4 tips to integrate automated testing into a CI/CD framework

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Posted by Lon Botta

Were you aware only 12 percent of organizations currently incorporate an automated test framework within their SDLC?

If you ask technology leaders across the spectrum, they will invariably state 'test automation is at the top of our DevOps priority list', yet we rarely see it implemented. Employing a right-sized, automated testing framework, paired with a properly configured CI/CD platform, lowers risk and frees your engineering team to work on other priorities.

With the above points in mind, let's explore ways you can bolster your quality testing more effectively using automated testing as a foundation.

1. Gather the right expertise

Gather a team-oriented DevOps squad that will champion your automation efforts and provide needed input. Look at the corporate culture of your organization and be sure the skill set fits as well as the dynamics of the people involved. Work together to build the better 'mouse trap'. A team who works together, stays together.

However, if you don't have the right in-house QA engineering expertise, you should enlist the help of a third party team who can work collaboratively alongside your developers.

2. Choose your tools

First, select your CI/CD toolkit. It's important to understand and define your needs. Once you have successfully defined your needs, select tools which will fulfil those needs. Statistics show over 50 percent of developers look for a tool that includes:

  • Licensing and support costs
  • Good test reports
  • Training, documentation, tutorials, and guidelines
  • CI and DevOps support
  • An indication of the level of programming skills required
  • Level of skills and experience required

DevOps tools should provide the base functionality and metrics to initially automate your scripts and allow an ongoing improvement.

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3. Start small and simple

The temptation to go all in when you find a shiny new CI/CD or DevOps tool is understandable.

However, it is crucial to start small at first and focus on establishing a framework baseline which will prove out your automation before you can scale. If you have folks on the team that are still wary of the tool, you can use this as a proof of concept opportunity to obtain buy-in or discuss strategies which would make it better suit your needs.

Narrow your focus by first automating high-yield, low-effort tests. Our recommendation is to use a demo path for your initial set of cases. You may want to start by simple on page-clicks or happy-path field entries. Something which will prove out your implementation, but also provide immediate value.

4. Define the necessary 'triggers'

Get granular with the automated test suite.

Pay attention to your contextual needs and how each step is triggered. When executing a test, what triggers the next step? Does the test need to be within a certain parameter before continuing?

It is worthwhile mapping out the automated test case/suite beforehand. You can use a workflow mapping tool like Miro or just conduct a whiteboarding session. Break down the steps you'd typically execute in a regular test, followed by the necessary 'actions' required once it's automated.

Redefine your automated testing processes

Whether it’s stress, performance, or regression testing, automating as much of the process as possible will allow your teams to spend more time on pressing development tasks.

Ultimately, running your automated tests will save you more time and enable you to scale your automated testing.

We hope you found our quick run-through useful. If you'd like to pick our brains further, please get in touch with our team.

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