Repetition and repeating yourself: 4 signs you need to automate your testing

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Posted by Brian Borg

Test automation is the biggest contributor to continuous delivery, according to the 2017 State of DevOps report. Not only does it positively impact your CI/CD framework, but it also contributes to the agility of a team, it speeds up your application's time to market and, sure enough, it reduces costs without sacrificing quality.

The trick, however, is to know when your testing should be automated, and when manual intervention is required.

Here are four signs that you need to automate your testing.

1. You're performing the same task time and time again

Nobody enjoys repeating themselves, especially when it comes to the workplace. If you find yourself performing the same simple activity over and over again, it's time to consider automating it.

Your QA team is made up of humans, and humans make mistakes. Given that the average adult has an attention span between 10 and 20 minutes, human error is all too common during lengthy manual tests.

To eliminate this risk, deploy automated test scripts to supplement your manual efforts. This way, you can allow for the creation of more reliable code and reduce your chances of releasing a bug-filled application.

2. You know a task will need to be completed in the future

When you have a robust testing framework in place, you can begin to see into the future of an application's development cycle. If, for instance, you know that you have to perform a manual test during the latter end of your application's development cycle - and you perform this step every time you work on a new application - it's time to automate it.

3. Deadlines are often missed

If your QA testing team is repeatedly missing delivery deadlines, it's a sign that your framework is slow and ineffective. And if it isn't, it's a sign that your deadlines are unreasonable.

Either way, missed deadlines are missed opportunities. If late deliveries are a common occurrence, consider automating part of your testing framework to speed up the process.

Manual testing is well known to take longer than automated tests. After all, humans are notoriously slower than machines.

4. You're falling short when stress testing an application

Stress testing an application prior to a strategic release is fundamental to an application's success. Performing this manually, however, is labor-intensive and unrealistic. Ultimately, it requires too much time and resources and often fails to push an application's performance to the max.

Automated performance tests, however, gives QA testers a fast and effective means to quickly simulate thousands of users and reliably stress test an application.

Automation: long-term efficiencies outweigh short-term investment

One big factor that sways QA teams away from automation is the upfront work required to build automated scripts. It can be tough to prioritize developing tools instead of just building the house itself.

But, approached properly, automation is always worth the upfront fight. Not only does it unlock your team and generate a faster time to market, it also helps improve efficiencies, reduce costs and generate a faster time to market. Did we just repeat ourselves?

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