4 surprising benefits of automating your application testing

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Posted by Brian Borg

We collectively spend $5 trillion a year on repetitive tasks. Testing is, by nature, a repetitive process, so it's useful to find ways to automate as much of it as possible. The positive impact of automating application testing isn't just financial, though - there are benefits for your team, too.

A SmartSheet survey found that 40 percent of workers spend over a quarter of their work week on automate-able jobs. It's well-established that automation improves productivity, but it has a surprising knock-on effect by boosting employee satisfaction and preventing burnout.

Here are 4 surprising benefits that come with automated application testing.

1. Improved retention

As recently as 2018, the ‘software’ industry held the top spot for employee turnover, clocking in at 13.2 percent. What does automated testing have to do with holding on to talented developers, though? Simple. A lot of them – like the rest of us – really don’t like repetitive tasks. More specifically, they don’t like repetitive testing.

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Invest in automation (or professional QA support), and you’ll be shifting a huge amount of the testing weight off your development team. This blog isn’t focusing on the financial benefits of automation, but it would be silly to ignore the fact that it can cost 150 percent of an employee’s salary to replace them, and it takes an average of 43 days to hire a new software developer.

2. Reduced burnout

According to Gallup, one of the five main causes of employee burnout is an ‘unmanageable workload’. Automating your application testing directly reduces the work your team has to do when it comes to QA, especially if you go even further and adopt the CI/CD development approach.

‘Information overload’, a prime burnout culprit, can also be minimized with the introduction of automated, tailored testing dashboards. Set up a process that gets the right data to the right people, and you’ll reduce the amount of information filtering they have to do at work.

3. Improved morale

It stands to reason that the previous two points have a positive impact on company morale, but it doesn’t stop there. The SmartSheet survey mentioned above also found that 78 percent of workers would use the time saved by automation to focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of their job. 22 percent would use it to claw back some free time outside of work.

Employees that get to focus on the things they like about their job are more likely to enjoy their time at work, and to do better work as a result. It may seem counterintuitive to introduce a system that gives staff more time at home, but it makes good business sense. Happy employees are more productive employees.

4. Increased innovation

Google makes sure that its development team has ‘20 percent time’ – work hours set aside for them to work on anything that they think might help the business. If you’re not automating your application testing, it’s unlikely that you can afford a similar approach. You’d be missing out, too: that 20 percent rule resulted in the creation of Gmail, Adsense and Google News.

Give time back your developers, and there’s a good chance they’ll give you creativity and innovation in return.

Each of these benefits is reason enough to pursue automated testing. Improved employee morale, an innovation boost, reduced turnover – they’re all noble goals worthy of your time. They may be the unexpected side-effects of automation, but they’re no less important than the bottom line. An investment in your testing process is an investment in your team's wellbeing, and your business' future.

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