For those using automated testing, minimizing maintenance costs for an ever-evolving system is a top priority. Those currently using an automated testing tool and strategy know the time and effort saved by having an automated solution in place. No longer having to rely solely on performing manual testing is a huge time saver and comes with benefits such as testing consistency and scalability of your tested system.
Even with these clear benefits in mind, automated testing comes with its own set of responsibilities and considerations, with maintenance and maintenance costs being a primary concern for those using it. Below, we’ll investigate the maintenance automated testing will require and how to reduce maintenance costs.
Test automation scripts are designed to save time, but by nature automated testing solutions will require a certain amount of maintenance. Test automation maintenance is defined as the time and effort spent on rewriting or updating tests when the automated testing software has undergone a change or update that causes tests to fail, even if the intended function of the software update is valid. For example, going from an old to a new version of a software testing application will likely result in stylistic changes across the application.
Routine changes to the testing applications’ UI such as updated placements of certain buttons or fields that the test is designed to click on can result in the testing application producing false failures, even if the intended functionality of your software update or bug fix still works. Paying attention to application updates and responding accordingly can help you to stay ahead of automated testing maintenance and produce valid tests.
Another area where maintenance would be required is with depreciated data becoming old or obsolete over time. Data sets within chart field values that are no longer accurate or have failed to update will result in automated tests that need to be rerun after the data has been updated or changed by hand. Sometimes you don’t know until after the automated test has been run and it then becomes a bigger operation to then retest. Ensuring data sets and fields are correctly populated ahead of running automated tests will help to save time and prevent needing to retest or run the test manually.
As we’ve mentioned above, the need to do testing maintenance may come about due to application design changes or updates. When the testing application itself undergoes a change and updates are released, the names, placements on pages, and field locations may change. One key consideration in choosing a testing automation product is having a system that identifies the specific changes you need to be aware of.
For PeopleSoft users, PeopleSoft Test Framework (PTF) is a tool that can correlate changes and produce a report of those changes and updates that will require action on your end through the Test Maintenance Report. This is more difficult to do with some other automated testing solutions. However, leveraging the power of AI for testing automation within the cloud sphere is particularly promising, including the possibility of being able to create self-healing scripts so that as changes happen, the AI will automatically understand changes and put them into place is an exciting prospect.
So, what are the costs associated with automated testing maintenance? The good news is that if you do a good job of sourcing your automated test data, maintenance costs can be brought down to almost zero, especially with advances in the AI space and being able to adapt the automated scripts to that change. The system itself will understand what the changes are, and once identified, you can respond accordingly and prevent having to rerun tests.
If you do a bad job of recording scripts and have a lot of catch-less code, you’ll have a lot of maintenance associated with it. The easiest way to combat this is to look at ways of templatizing your commonly used processes and invoking those procedures.
In terms of reducing these maintenance costs, building these test scripts with a clear strategy and plan up front is key. By putting in the work proactively and taking the time to build test scripts ahead of time, you’ll be able to tackle any obstacles that come up in a timely manner which saves time and effort in the long run. Another way to reduce maintenance costs is by creating random data generators for fields requiring uniqueness. Being able to query the actual tables is another key and critical piece of the puzzle that can help reduce costs. For example, when you have a script that is tasked with building a requisition and is tasked with looking up the items from the vendor, having a query that sources the specific items for that specific vendor can reduce costs. The more you can source specific data, the more helpful it is and the more you’ll save.
In our client work with Tokio Marine, prior to engaging with Elire they had built rudimentary scripts but had the desire to do very large end-to-end scenarios to create and approve vouchers. Because they hadn’t created variables and sourced the necessary data automatically, every time they went to run the test, it would result in failures. Elire helped by creating queries so that the automated script will source data from the database and pull whatever is needed into the scenario so that it played into the overarching end-to-end testing process.
When it comes to reducing maintenance costs or working to create a testing strategy that accomplishes your overall goals, turning to the experts is oftentimes a critical first step. To learn more about the benefits of testing automation including specific cases for when you should use automated testing, check out our Use Cases for Testing Automation post. In the meantime, for PeopleSoft users, register for our upcoming PTF webinar and learn more about maintenance needed to your PTF scripts and setup in order to leverage Fluid scripts and PeopleTools 8.59.