Organisations often seek to reduce the cost of testing. Most organisations aren't comfortable with reducing the amount of testing so instead they look at improving the efficiency of testing. Luckily, there are a number of software vendors who claim to be able to do just this! They offer automated tools which take a test case, automate it and run it against a software target repeatedly. Music to management ears!
However, there are some myths about automated test toolsthat need to be dispelled :
Automated testing does not find more bugs than manual testing – an experienced manual tester who is familiar with the system will find more new defects than a suite of automated tests.
Automation does not fix the development process – as harsh as it sounds, testers don’t create defects, developers do. Automated testing does not improve the development process although it might highlight some of the issues.
Automated testing is not necessarily faster – the upfront effort of automating a test is much
higher than conducting a manual test, so it will take longer and cost more to test the first time around. Automation only pays off over time. It will also cost more to maintain.
Everything does not need to be automated – some things don’t lend themselves to automation, some systems change too fast for automation, some tests benefit from partial automation – you need to be selective about what you automate to reap the benefits.
But, in their place, automated test tools can be extremely successful.
The funniest business case I have ever seen for automated test tools ran like this :
– Using manual testing, we find X number of defects in our software
– It costs $Y to find and fix these defects each year (developer + tester time)
– We can buy an automated test tool for $Z/year
– Since $Z < $Y we should buy the tool and, as a bonus, it will find < X defects
So, not only are you comparing the one off cost for buying tools (without set-up or maintenance) with the cost of manual testing, but the tool will do away with the manual testers as well – the ones who find all those pesky defects!