How to Accelerate Your Test Execution

Development teams are constantly feeling the pressure to deliver software faster without compromising quality. With the growing popularity of agile methods, it’s becoming easier to balance the two.

It’s vital, however, to identify and address key problem areas that impede progress and slow down processes.

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Incorporating the right automation test platforms and leveraging parallel testing techniques can alleviate bottlenecks by cutting test execution times in half as well as enable teams to fix bugs as quickly as they’re found.

Automated testing

Much of software testing includes dead time waiting for a build or upgrade. This is where automated testing excels.

This method uses special software tools and solutions to augment and control the execution of expected test results. This is done with little to no intervention from the QA engineer  – eliminating unskilled, repetitive, and redundant tasks.

Even during regression testing – heavily reliant on classic “click-click-inspect” actions – automatic testing can save upwards of 15 percent of a tester’s time.

Techniques to speed up testing

For all its many advantages, automated testing still requires a certain level of proficiency to write scripts as well as data file maintenance. And even veteran QA experts can fall victim of making mistakes and skipping over essential steps.

By refining your ongoing automation strategy and adjusting your current processes, faster testing is easily attainable.

Don’t automate everything

Reduce regression rates

As mentioned earlier, regression tests can – and should – be automated. Programmer expectations can be vastly different than the customers, so make sure to check unit tests and their expected results. These service test will cut down on the communication barriers between testers and creators and create a more thorough interface check.

Find and remove flakey tests

Naive automation

Not only is knowing what to automate, but development teams must also know how far to do so. Automating code that never breaks but often changes creates high-maintenance efforts and slows down QA.

Instead of relying on automation as the savior of testing, you should implement regression test checks to see if anything is actually broken and use manual testing for risks.

Parallel testing

Testing efforts often lag behind due to scalability issues because of the time it takes to create them and maintain them. As more and more companies incorporate automated test processes, they also need to run manual tests in parallel to provide faster feedback.

By concurrently verifying compatibility of newly developed functions against old ones, parallel testing saves time, increases coverage, and speeds up tests. This means no additional effort is required once the appropriate test scripts have been developed.

Techniques to speed up testing

In order to write tests that work well in parallel there are some simple guidelines to follow.

Clear and concise

As with any project, clear planning is a pivotal element. As such, make sure the scope of each test is concise and understood. Explain needs such as whether tests are for a single feature or multiple, as well as how to track necessary code changes and comprehensive results.

Exploratory testing

While you can automate explicit expectations, teams can never anticipate all scenarios. Therefore, it’s essential to include investigative, exploratory testing to uncover more information about how the software actually works. Run these tests alongside the automated assertions you expect the software to respond.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Just as in automated testing, frameworks already exist. Instead of spending valuable time creating scripts and tests for each execution, reuse the processes that you have either already created or find one online that fits your needs.

How to pinpoint problem areas

Today, software projects are more complex than ever before and a proper organization culture is essential for success. Standardized project management processes can alleviate some of the stress and confusion.

Communication is key

Your team is your most important tool. In order to keep them effective and efficient, communicating with them will help everyone stay on the same page with regards to documenting and reporting. You also need to keep them abreast of what’s new, what’s needed, and what’s fixed.

Organized files

Any team working concurrently on a project can you tell that one of their biggest complaints is a messy organization folder. Test files should be named appropriately and all tests within it should have a clear and informative name.

Quality throughout

Thought quality is part of their job description, to place the responsibility of quality solely on the QA team devalues the development process. Software teams involve a number of stakeholders – developers, testers, designers – and they all play a role in the quality of the final product.

A solid test strategy

An effective testing strategy includes everything from automated, manual, exploratory, and parallel testing to efficiently reduce risk and tighten release cycles. A healthy strategy requires tests at all levels of the technology stack to ensure each part, as well as the system as a whole, works correctly.

Testing takes time

Testing is time-consuming, yet this valuable resource is often constrained. While we all want to deliver software faster, some corners simply can’t be cut. Quality is one of them. Understand that parameters such as product maturity and test execution take time. Knowing this and planning for it only helps your team in the long run.

Getting started

Accelerating time to market is a standard requirement for all organizations. The correct testing methods and processes can really speed up product deployment while assuring quality.

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