Post

Best Practices for DevOps Test Automation

02 July, 2021

Technology

With organizations rapidly adopting DevOps, it’s not surprising that test automation has become a vital component of the software delivery pipeline.

A survey by Kobiton reveals how DevOps Test Automation has continued to transform every business facet. The report finds that more than 50% of companies are looking to automate 50-75% of their test cases. Further, companies spending less than 10% of their budget on test automation significantly lag behind their peers.

Automation is necessary for organizations looking to rapidly and consistently deliver high-quality software and stay ahead of the competition in a fast-paced DevOps environment.

The DevOps Testing Strategy 

Fueled by the growing success stories, many companies want to extract more value from their DevOps and are joining the DevOps test automation bandwagon.

However, knowing the benefits of DevOps test automation is one thing. Implementing continuous and successful DevOps test automation quality practices is another matter. 

For your business to accelerate scale test automation and deliver high-quality software, it is crucial that you know the proper tools and follow best practices of DevOps test automation. 

So where do you start, and how can your team join in the party? 

Here are best practices to successfully implement DevOps Test Automation and ensure you’re on the path to software testing and delivery success. 

Establish a Test Automation Plan and Approach

Successful projects have one commonality, they all have a strong strategy. Any DevOps test automation should also follow the same path. 

A well-written and clearly defined test automation plan and framework are essential. It gives your organization the ability to lay out the testing goals, define test cases and track progress throughout the testing process and the DevOps toolchain. 

What’s more, you’re able to develop automation test cases that are viable, robust, and sustainable. 

Think of a test automation strategy like a road map; You can travel without one, but there’s a high chance of getting lost or taking extra time to reach your destination. Rather than putting your DevOps process at risk, a test automation strategy acts as a compass to help guide your testing and DevOps team. 

That’s because everyone can see the bigger picture, plan ahead, and make important/inclusive decisions — all of which improve the overall likelihood of continuous software delivery success. 

To start with, evaluate your testing teams. Thereafter, determine the scope of automation, testing priorities while evaluating existing testing infrastructure and probable risks. 

After an in-depth assessment, the team strategizes testing phases, assigns roles, sets goals and timeframes. Here are some tips on creating a test automation plan and approach; 

  • Promptly plan for test automation - Automation is a complex process. It requires organizations to adopt a lot of practices and tooling support for various DevOps stages. It’s also a tedious and time-consuming process that needs proper planning to avert risks, unforeseen costs, and complexities. 
  • Have clear and defined metrics and documentation - They provide information about the test processes and changes while enforcing transparency and insight. 
  • Zero in on the right metrics - Not all test cases require automation. Some are manual. Defining test cases that make the most sense to automate helps focus test automation strategies on the areas in which they can have the most significant impact on organizations. 
  • Automate testing where it’s realistic, but don’t forget test optimization
  • Integrating QA metrics - to get a complete view of test processes across the entire delivery pipeline. 
  • Automate user behavior rather than tests - Helps manage defects earlier on by deploying automation frameworks and Test-Driven Development (TDD) /Behavior Driven Development (BDD) approaches.
  • Perform risk analysis - on the DevOps test automation process. 
  • Assess test artifacts - with your development team.  

Remember, your testing outcome is as good as your testing strategy. 

Collaboration 

Collaboration is a central feature of DevOps. It’s a product of healthy team relationships, conducive environments, and good leadership. 

One catastrophic approach to test automation is having “Not My Problem” and silo mentalities among your DevOps teams.

Such practices are a recipe for failure in that they discourage healthy team collaboration and neglect a team player mindset. They not only endanger and derail your DevOps test automation but your team’s productivity and the DevOps toolchain. 

For efficiency, integrate every stakeholder involved in the SLDC throughout the testing and the entire DevOps process. 

What’s more, address any divide between the entire development lifecycle teams- from testers, Quality Assurance, developers to the operations team.

A collaboration culture has a significant impact on the DevOps process. It ensures quality is rooted in your DevOps processes, shortens the feedback cycles, and helps resolve bottlenecks and bugs faster.

Choose Test Automation Tools Wisely

A critical component of your DevOps test automation is your choice of testing tools. While you might tick the boxes on every other process, it’s equally important to have a suitable test automation toolset.

The proper testing tools can help propel your SDLC and ultimately speed up time-to-market. All automation testing tools serve the same purpose, but their features, capacities, and workflow are different. 

Your testing tool choice should be agile and align with your testing goals and capabilities. It should be easy to use and have comprehensive features needed to achieve successful test automation under an agile software development environment.

Iteratively identify tools for each DevOps stage as your processes mature and needs evolve. 

Top testing tools include; 

  • Selenium
  • Jenkins
  • Sauce Labs
  • Appium
  • Cucumber
  • TestNG
  • Maven
  • Bamboo

Set up Your automation Environment in a Quality Lab

Effective testing necessitates testing software in a robust lab. The lab should be; 

  • Scalable
  • Stable 
  • Updated and secured
  • Readily available for all types of testing
  • Support advanced automation testing capabilities

When testing, your testing scripts should match software development and mirror the full user experience journey. Importantly, verification should be done when the rubber meets the road as opposed to when in the lab. Map out detailed test instances for deployment environments.

In addition, understand how to scale the testing environment and plan accordingly so as to prepare for issues that may arise. 

Establish Test Case performance KPIs

It’s easy to conclude that your software testing will be successful, but without KPIs, you can’t be so sure.

Test case KPIs demonstrate whether your DevOps test automation hit the benchmark set for testing or not. They help you analyze the testing process while revealing failed test cases, slow tests, bugs, reusability, and more user-impacting issues in your software. 

You can also evaluate and compare test results to validated reports and documentation from earlier software versions to gain more insight. 

Consequently, teams can determine the course of action to fix detected issues to refine the end product. This saves you time and costs, enhancing collaboration. 

Execute Test Automation

The core of your DevOps test automation strategy isn’t the plan itself but its execution. It doesn’t matter how great your test automation strategy is—if you aren’t able to put your plan into action. 

Once you’ve drilled down your best strategy, established the testing process guidelines, and gotten everyone on board, it’s time to implement your testing plan. 

At a base level, ensure that your automated testing environments are ready before execution commences. They should also follow CI/CD pipelines best practices to increase the speed of your release. 

Here are just a few tips for nailing your DevOps Test Automation:

  • Test parallelization - Parallelize the automated test cases that require no interdependence to save time. 
  • Leverage pipeline orchestrator or scheduling tools to execute test case parallelization in order of priority.
  • Test under stable network connections and servers to save time.

Adopt Continuous Testing Practices

For the continued success of your DevOps initiatives, you need to transform your software testing practices into a continuous testing culture and not on a need-be basis by: 

  • Assigning adequate testing budgets and improving team skills
  • Incorporating testers into cross-functional teams
  • Aligning and implementing continuous testing with your release frequency
  • Automating end-to-end functional testing
  • Adopting shift-left testing

Ready to Kick Off Your DevOps Test Automation Strategy? 

Now that you have a solid grasp of DevOps test automation's best practices, you can confidently move the DevOps process forward. 

Of course, if this is a lot, give Pronix a call. We love helping businesses adopt, implement, and execute DevOps best practices.

Leveraging our agile practices, DevOps, and cloud tools, we can help address your pain DevOps points. The result is a strengthened DevOps lifecycle- from planning and build artifacts to software testing and application monitoring.

Get started and experience all that our DevOps solutions have to offer for your business!


Contact Us