Process automation can be an emotive subject. Sceptics see automation as a way to eliminate human resources from critical business processes. Evangelists see it as a way to enhance the workforce experience. Cards on the table, we’re on the side of the evangelists.
When it comes to functional testing of software deployments or updates, the arguments for automation are compelling. Naturally, efficiency comes top of the list. The ability to run a test over and over again, without error or deviation, is an essential part of any testing regime. This consistency of input aids both compliance and quality assurance. Just as important, it gives testers confidence in the results.
Confidence is important when it comes to testing. Confidence in the results supports informed decision making and de-risks software updates. Whilst there are obvious business benefits to robust decision making, confidence also has a very human role to play. If an employee has confidence in their work, it can create positive, knock-on effects thanks to improved morale and productivity.
The repetitive nature of manual testing can lead to testing fatigue, which could result in errors, or a “fix and move on” attitude. Whilst project managers and operational staff understand the importance of testing, pressure to save time and meet deadlines may mean repeat testing is overlooked. Contrastingly, when the repetitive tasks are automated, employees can dedicate more of their time to adding value through the interpretive analysis of results.
Implementing solutions for test script creation, storage and execution not only improves process resilience and efficiency, but also supports effective knowledge transfer and continuity of service. Many organizations rely upon long-standing employees to form the core of their corporate memory, but what happens when those key individuals leave? Creating a central repository of repeatable scripts ensures there is no “loss of memory” when key employees are absent.
The automation of functional testing is not intended to replace human resources. Rather, it is designed to augment the employee experience; providing them with robust, repeatable workflows and allowing them to focus their attention on adding value through the evolution of test scripts and the analysis of results. Repeat functionality improves productivity and consistency of output, delivering improvements in both the quantity and quality of testing.