Test automation is an important element today in the overall quality of a product developed and productivity of the product teams at large. Despite its importance it is not a no-brainer solution that is applicable across all scenarios of work. The Return on Investment (RoI) of test automation is a very subjective but required value to be calculated specific to the team’s and product’s requirements in determining what, when, how, how much to automate strategies.
The RoI for test automation is even more important given that:
- Teams are pushing for 100% automation but automation is not cheap
- Automation is not cheap both to develop and to maintain
- Automation requires special skills (may or may not be programming) and manual testers are taking the time and effort to acquire them – so I wouldn’t say automation is taking away manual testing jobs as it is focused on bringing in more efficiencies, but it may sometimes be a necessary evil that needs to be weighed in right from an RoI standpoint
- RoI is not limited to just the test team’s automation usage but also the return coming in from usage across product team functions – such as the development team, support and operations team, business teams etc.
- In the current day scenario the test teams are focused on building automation in sprint as soon as requirements/stories are outlined and are spending precious test cycles on automation rather than coverage they may have got manually
- There is collective ownership for quality across all product functions and automation is a significant tool that helps them achieve the same
- End user expectation of quality is on rise while simultaneously time to market continues to shrink; competition is also tight
Given all of the above, the strategy towards automation RoI should take in overall usage across disciplines, ability to bring in continuous testing in the continuous delivery evolution to be weighed against the investments made including training the manual engineers move into automation – this is also an expense head to be considered in the overall scheme of automation RoI to ensure that end of day, no stone has been left unturned.