Dev teams are stacked against an incredibly high bar of software quality, consistent end-UX, and tight release windows. While manual testing remains a cornerstone of quality, leveraging test automation enables enterprises to scale testing and meet demands for coverage and capacity. Low-code test automation provides a great place to start; it circumvents current challenges in talent pools, increases coverage, and iterates quickly. 

Editor’s note: The following has been edited for clarity and brevity.

How can I identify where to use low code automation?

Sawyer: The best automation solutions come from a robust regression suite, so I always advise my clients to start with building that out. Try it out, and understand the core flows. Then, identify where the challenges or weaknesses are in your current product. Look at your metrics and understand those core or most repeated flows. Those become your first candidates for automation. 

After that? If you’ve got ten bodies taking eight hours a day, or a single body taking two weeks to deliver a regression suite, you’ve probably got a prime automation candidate. Do you need to run multiple permutations of the same test? That can be simpler when handled by automation. And, if you need to execute the same test on multiple systems, devices, O/S, or browsers, you can harness a parallel effort of QA power with manual and automated. 

Paul: Sometimes it will make sense to automate, and sometimes it won’t. When we find ourselves with this new functionality and want to make sure that it’s tested to the best of our ability, what questions should we be asking to help us determine what are the best next steps forward?

  • Does it require more than one tool to automate?
  • Does it cross multiple systems? I fill out a form on my phone and then go to a desktop later. Or maybe I need to validate that someone’s received the results of that form on a computer. Crossing multiple systems can sometimes make it hard to automate because you need tooling to handle those cross systems.
  • Do I have control over test data? This is a huge one. Automation is typically very deterministic; it’s going through the same steps and expects certain things to be certain weights. But if your data is more dynamic and harder to control, then a computer may not know what to look for.
  • How complex is the functionality? Forms are moderately static, so that might be a great thing to leverage low code test automation for. But if (depending on how you answer that form) it shows 37 different potential following pages, that’s a lot of complexity. Then, having someone go in and manually test might make sense. 
  • Will the functionality change soon? Or often? As a quality engineer, I find myself thinking about this over and over and over again. Are there parts of it that are always going to be the same? I can automate those parts and manually verify the other details. It probably doesn’t make sense to create a full regression suite for that new functionality when you’re still working on it.

Hype aside, what are the real benefits of implementing low-code test automation?

So why not high-code automated tests like Damon did?

Paul: With low code test automation, you’re taking away a lot of that technical aspect and opening it up to more individuals, allowing you more test coverage when more people can create tests. And it takes less understanding of like a framework to create the tests themselves, which can make things easier and faster so you can add more coverage. 

But, nothing at the end of the day will beat when you have manual testing that can go in and cover functionality that’s too complex or time-consuming to automate while also having initial automation coverage.

What are other challenges facing those who want to implement low code test automation?  

Many people have stepped away from automation because they haven’t had the right resources or put enough effort into standing up their solution, and therefore it’s failed. Process and governance, with the process being the tools and governance being the people, are a harmonious synergy that works together to produce the best automation offering you can get.

Where do you still need manual QA staff while implementing automation?

Manual testers investigate common issues like: Can I use my QR codes? Get into a stadium to find my seat? Does the app allow me to order concessions? And if not, what’s that feedback? Feedback is experienced reviews and sentiment. Sentiment ties into your app store reviews, and the ratings that your company gets, all of that is the outcome of quality. So you know, this is where we frame that quality, from a manual perspective, sitting around that core discipline of your automated flow from dev through to production.

Kassidy Kelley serves as the Managing Editor for Testlio and works from her home base in Boston, MA.