Smartbear for Test Automation–Part 1

Every team knows how important QA is. Whether they like it or not, having a bug-free, high-quality user experience is the difference between becoming the next tech star or ending up in the graveyard of startups.

QA is just that important. Every developer, director of engineering, or CTO will tell you this. It’s non-negotiable in a customer-driven environment, where the customer is king and will quickly jump ship if the product doesn’t work as intended. Good teams have QA software running in the background that’ll help them write manual tests. Great teams will automate as much as possible, and they’ll use smart automation tools like TestComplete to set up a testing ecosystem that’ll help them scale.

That’s what we’ll cover in this article. You’ll learn how to level up your QA process, using a combination of low-code and no-code testing solutions to create an easily accessible, iterative testing infrastructure that’ll help expand your team’s ability to test.

Why Automation Needs to Be Part of Your QA Strategy

No matter how good your top software developer may be, software will inevitably have defects. Even Shakespeare needed an editor. Of course, the goal is to catch these defects before the product is released, and test engineers strive to do so. But even with the best manual testing processes, there’s no guarantee that bugs won’t slip through the cracks. Incorporating automated testing into your team’s testing strategy is the most effective method for preventing the fallibility of manual testing. Test automation software is the best way to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and coverage of your software testing.

Manual software testing is the Wild West. It can be fractional. For example, it can consist of a QA manager hiring a series of QA engineers across the globe. Or it can be begrudgingly taken on by a founder without enough capital yet to hire a QA team member. Or it can be performed by a veteran QA engineer with a decade of experience. Manual testing is all performed by a human sitting in front of a computer, carefully going through application screens and testing across devices during several phases of development cycles.

Automated testing, on the other hand, enables teams to quickly and efficiently get through regression testing. In addition to speeding up regression testing, it can also increase coverage across devices and browsers. These benefits free up QA team members to focus their efforts on the most needed areas, like new functionality and user experience.

Considering why you’re running the tests in the first place, this is especially important. Each release of software should be tested across supported operating systems and hardware configurations. Doing this manually is costly and time consuming. Alternatively, capitalizing on automated tests can greatly reduce these expenses. Once created, you can run automated tests over and over again at little additional cost. Automated software testing can reduce the time to run repetitive tests from days to hours. This translates directly into cost savings.

Added to this, the scale of automated testing far surpasses anything even a large QA department can handle with manual testing alone. Consider a web application test with thousands of users. A smart automated test can simulate tens, hundreds, or thousands of virtual users interacting with software.

QA as the Engine of Growth

We’ve interviewed many teams that have replaced their manual testing strategy—or lack thereof—with automated testing frameworks. Here’s how they’ve done it.

One company in health tech built software for pharmaceutical companies. At first, the team of two QA engineers solely used manual testing, but the team knew their process wasn’t efficient. It was disjointed, and the engineers didn’t have the right tools at their disposal. Where they did have somewhat suitable tools, the tools were ineffective for their required use cases. As a result, the team brainstormed on what they needed, researched different options, and decided on a suite of smart automated tools that included BitBar, ReadyAPI, and later TestComplete.

We came across and researched several other tools, but none seemed to fit the bill. Some were limited in their ability to run across platforms. Others were restricted by functionality and flexibility of code snippets. The SmartBear suite contained the right tools because the team was able to integrate them to run together, and because they allowed for the full coverage the team needed. The lead QA engineer told us: “ReadyAPI covered the backend. BitBar gave us access to devices we didn’t have on hand. TestComplete allowed us to automate efficiently when we were ready.”

After the implementation of this suite of automated testing tools, the QA department grew from two people to 30 people in two years. The rest of the company also grew at the same pace. With better software came more and more customers. As a result, the company had to change buildings twice to accommodate the increase in headcount. What allowed for this immense growth?

The right tools helped the QA team home in on the right strategy. Without these tools, time to release and time spent testing could put a damper on the company’s ability to produce. Due to the growth of the company, the requests for manual QA on new development was always a struggle, but the implementation of automation tools allowed the team to organize and set up a strategy to tackle tickets. So even though the team was, in aggregate, dealing with more and more tickets, the automation tools increased the efficiency of testing, the coverage of tests, and reduced the number of repeated bugs.

Setting Up Automation

Most teams struggle to dedicate the high hour cost it takes to set up and maintain an automation framework for testing. For some systems, it can take upwards of 200 hours to set up an automation framework. This means that automation either falls by the wayside or, in times of high volume, falls into disrepair. That’s why implementing an automated testing solution like the SmartBear testing automation suite is so effective. It allows a team to benefit from the repeatability of tests, as well as the cost and time savings that comes hand in hand with automation, without having to put a significant time investment into setup. With the testing suite, QA engineers can build tests by using keywords, or they can incorporate record and playback automation without needing to rely on code.

Better software means fewer bugs, which means a better customer experience. With the ability to identify and address the inevitable bugs in the most efficient way possible, developers can release software quicker and at a higher quality level than their competitors. That’s the difference between a good company and a great one. Between a company stuck with a makeshift QA department and one whose headcount and growth is going through the roof.

In the SmartBear for Test Automation course, we’ll go through more examples of the use cases of TestComplete, ReadyAPI, and BitBar. You’ll learn how your team can start implementing these tools now. We’ll also discuss how to bring the full automation suite together and integrate their capabilities. By the end, you’ll be able to test smarter and faster, and you’ll help bring your company’s software to the next level.

Don’t miss part 2 of this series on utilizing your base automated test suite.

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Autumn Bruno, COO at JDAQA
Autumn Bruno, COO at JDAQA