Challenges of Test Automation

Even though test automation has many advantages, it also has its share of challenges. Before you embark on test automation, you must do your homework and think about how you will overcome or manage some of these hurdles.

Unrealistic Expectations

Some companies have unrealistic expectations for test automation. They think that test automation is the magic solution that will solve all of their testing issues. Others fail to realize that test automation requires many efforts. Sometimes management thinks that test automation is all about “record and play back”.  Before you start test automation, it is imperative to outline what automation is and what automation is not. All stakeholders need to understand automation and be on the same page in terms of expectations.

Poor Testing Practices

If your company does not have good testing practices, test automation will not yield much value. For example, if your test cases do not test critical functions, your test automation script is most likely to pass, but you might still have defects in your product. In other words, your test automation is only as good as your manual test.

False Sense of Security/Quality

Some companies define the quality of their software by the number of test cases that pass. When you run your automated regression test with no tests failing, it does not necessarily mean your software is of top quality. Your automated script is only testing what you programmed it to test. Therefore, there might be some undetected defects.

Technical Challenges

There are some technical challenges associated with test automation. First of all, the Test Automation Engineer must have the skills of a developer and the mindset of a tester. The combination of these skills is not easy to find. Also, the test automation framework must be robust and effective at finding defects. In addition, the test automation framework should be able to integrate with other tools such as test management tools and continuous integration tools.

Organizational Issues

This is what I call the “political issues”. If your management does not believe in test automation, you are in for a lot of frustrations and headaches. If your management does not really understand test automation, there could be a lot of unrealistic expectations. I consider this to be the biggest issue with test automation. In my personal opinion, test automation is not an easy task. If management is having a difficult time understanding what test automation involves, I would advise you stay away from automation.