4 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a Test Automation Tool

From the assessment process, to moving into a pilot, organizations can benefit from avoiding these common mistakes when selecting the right automation tool for software testing.

  • Nate Custer
  • 21 August 2020

One of the most important steps that organizations often take during their digital transformation journey is selecting the best test automation tool to meet their goals. Yet, selecting the best automation tool can be riddled with challenges. Failing to select a tool that meets all the criteria of your industry needs, your individual organizational needs, and of your short and long-term goals can lead to overspending along with resource and time constraints. Selecting the wrong tool can also lead to little or no return on investment, and sluggish progress on your initial digital transformation objectives. It is important to note that dismal results can also come from inadequately implementing the tool, as well from improper training, lack of change management or understanding regarding the nuances and capabilities of the tool itself.

Selecting the Right Testing Tool

At the beginning of digital transformation projects, organizations commonly increase their automation testing capabilities to improve operations for what is often a mix of legacy, proprietary and off-the-shelf applications. Often, we see our clients utilize a mix of web interfaces, multi-cloud environments, and server-based applications -- at various stages of maturity -- running on Linux and Microsoft Windows variants, and perhaps even outdated yet critical mainframes systems. At the heart of their digital transformation journey is commonly the goal to rationalize the testing tool landscape with scriptless test automation – usually as part of a larger push to increase the automation environment -- as companies progress to a future state that is more fully Agile. Yet embarking on this journey, particularly when selecting an automation tool, require a solid understanding of some important best practices when entering the testing phase. And navigating these and other challenges requires partnering with a leader in global software assurance space that understands the needs of your organization, your industry, and can pair that understanding with subject matter expertise behind a wide range of tools.

Tool Selection Mistakes to Avoid

From the assessment process, to moving into a pilot, organizations can benefit from avoiding these common mistakes when selecting the right automation tool.

1. Simply Relying on a Large Consulting Company

Although firms like Forrester, IDC, and Gartner offer a wealth of information regarding automation tools, their recommendations are typically very general and not tailored to the specificities of an individual organization. According to Nate Custer, Senior Manager at TTC, "Large firms often look for the best solutions across a number of different industries, and we find that each of our clients have unique requirements which calls for a tailored approach."

2. Skipping the Pilot

Another common pitfall when selecting an automation tool is failing to run a pilot. "Analysis is an important step in the process," says Custer, "If a tool doesn't have a way of addressing specific needs that you and your organization have, that changes the whole process." A pilot process is helpful in terms of proving the technology to the specific needs of the organization. It is one thing to have a great demo, but a pilot can extend that demo to the systems and software your organization uses, whether the solutions your organizations uses are off-the-shelf or proprietary .

3. The Inclination to Pilot Every Tool

Another major challenge that often occurs is over-piloting by looking at all possible candidates. Falling into this pitfall can be time consuming and needlessly overextend resources that may be critical to your organization. According to Custer, “Good pilots require close feedback and observation from your SMEs and Quality Assurance teams…piloting every tool can possibly end up wasting a lot of time and resources.” Whenever possible, shortlisting down to one or two tools before launching into a pilot is a much more effective practice.

4. Performing a Pilot with Inexperienced Users

Often companies choose to conduct a pilot internally, and this leads to issues that stem from users attempting to test drive a tool without having sufficient experience in the tool to properly understand the tools limits within the organization. “Partnering with an organization that knows the industry, understands your organization and are experts in the tools you are interested in, is like hiring a professional race car driver to test drive a sports car versus letting one of your employees do it,” says Custer. Additionally, we recommend that your testing team have the following three important skills:

  • Technical Skills
  • Proficiency in Applications Being Tested
  • A Testing Methodology

Having testers who know the application landscape well, test well, and are trained in automation can make a large impact to the quality of a pilot. To continue reading, download our full White Paper.