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How to achieve a smooth test automation process with in-sprint automation? 

How to achieve a smooth test automation process with in-sprint automation 

Test automation has become a key force in the software development ecosystem. Over 73% of testers use automated testing for functional and regression testing, while 24% have automated more than half of their entire testing process. But a gap exists between the development sprint and test automation within an agile framework. Agile methodology dictates that the development objectives should be divided into small chunks or sprints lasting as few as 15 days. While this approach has led to faster development, it has dented testing efforts due to a lack of time. Agile gives little time, if any, to testers to exhaustively test each piece of code and check whether they conform to the required business parameters.

It is within this scenario that in-sprint automation has found its relevance. With in-sprint testing, development and testing can run simultaneously, building better-quality applications without compromising delivery time.

What is in-sprint test automation?

In-sprint test automation is a process that leverages automation to conduct end-to-end testing of the AUT (application under test) within the same sprint it was developed in. Instead of the typical N-1 method used by most agile teams today, the QA team collaborates with the development team to test the same code. Since each functionality is developed and tested during the same sprint, there is no backlog for automation or testing. It necessitates efficient communication between all sprint participants, and it equally assigns the responsibility of the software testing process to each team member. In this collaborative effort, the sprint stories must be granular enough to be developed and tested within the sprint – developers write the code and conduct automated unit tests. At the same time, the QA specialists spend time building new automation scripts.

What are the advantages of in-sprint automation?

In-sprint automation contributes several vital benefits to the development process, making it tighter and more condensed with better quality returns.

  • No automation backlog – The core aspect of in-sprint automation is to complete all tests in tandem with the code development. In order to accomplish this before any actual code is written, test cases based on the user stories are created. As a result, it takes less time to write automated test scripts and testing doesn’t have to wait until the following sprint.
  • Enable shift-left testing – Shift-Left testing zeroes in on coding errors and bugs earlier in the cycle, thereby reducing the costs of rectifying those defects. In-sprint testing facilitates the shift to earlier stages of the development cycle.
  • Get to market faster – Time-to-market is a critical metric that can provide development companies with the much-needed edge to beat the competition. To accelerate delivery, either the number of sprints needs to be reduced or the length of the sprint itself needs to be shortened. With in-sprint testing, you can achieve both.
  • More transparent communication and better collaboration – The bedrock of in-sprint testing is streamlined communication across all levels of the team hierarchy. As communication improves, teams become much more cohesive, creative, and collaborative, leading to a stronger sense of ownership of the AUT amongst all stakeholders.

How to integrate in-sprint automation smoothly into the sprint cycle?

Even though the advantages of in-sprint automation vastly outweigh the challenges, many development companies run into bottlenecks that impede their development pace. In-sprint automation challenges such as choosing the right test automation solution, building adequately granular user stories, accessing actual user conditions, poor collaboration and communication, and wrong dependency estimation can throw the entire cycle off track. Here are five best practices to tackle these challenges without losing precious workforce, resources, and time.

Include the QA team in all sprint planning meetings

The QA team plays an integral role in agile development. Excluding them from crucial sprint meetings can leave them in the dark about essential product requirements and dependencies. This can become increasingly inefficient and force a lot of reworks. Moreover, the QA team can divulge critical information about test prioritization and testing time to help better plan the sprints.

Adopt a testing methodology that works

Sequential test automation isn’t suitable for in-sprint testing. Instead, you need to adopt one of the following approaches:

  • Test-driven development – Build tests before the functionality is fully developed. Development can be deemed complete once the functionality passes the tests.
  • Behaviour-driven development – The goal is to create tests using a universally understandable language so that even non-tech stakeholders can easily conduct the tests and move on.

Leverage abstraction and virtualization to speed up testing

In-sprint automation works best when complex dependencies are removed, and better modular flexibility is provided. To do so, testers require the successful abstraction of application components. Abstract components can use virtualization to set up their runtime environments and enable parallel testing.

Identify new avenues to automate during in-sprint testing

Today’s software architecture rests on microservices and modularity. While this accelerates development, it can complicate testing due to several interdependent moving parts. Your automation capabilities must run deep into the tech stack and access each module and component to achieve successful in-sprint automation.

Choose the right testing solution

Your chosen testing solution can make or break your entire sprint cycle. It would be best to have a cloud-based, flexible, scalable, heterogeneous testing solution to run parallel tests across multiple browsers and platforms with little to no coding requirements.

To maximize the benefits of in-sprint test automation, you must pick a robust no-code testing solution like Avo Assure. Apart from possessing all the features mentioned above, it facilitates CI/CD integration with continuous testing. Its elastic execution grid and upgrade analyzer accelerate testing while intelligent reporting and intuitive UI/UX ensure a short learning curve for even non-tech personnel.

CNA Insurance, the US’s seventh largest property and casualty insurer, adopted agile development, optimized end-to-end testing, and improved test coverage with Avo Assure. They achieved in-sprint automation that reduced their testing cycles by 50%-60% and accelerated their time-to-market.

Book a demo with us today to enhance your testing speed and deliver products faster with in-sprint automation

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