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Best Practices & Recommendations for Automated Testing Strategy

Author: Sri Priya P Kulkarni

Last updated: May 29, 2024

Automated Testing Strategy
Table of Contents

Almost all companies are looking to improve the QA Testing Process and expect faster delivery of the product. The key element to achieve this is preparing the right strategy. An automated testing strategy is a key element for improving business as it helps improve efficiency and reduce delivery time reducing manual efforts. It helps companies test the software at a faster pace and with greater coverage.

Test automation quickly tests software by minimizing manual regression efforts in case of any changes. It also increases test coverage by covering all corner cases, reduces test execution time, and reduces the count of resources. The automated testing strategy also helps to quickly track changes and receive feedback to enhance the application development process.

For example, a fintech company could use automated testing to check the functionality of the product regularly to ensure the health of the product. By implementing a proper automated testing strategy, companies can improve the quality of the product and reduce the risk of failures to give a seamless experience for the customers, ensure customer satisfaction, and increase revenue.

All the above reasons make the automated testing strategy the prominent and important phase in the automation test life cycle.



Automated Testing Strategy

There are six stages to an automated testing strategy:

  1. Scope of Automation
  2. Automated Testing Approach
  3. Automated Testing Environment
  4. Risk Analysis
  5. Execution Plan
  6. Review and Failure Analysis

Below is the flow diagram which has the flow of the Automated Testing Strategy.

Now let’s understand each stage in detail.



Scope of Automation

Defining the scope from an automation perspective includes outlining timelines, sprint milestones, and resources. In this stage, any team should clearly define which tests to automate and which to keep as manual tests. 

A rule of thumb is the Pareto principle, also known as the  80/20 rule. In this case, it means that 80% of test cases will be automated, reducing manual efforts and the risk of errors during regression testing. The remaining 20% can be automated after determining whether the rest of the tests require automation or not.


Automated Testing Approach

The Automated Testing Approach is the foundation for building a framework by selecting test cases that are robust and maintainable. In this stage, the team selects which type of framework needs to be implemented as it requires the same way of implementation as that of software development. While deciding, there are three areas to consider, processes, technology, and roles.


Automated Testing Environment

This stage is key in automation strategy as this is where the actual Application Under Test comes into the picture. Although the test environment development is unpredictable due to various reasons, a stable testing environment is essential for successful test automation to increase ROI.

There are many things to consider regarding environmental conditions. Do you need any certificates to install to proceed? Do you need any tokens or VPNs? Do you need a Launchbox or Sandbox? How does that work and who will be supporting that? How does the Load Balancer work? What are the servers and who is supporting these?

We need to have clear documentation of all these details in case of any issues and also if any new tester joins the team, as it will be helpful for them to understand.


Risk Analysis

Risk Analysis is an important stage of Test Strategy. We should create a risk document containing parameters such as those below:

  • Description – A clear explanation of what the risk is.
  • Risk Level – What is the impact of risk on the project?
  • Probability – Chance of Risk in the project?
  • Mitigation – What are the actions needed to be taken in case of risk?
  • Cost Estimate- What would be the cost of risk?

The risk document should be dynamic in the sense that things can be added and removed as per the requirement.


Execution Plan

An execution plan consists of which test cases are to be automated. Before automating any test case, we need to run and verify multiple times and ensure they are working as expected and is automation feasible. Few test cases are time-consuming, so it’s essential to identify test cases based on robustness and reliability.


Review and Failure Analysis

The Review and Failure Analysis stage is a circular never-ending task in which we need to continuously review the test scripts and understand what is the cause of failure.

Understand the script and think about how it can be done better. The success of test automation depends on how well the strategy is defined and how it is implemented.

Best Practices and Recommendations for Creating an Automated Testing Strategy

Below are some of the best practices and recommendations for creating an automated testing strategy:

  1. Plan the test automation and have documentation as early as possible.
  2. It’s not possible to have 100% automation, as not all test cases can be automated. Because of this, we need to carefully identify the tests to be automated.
  3. Perform risk analysis on the project. Document potential risks and mitigation plans.
  4. Include the right people and the right technology for automation.
  5. Review test artifacts with the development team. As the product requirement changes over time, we must ensure automation aligns with designed functionality.
  6. Select the automation tool and technology by inspecting various factors. Select the one that best suits you and gives more ROI.
  7. Development and test environments should be identical to ensure consistency.
  8. Define the Test Case document with all the tests that are planned to automate to ensure the test flow of the script is correct.
  9. One should understand where the code is running at all times and need to have the flow documented.
  10. Before adding any test into the execution suite, make sure to Dry Run and verify to ensure the specific test script quality.
  11.  Use the pipeline in which tests are running frequently at least daily once to make sure that the pipeline is healthy and servers are stable. Make sure that there are no network connection failures and avoid unexpected failures.
  12.  Identify slow and frequently failing tests. It helps to reconfigure the tests and maximize the testing efficiency.


In Summary

There is an increase in automation testing to bring on faster delivery of the product with efficiency. Each application has its own complexity and combination of testing requirements. A successful test automation strategy can lead to success with increased ROI. It’s very important to create a test automation strategy to achieve the desired success in test automation.

In this article, I have discussed how to create a Test Automation Strategy and increase ROI. Hope you got a clear picture of How to Create a Test Automation Strategy and some best practices to be followed.


Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is test automation?
    Test automation is the process of leveraging tools and software to execute pre-scripted tests on software applications to ensure they perform as expected. Without test automation, development processes depend on manual testing, where QA testing teams execute test cases, observe the application’s behavior, and report issues. 

  • What issues can come up with manual testing?
    For one, humans are prone to error, and some bugs or issues with the application may go unnoticed unknowingly. Secondly, in cases where large-scale testing or repetitive efforts are required, manual testing can be time-consuming and drag the overall development time. Naturally, with increased errors and development time, the development cost increases. 

  •  What process should engineering leaders follow when creating a test automation strategy?
    Engineering leaders should start by defining the objectives of their testing process and reviewing existing test documentation. This involves examining test plans, cases, and scripts to ensure they align with the software requirements. If these two don’t align, engineering leaders should consider test automation. Additionally, leaders should analyze how the development team executes tests, considering the time, steps involved, and any challenges encountered during manual testing. This way, engineering leaders can pinpoint repetitive and time-consuming tasks that are prime candidates for automation.

  • Does automation eliminate the human element from testing?
    Test automation doesn’t eliminate the human element from the testing process. Rather, it transforms the roles and responsibilities within the testing team. As such, engineering leaders must first identify the roles and skills needed for the automated testing system and processes. Can the existing testing teams take up new roles, or does the team need new talent? 
Sri Priya P Kulkarni

Sri Priya P. Kulkarni is a test engineer with a focus on the full system development life cycle. Certified in ISTQB, Scrum, and Six Sigma, she currently works at American Express in Bengaluru, creating test cases, executing tests, and reporting defects. She often shares on her LinkedIn and website.