Within the sphere of Agile software development, the significance of test automation has transformed, moving from a desired characteristic to an imperative prerequisite for efficiently producing top-tier software. Although many business leaders acknowledge the advantages of test automation in speeding up testing, reducing risks, and broadening coverage, there are still reservations about dedicating adequate resources to it. These reservations often arise from concerns about the perceived high implementation costs of test automation and the limited availability of skilled and experienced test automation professionals.
Notwithstanding these obstacles, the benefits of test automation are substantial. Nonetheless, convincing budget holders that the initial investment in time, effort, and cost is worthwhile can be a formidable undertaking. In this piece, we will examine strategies for effectively conveying business case for automation to decision-makers who prioritize financial considerations.
Accelerating Time to Market
Numerous enterprises have embraced Agile and DevOps methodologies to keep pace with ever-changing business demands. However, software testing remains predominantly reliant on manual processes within these organizations. This heavy dependence on manual testing presents challenges for QA teams, including difficulties in meeting development timelines, limited visibility, lack of innovation, duplicated efforts, and the inability to scale efficiently.
According to the Gitlab DevSecOps 2021 Survey, testing poses the most significant obstacle to achieving Agile objectives, as slow and manual testing procedures result in missed deadlines and increased costs. With prolonged release cycles, organizations become less competitive in the global market. Therefore, enhancing testing efficiency becomes crucial in reducing time to market.
Inadequate risk coverage is another important business case for test automation. Manual testing approaches lack a scientific way to effectively identify risks. For example, in regression testing, test engineers rely solely on their experience to write smoke/regression test cases, often leading to the omission of critical tests and resulting in unnecessary risks. This can lead to test coverage gaps, which pose a threat to businesses.
Fixing common defects after a release is significantly more expensive than catching them earlier in the software development cycle. The IBM System Science Institute states that it is 15 times costlier to fix defects in the later stages of development than in the design phase.
Return on Investment
Test automation offers a compelling return on investment (ROI) by saving time and reducing costs. Automating tests allows organizations to execute critical tests more efficiently, especially as Agile and DevOps practices lead to frequent software releases and increased regression testing. Automation enables a faster feedback loop between code development and testing, resulting in quicker bug resolution. By eliminating labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks, automation allows organizations to allocate more time to high-value activities, enhancing productivity and efficiency.
Tools like Opkey leverage model-based testing and machine learning algorithms to consider a greater number of parameters than humanly possible in manual testing, enabling precise test recommendations. This enables project teams to enhance test execution efficiency by prioritizing essential tests, instead of executing the entire regression test suite. As a result, teams save a significant amount of time, and as the saying goes, time is money.