Top 6 tips to mitigate the risks of test automation


Test automation has its own risks, and it’s better to analyze them in advance. What are the critical risks of test automation? How to work with them? What do you do to mitigate risks, secure the project and meet the stakeholders’ expectations? This article gives answers to these questions.

What are the test automation risks?

In general, the risk is an unexpected outcome with a negative impact. Some risks lead to catastrophic consequences, so it’s essential to identify, analyze, and mitigate them in time. There are three types of risks:

Project risks have a negative impact on project outcomes. 

Product risks threaten product performance and increase the possibility of not solving a user problem.

Business risks influence the financial value of a product and affect the company’s revenue.

Test automation is inherently designed to deal with the risks of releasing a low-quality product to the market. However, as we have already noted, automation also carries certain risks. Here is the list of the most common test automation risks:

  • Small or even zero ROI. The implementation of automation in any project requires a large amount of investment. Return of the investment is not possible immediately, it takes time and a competent testing strategy.
  • The likelihood that you will not keep up with the development of technology. The constant development of technologies obliges testers and testing to be innovative in terms of testing solutions, architectures, strategies, and tools. Moreover, ideally, testers learn the same things as the developers so that they can work together more productively. This is a risk that slows down the progress of the project. In addition, there is a chance that part of the product will remain untested. 
  • Unplanned budget expenses. You need complex support for test automation, which entails high costs of test automation tools.
  • Inadequacy of some testing tools. Not all test automation tools are able to minimize existing risks and not cause new risks. Choosing the wrong platform for test automation can negate all the possible benefits of automation.
  • Limited area of automated tests. The prevailing opinion is that automation solves all the problems of testing and allows you to release the product as quickly as possible. However, automation does not solve all problems, because automation is not applicable for several test types.
  • Untested test code. Test automation helps you dive into the product as deeply as possible, but the test code also needs to be tested. This is a risk that is often overlooked. As a result, unverified test code makes it very difficult to decipher when product crashes are caused by bugs in the product or test code.
  • Over-dependence on automation and, as a result, the release of obvious bugs. When you aim to automate as many tests as possible, there is a risk that you are automating those that you would like to do manually. The algorithm often does not see bugs in the user interface or design. On the other hand, such errors are obvious to a manual tester.
How you can mitigate test automation risks

Poor quality testing leads to higher expenses. Most of it falls on the development and testing teams, who have to run additional tests due to software failures and work to eliminate them. However, the project budget does not often provide resources for unplanned tests.

To prevent budget overruns and perform additional tests as needed, QA teams need to make sure they are doing everything they can to avoid common pitfalls that lead to additional testing needs, release delays, and quality degradation of the product.

Below, based on experts’ opinions, we have collected six tips that will help you mitigate the risks of test automation.

Tip 1. Have a clear set of test goals

For each automated test, you should have a full understanding of what you want to achieve with it, and what steps you will take after you get the results of this test. Having a list of goals helps the team understand what insights each of the tests give them, and also simplifies the testing process itself.

Tip 2. Don’t try to replace manual tests with automated tests

This is written about on all blogs that are related to testing, but still, we repeat this common truth again. Automation cannot 100% replace manual tests. Moreover, there is a list of tests that are performed exclusively manually.

Tip 3. Ensure app stability before running automated tests

Ensuring stability before running tests is very important, including in flexible environments. The application should be stable when you start running automated tests. When you don’t pay attention to application stability and execute tests, you get a highly likely risk of getting inadequate test results.

Tip 4. Run automated tests on a regular basis

Test automation is not a one-and-done process. To get the full benefit of automation, run tests on an ongoing basis. This will highlight existing failures and provide continuous feedback on the state of the system. To ensure that tests run regularly, initiate automated tests through the continuous integration system instead of manually.

Tip 5. Pay attention to the level of skills and experience of testing team members

When you work with test automation, the competencies and experience of testing team members are an essential part of success. Having expertise in test automation, as well as in programming and software development, will help in the successful implementation of automation.

Tip 6. Use the right tools for test automation 

The level of the test management platform is also important. How easy it is to use, whether the platform generates clear reports, and how well it integrates with other tools that you use for automation, reporting, writing tests, and communication depends on the speed of release and the quality of the product.

Zebrunner is a test automation management tool that covers various areas of work related to testing automation. Zebrunner toolkit helps you get test feedback and fix bugs as quickly as possible, integrates with the test automation tools you are working with, collects all test results in one place, and generates clear reports that are available to all stakeholders. If necessary, you can run thousands of threads at the same time and get results almost instantly. 

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