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The Barriers to Software Testing Automation

The concept of software testing automation is a hot topic right now in just about every relevant industry.  It is covered in ISEB & ISTQB certification materials, and every company understands the benefits of automation.  However, there are still plenty of organizations around the globe that have not taken the automation plunge.  This begs the question of why.

Companies have a variety of reasons for not automating their software testing processes.   The 2 key barriers seem to be cost / complexity and skill deficiency, and both of these are interrelated.  The cost & complexity factor is self-explanatory.  Because it is relatively complicated, the costs associated with the automation tool itself, the integration / deployment work, and licensing fees can truly add up.

In terms of skill, automation tools are typically script-based and require programming expertise. Companies often do not have employees with the necessary skills, so they must either train current employees or hire from the outside.  This represents another barrier because these organizations tend to focus on the costs of acquiring said skills instead of the benefits of bringing the skills in-house.

Despite these typical barriers, companies would be well-served to consider both sides of the equation when determining whether or not to automate.  The barriers mentioned above focus on the cost side of the equation with little regard to the benefits of improved efficiency and productivity, increased speed-to-market, and more thorough testing coverage.  It is only after considering the costs as well as the benefits that a truly informed decision can be made.

The bottom line is that automation is an investment, and like any capital outlay it takes time to recoup that investment.  Although software testing organizations should conduct both manual and automated testing, the ROI associated with automation is almost always positive…assuming that both sides of the equation are factored into the decision making process.

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One Response to “The Barriers to Software Testing Automation”

  1. Sanju Pillai says:

    Hello, this is a good piece on test automation. Adding my tuppence – In my opinion the primary barrier to test automation is the lack of insights on what to automate and what not to. This fear, uncertainty and doubt is what makes most organizations to do manual testing where automation is best suited (or can ‘easily’ be implemented). Also, many enterprises believe they are being thorough with their software test automation by automating test execution only. The truth is that companies who focus all their energies on automating test execution do not get what they are looking for from test automation – optimum test coverage, minimum manual steps, fast “go/no go” decisions and excellent ROI. Ask anybody who has been down this road and they would tell you – There is so much more to software test automation than just automating test execution. To learn more attend the webinar – Powering Quality through Test Automation – Cutting through the hype to see how it really works. Click here to register – http://www.applabs.com/html/Powering-Quality-through-Test-Automation-Cutting-through-the-hype-to-see-how-it-really-works.html

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