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Test Automation Best Practices in 2024

Test automation has become essential to the software development life cycle (SDLC) in the fast-paced software development industry, providing faster and more efficient tests than manual testing.1

It has become increasingly important to have a well-designed and well-executed test automation strategy to ensure that the software product meets the desired quality standards. In this article, we will discuss some of the best practices for test automation that can help you achieve optimal results and maximize the value of your testing efforts.

13 test automation best practices

1- Define your objectives

The first step in test automation planning is to define your objectives. Determine what you want to achieve with your automated tests. Ask your QA team the following questions:

  • Are you seeking to reduce manual testing efforts in your software development process?
  • Do you want to increase test coverage across your application’s features and functionalities?
  • Are you aiming to improve the overall quality of your software through more efficient testing methods?

Defining your objectives will help you determine what types of tests you need to automate and how to prioritize them.

2- Choose the right test automation tool

Choosing the right test automation tool is the second step toward successful automation. Selecting a tool that fits the project’s specific needs and requirements is essential. The testing tool should preferably be:

  • Easy to use 
  • Scalable
  • Codeless (depending on your team’s knowledge of coding)
  • Provide good documentation and support.

You can check our article “Top 10 Test Automation Tools for 2023: Detailed Benchmarking” for an in-depth guide to test automation tools. 

Several Fortune 500 companies, including Nokia, Amazon, and BMW, rely on Testifi as a supplier of test automation solutions. Web & API testing capabilities are provided through their CAST solution, which includes tracking and a real-time performance dashboard.

See the demo below to understand how CAST works.

3- Define your test automation framework

A test automation framework is a set of guidelines, rules, and coding standards you follow when developing automated tests. Defining your test automation framework will help ensure your tests are reliable, maintainable, and scalable. Some of the popular automation testing frameworks include:

  • Page Object Model (POM)
  • Behavior Driven Development (BDD)
  • and Data Driven Testing (DDT)

Implementing these test automation frameworks will improve the quality and efficiency of the testing process. See Figure 1 for an illustration of test automation frameworks.

test automation best practices
test automation frameworks

Source: Headspin2

Figure 1: Test automation frameworks

4- Start with a small set of tests

It’s best to start with a small set of test cases and gradually increase the scope of automation. Starting with a small set of tests allows for better planning and implementation and helps identify potential issues before scaling up.

5- Maintain test data separately

Test data should be kept separate from the automation code. This makes maintaining and updating test data easier without affecting the automation scripts. It also helps to ensure the consistency of test data across different test runs.

6- Use test data management techniques

Test data management is creating, storing, and managing test data for your automated tests. Using test data management techniques is important to ensure your tests are accurate and repeatable; it will also promote data-driven tests. Some popular test data management techniques include

  • Data-driven testing
  • Random test data generation, 
  • Test data masking

See Figure 2 to understand why test data management is crucial.

test automation best practices

test data management

Source: Novature Tech3

Figure 2: Why is test data management crucial?

7- Implement version control

Version control systems like Git allow for tracking changes to automation scripts and help manage collaboration between team members. It also enables the restoration of earlier versions of automation scripts in case of issues.

8- Use descriptive names

Using descriptive naming conventions for test cases and automation scripts can make understanding and maintaining the code easier. This helps improve team members’ collaboration and reduces maintenance time.

9- Keep test cases simple

Test cases should be simple and easy to understand, with a clear purpose and expected outcome. This helps to avoid confusion and errors in test execution and results analysis.

Keeping test cases simple is essential for test automation because it improves your test suites:

  • Maintainability
  • Reusability
  • Reliability
  • Debugging, 
  • Scalability

Simple test cases are easier to maintain, modify, and reuse in different contexts. They are also less prone to errors, more reliable, and easier to debug when things go wrong. 

Furthermore, simple test cases are more scalable and can help you maintain a manageable and maintainable test suite over time. By keeping your test cases simple, you can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your test automation efforts and ensure better quality software.

10- Schedule regular maintenance

Regular maintenance of automation scripts is essential to ensure they work correctly as the application being tested evolves. Maintenance should include updating the automation scripts to reflect changes in the application and fixing any issues that arise.

11- Implement continuous integration and continuous deployment

Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) are best practices that help ensure the automation scripts are always up to date and integrated with the latest changes in the application. CI helps to automate the build process, while CD automates the deployment process. 

Automated testing is a critical component of CI/CD because it enables developers to catch issues early in the development cycle and prevents errors from being introduced into the production environment. 

According to McKinsey’s study on AI adoption, businesses that benefit the most from AI implement cutting-edge techniques like MLOps in their AI/ML initiatives.4 This is also one of the reasons why implementing CI/CD is crucial.

Read our article to know the differences between continuous deployment and continuous delivery: “Continuous Deployment and Continuous Delivery”

12- Run tests on multiple platforms and browsers

Running tests on multiple platforms and browsers helps to identify any platform or browser-specific issues. One of the main aims of automated software testing is to improve the quality of software and applications; running tests on multiple browsers can improve the overall quality of the application.

13- Analyze the test results

Analyzing the test results regularly and taking corrective action to address any issues identified is essential. This helps to ensure the application’s quality and the automation scripts’ effectiveness.

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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Altay Ataman
Altay is an industry analyst at AIMultiple. He has background in international political economy, multilateral organizations, development cooperation, global politics, and data analysis. He has experience working at private and government institutions. Altay discovered his interest for emerging tech after seeing its wide use of area in several sectors and acknowledging its importance for the future. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Bilkent University and he received his master's degree in International Politics from KU Leuven .

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