How incremental test automation helps to reduce the overall CoQ (Cost of Quality)  

AI-powered test automation has become a catalyst for transformation in software testing since it allows enterprises to be agile and scalable. This is why many of them have already eagerly started the automation journey. However, that’s where this journey gets complex as the road to benefits like accelerated time-to-market/workflow reusability/faster feedback cycle becomes long-winding. Despite the giant leap in technology adoption, enterprises are finding themselves on the backfoot – unable to cope with the challenges that are inherent to test automation. Let’s look at a few of them: 

Challenges involved in test automation  

  • Unable to select the right test automation tool that is best-suited to meet unique business requirements – licensing or Open Source
  • Hefty upfront investments to set up and deploy – with recurring costs involved to manage a high-quality automated testing unit 
  • Poor technology infrastructure insights – leading to misaligned testing roadmaps 
  • Lack of measurable post-implementation goals – negatively impacting the overall ROI 

A recurring theme in all these challenges is the inability (or shortsightedness) to see the bigger picture of test automation. Today, everybody wants at least a major portion of their testing practice to be automated, but what is the end goal? Of course, it would be natural to consider an “Automate Everything” approach, given the rapidly evolving digital-first application landscapes. But the truth is that it is likely to lead to unpractical ROI expectations – thereby increasing the cost of AI-driven test automation maintenance and developing flaky tests. Hence, there’s a growing need to adopt an incremental approach in order to maximize the value of automated testing. 

Why incremental test automation is an ideal approach? 

Incremental test automation involves breaking up applications into separate components before testing them as individual modules. Instead of integrating the testing process for all the applications, this agile methodology involves first testing a module, then integrating another module, and finally – testing the integration before adding another module. This not only increases the testing frequency but equips the enterprise with on-demand testing scalability to meet evolving requirements.  

Main objectives of incremental test automation 
  • Ensure test components/modules  work together during post-integration 
  • Continuously locate bugs and defects, starting with the early development stage  
  • Quickly and cost-effectively fix issues  

Incremental test automation also empowers testers to identify the defects earlier than usual – which means that developers get more time to understand and resolve any bugs. It empowers Agile or DevOps teams to enable continuous iterative releases – resulting in quick feedback cycles and accelerated time-to-market. 

Measurable business benefits of incremental test automation  

  • Tremendous amount of value to software delivery – keeping things agile and streamlined 
  • Focus on end-user value, not technology – precisely catering to user demands 
  • Faster creation of tests – providing rapid feedback cycles 
  • Eases maintainability – nullifying the need for costly resources 

Optimizing the CoQ with incremental test automation  

The biggest advantage of incremental test automation is that it significantly lowers the overall Cost of Quality (CoQ). It does so by eliminating the costs of dealing with internal and external failures by enabling a culture of continuous testing. And by identifying bugs at an early stage, they also become less expensive to fix.  

A major portion of the testing budget may also comprise appraisal costs, which can be gradually reduced by incremental test automation. It  further optimizes the CoQ by lowering:  

  • The cost of the environment where test automation is executed, such as virtual machines, mobile devices, or cloud platforms 
  • The cost of resources like test automation engineers for conducting test automation activities 
  • The cost spent on IDE (Integrated Development Environment) or test automation tools  

It is important to note that test automation should be continuously incremented in its coverage – and expanded to cover unit testing, integration testing, functional and non-functional testing. By doing this, the focus would always be on working towards quicker and more high-quality releases. And if the test automation system can be incremented on the basis of the product roadmap, its ROI can be better harnessed while seamlessly ensuring full coverage across different OS (including mobile) or product versions.  

It is also paramount to ensure test automation during the early development phases so that DevOps does not view QA as a separate entity. After all, automated testing is not just the integration of workflows or processes – it is more of an enterprise mindset towards meeting continuous delivery needs. 

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Kripaa Krishnamurthi