Written by Reginald Chan on January 17, 2022

How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of a Test Automation

To stay competitive, organizations must accomplish the trifecta of quality, cost, and speed. Software developers are attempting to do just that with test automation, Agile, DevOps, and continuous testing, but automated tests are huge enablers when it comes to agility. 

While test automation saves time, costs, and efforts by improving efficiency, many organizations struggle with measuring its overall effectiveness.

Test automation can be expensive, but if you develop the right set of metrics for measuring its output, you can accurately assess its value.

Evaluation 1: Why is Test Automation Suitable?

Test automation is suitable in cases where companies want to improve their return on investment.

Through automation, manual testers have more free time to fix complicated issues, which increases their speed and efficiency. Plus, test automation cuts down on human error.

Evaluation 2: When is Test Automation Suitable?

Depending on the size or complexity of your project, test automation isn’t always suitable. However, test automation software should be implemented if your application functions smoothly, and its functionality must be tested regularly with a high level of accuracy.

Evaluation 3: What Affects the Effectiveness of Test Automation?

Although putting your testing protocol against specific metrics is essential, there are a few things that can affect the effectiveness of tests that organizations can account for:

  • Frequency of Tests Run
  • Tester’s Experience
  • Data-Driven Testing
  • Tools Cost
  • Cost of Tests Suite Preparation
  • Analysis and Maintenance

Remember that automation is a long-term investment, so you may not see results initially. Through high-quality tools, frequent tests, and experienced testers, you’ll improve the effectiveness of your test automation strategy much quicker than with sub-par methods.

Metric 1: Does Test Automation Save You Time?

The increased popularity of Agile and DevOps has created a need to execute regression tests daily or twice daily.

To keep up with this need, teams have begun to invest in test automation to reduce testing time, leading to more frequent updates and released projects.

Time saved is money saved, so calculating a system's effectiveness will translate into whether your testing protocols are efficient.

Time saved is the difference between manual executions and automation executions plus fragility because updating scripts (fragility) can take up a lot of time. 

Time Saved = Manual Execution - (Automation Execution + Fragility)

You can’t truly eliminate manual tests, but you can improve the output of your automation execution to decrease time spent on manual implementation.

To improve fragility, you also need to improve test automation to reduce time wasted on fixing and updating test scripts. 

Metric 2: Does Test Automation Save You Effort?

Calculating effort saved includes understanding how much effort it would take to execute the same tests without automation. To calculate efforts saved, use Equivalent Manual Test Effort:

If an automated test (Test A) would take 6 hours to run manually, its EMTE is 6 hours. If another automated test (Test B) would take 8 hours to run manually, its EMTE is also 8 hours. If Test A is run seven times a day, and Test B is run four times a day, then:

6*7 hrs + 8*4 hrs = 42 + 32 = 74 hours EMTE

You can also convert EMTE into costs saved by multiplying the tester's average hourly rate. Assuming that the tester's hourly rate is $40, you save 74*40 = $2,960 within a test sprint. 

Metric 3: Does Test Automation Reduce Risks?

Test case effectiveness determines the efficiency of test cases executed by the automated test suite. It’s a metric that determines the quality and value of each test case you add.

Test Case Effectiveness = (Number of Defects/Number of Automated Cases Run) x 100

Automated tests often don't have a high bug detection percentage, but if the same tests are repeated multiple times, the software won’t find new bugs. Test case effectiveness can avoid pesticide paradox when measured for a period, so update your testing suite frequently.

Article written by Reginald Chan
A meticulous entrepreneur by nature and a serial entrepreneur. Founded a few awesome startups including Marketing Lancers, WP Maven and TheMarketingHuddle.com. Reginald is a sought-after success coach, digital marketing consultant and TEDx speaker from Asia. Currently, he teaches others how to make money online for free.

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