How to maximize the effectiveness of a Test Automation Strategy


by Gianluca Mangiapelo

New software solutions or digital services will always experience growing pains, but it’s vital that providers optimize and test these tools before releasing them. A clear test automation strategy allows developers to improve processes, enhance products, and save resources


by Gianluca Mangiapelo

New software solutions or digital services will always experience growing pains, but it’s vital that providers optimize and test these tools before releasing them. A clear test automation strategy allows developers to improve processes, enhance products, and save resources

A rigorous and efficient test automation strategy is crucial to our work at Deltatre. However, understanding the advantages (and limitations) of test automation is also very important. If a test automation strategy is going to work effectively, it needs to be carefully planned and executed. 

The objectives of a test automation strategy

A test automation strategy can help businesses to achieve many different goals within a wider testing approach.

Besides delivering a fully functioning and secure application, one of the clearest objectives for test automation is to improve and enhance test efficiency.

After all, this is the core purpose of automation – to accelerate processes, save valuable resources, and perform manual tasks more quickly. Improved efficiency means that providers can release better quality tools and services in a shorter amount of time.

However, a smart test automation strategy can also contribute to other areas of the testing process.

Automation can significantly reduce the total cost of the process, perform specific tests that manual testers cannot, and increase the frequency of test cycles. All of these objectives lead to a single outcome – more effective, more productive, and more efficient testing.


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What are the advantages of test automation?

Test automation offers several key benefits to developers and tech providers.

Automation means that more tests can be run with every build, providing businesses with a substantial amount of data. These tests can be more complex, but they can also run more quickly, which is incredibly useful for testers.

Since these tests are also fully automated, they’re less likely to be impacted or disrupted by human error, which helps to generate more reliable insights.

Automation also means that a range of tests can be performed with scientific precision and consistency. Automated tests are easily repeatable, and if clear parameters are set for the testing process, developers can be confident in the reliability of the results.

These tests can also deliver rapid feedback concerning software quality. Quicker feedback means quicker optimizations, which leads to superior products and services.


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What are the limitations of test automation?

However, it’s important to note that test automation strategies aren’t perfect.

Although automation can be hugely valuable in particular scenarios, it still needs to be utilized in the right way to deliver optimal results.

For example, not all tests are suitable for automation. Certain tests will require manual management and expertise, meaning automated processes won’t be of much use.

Automated testing can also only process machine-interpretable results. If the test results cannot be verified by an automated test oracle, it’s impossible to know if the test was successful or not.

Finally, a test automation strategy isn’t a replacement for exploratory testing. Automation requires strict test parameters and guidelines, which isn’t conducive to more creative or innovative test approaches.


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Setting up a test automation strategy

Planning and preparation are key to launching a successful test automation strategy.

Automated tests that are set up correctly and managed properly are infinitely more likely to deliver insightful results and useful data points.

Different stages of the testing process will also require different steps, as per the outline below:

During sprint planning

  • Plan which story/features will need to be automated. Mark the automated testing candidates with a “TestAutomation” label for clarity.
  • Add a task for test script preparation, test data preparation, and test execution. This can be categorised as a subtask of the original story.
  • Provide estimations on test automation tasks.

During development

  • Prepare a ‘skeleton’ structure for these tests with the status “not implemented”. Categorise these tests with labels such as“Smoke”, “Regression”, “Validation”, “Performance”, and “Security”.
  • Design and implement scripts for the selected features and functionalities.
  • Prepare the test data required for automated tests (in cases where the data can’t be prepared by the test itself.)

During testing (after a new feature is deployed)

  • Execute “Smoke/Regression” automated tests to identify potential regressions and collect initial feedback. This can be triggered post-deployment (CI/CD pipeline) by the build server.
  • Review the early results of “Smoke/Regression” tests and document any eventual defects. Review automated tests.
  • Finalize the implementation of tests for any newly added features. Document any defects found during test development.
  • Clean up any residual data from these automated tests – failed tests may leave data in the system.

At the end of the sprint

  • Execute all planned automated tests to generate a report on both new features and regression packs.
  • Document any and all outstanding defects.

After the release in STG/PRD

  • Execute automatic “Smoke/Regression” tests as part of the CI/CD pipeline.

Nightly (on a schedule)

  • Execute automatically triggered tests (from CI/CD pipeline) that normally can’t be run post-deploy. For example, tests that take a lot of time to execute, or tests that can disrupt manual testing.

At any time in the testing process

  • Manually trigger the execution of tests to generate immediate feedback. Share results with the relevant teams.


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A clear and effective test automation strategy can offer massive benefits to software providers and developers.

Test automation allows businesses to deploy resources more efficiently, launch more effective test processes, and optimize products more quickly.

The key is to use automated testing for the right projects and to carefully set up and monitor the progress of these tests. The better the automated testing strategy, the more valuable the outputs will be.