not only increase the efficiency of your agile development team, but should also lead to tangible increases in the stability of your mobile application.
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