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7 Test Automation Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Unfortunately, there are still major challenges in test automation that can cause significant issues while impacting app speed and quality. Here are seven of the most common automation testing challenges and how DevOps teams can work to overcome them.

1. Quality Engineering Talent Shortage

Techstrong Research Findings - Test Automation Challenges - Talent Shortage

From there, your QE team can focus on test automation development that optimizes and fully integrates existing manual processes and human testers with new automated resources.

2. Upfront Investment 

However, despite the high upfront costs, automated testing can bring significant benefits to organizations. It can lead to faster test execution, improved test coverage, and long-term cost savings in testing efforts. To maximize investments in test automation, many companies opt for open-source tools and frameworks with a strong community and support system. 

3. Finding the Right Testing Framework or Tool 

The same applies to open-source solutions. While they offer flexibility and can help drive down costs, standardizing and adapting them to handle specific testing requirements, integrate with other tools and systems, and support your workflows takes considerable time and expertise.

So, be sure to first conduct a thorough needs assessment. Then, perform research and compare your options regarding features, customizability, scalability, compatibility with your tech stack, community support, and cost. Take each for a test drive on smaller, non-critical projects. Once you’ve chosen the best fit, start small and scale gradually.

4. Script Writing, Implementation, and Maintenance

One of the most time-consuming parts of the test automation development process is developing the scripts and testing environment. Getting it right from the start is crucial since flaws in the writing, implementing, and maintaining scripts can degrade app quality and cause significant rework. It’s also expensive since you’re paying QE talent to manage the process. 

For one, as applications become more complex, they typically need more specific and detailed test script changes. Most low-code/no-code platforms aren’t built for this level of granularity—they can only offer limited customization options. For another, low-code/no-code users typically rely on the vendor to introduce new features or integrate support for emerging frameworks and technologies. This inevitably delays script maintenance. 

5. Bottlenecks Caused by Flaky Scripts

Automation provides an efficient way to test code, but as more tests are introduced, it can create bottlenecks in the system. The sheer volume of tests and testing types can sometimes be overwhelming, backing up the queue and slowing delivery. Test runs start to get delayed. Test results are late, flaky, or rushed. Then, when broken scripts or flaws are introduced into the testing environment, the problems only magnify. Engineers must be diverted to repair the testing environment, removing them from other duties and slowing the development cycle.

How to integrate automated scripts with manual testing

6. Maintaining Integrations Across a Diverse DevOps Toolchain

Too often, separate tools and platforms are operated in siloed environments, requiring additional work, such as adjusting file formats during handoffs. It also creates a need for more visibility between processes or team members; perhaps some are utilizing tools, and others are not. Yet, many DevOps teams accept that it’s the way things are and work around it — leading to repetitive, manual processes that can introduce human error when they could be automated.

Fused testing helps maximize attainable ROI on current & future investments in test automation tooling with an open and extensible architecture. An agnostic approach to DevOps integrations lowers switching costs and provides flexible tooling options for task management, test management, and test automation through partnerships and integrations.

7. Automated Tests Miss Human Issues

However, automated tests can only notice some of the apparent issues manual testers would see, specifically in usability, exploratory, and localization testing areas. 

  • Exploratory Testing: Software bugs are sneaky — they hide in the nooks and crannies of project requirements and user stories. Structured exploratory testing helps uncover issues missed by automated scripts.
  • Usability Testing: Usability revolves around the entire app-driven experience — requiring human testing on real devices and in real locations. Usability testing uncovers problem areas where the customer experience falters inside and outside the app.
  • Localization Testing: Users will pass up products whose graphical or UI elements are incompatible with their culture, language, or preferred devices. Localization testing matches your app with an expert network of global testers to ensure your app passes the “locals” test.

Shift Left – The Key to Successful Test Automation

Shift-left testing reduces costs by testing and solving problems earlier in the development cycle. Defects get repaired as they are found rather than waiting for the final testing cycle. Once this process works, it provides a continuous testing environment that reduces bugs and errors in the early stages, saving precious dev time.