How can you effectively approach automation testing in SDLC?

automation testing in SDLC

Software testing has emerged as an indispensable and perhaps the most pivotal factor contributing to software success today, where software and applications are omnipresent. Over recent years, automation testing in SDLC has proven instrumental in expediting the software development life cycle. A well-crafted test automation strategy serves as the cornerstone of software triumph.


User expectations from any software application are substantial. Developing and subsequently releasing software to the public entails numerous challenges. What if it contains bugs, malfunctions, or fails to meet expectations? Furthermore, the potential for security breaches amplifies the need for ensuring flawless functionality and security within software applications, thereby necessitating automation testing.


Implementing an effective test automation strategy ensures the creation of a bug-free application. Yet, the question arises: How does one execute this strategy? Some might consider bolstering the team with additional testers and relying on manual testing. However, this approach is not cost-effective. Moreover, manual testing alone is insufficient to explore all scenarios comprehensively or scrutinize functionalities as thoroughly as automation testing does.


What is automation within the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?


Automation testing in SDLC involves utilizing software tools and scripts to execute tasks that would typically necessitate human involvement or manual execution. This encompasses actions like running tests, assessing code quality, deploying software across varied environments, overseeing performance, and creating reports.


The application of automation spans various stages within the SDLC, encompassing planning, analysis, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. It’s important to note that automation isn’t about substituting human input or creativity but rather about amplifying human capabilities and efficiency by alleviating repetitive and monotonous tasks.


The benefits of automation testing are numerous:


  • Cost Savings
  • Expedited Development and Delivery
  • Precision in Results

Integration with Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) or DevOps practices


Automated Testing Process


The automated testing process encompasses a series of activities essential for automating diverse software applications. These activities typically consist of:


  • Test Planning: This phase involves outlining the testing goals, defining the test cases and scenarios slated for automation, and formulating a comprehensive test plan.


  • Test Design: Encompassing the creation of test cases and scripts, this step also involves designing the test environment by specifying the required hardware and software elements.


  • Test Execution: Here, the predetermined test cases and scripts are executed, and the outcomes are recorded for assessment.


  • Test Analysis: This phase revolves around scrutinizing the test results, pinpointing any defects or anomalies, and communicating these findings to the development team.


  • Test Maintenance: This stage involves the continuous upkeep and modification of test cases and scripts to align with software alterations, ensuring the test environment remains current.


  • Test Optimization: Focused on refining the efficiency of the testing process, this step involves enhancing the test cases and scripts for overall improvement.


  • Test Closure: This final phase involves documenting the test results and lessons learned, effectively concluding the testing phase.


It’s important to emphasize that while the automated testing process may vary between organizations and software types, the aforementioned activities are commonly employed and constitute fundamental components of the procedure.


What constitutes a strategy automation testing in SDLC

Now that the importance of having a test automation strategy is clear, it’s essential to understand its definition.


Put simply, a strategy of automation testing in SDLC functions as a subset of your broader testing strategy. Many of the methodologies employed in developing and structuring your overall testing strategy are mirrored in your approach to crafting a test automation strategy. 


Consequently, your test automation strategy should be positioned alongside other aspects of your system and performance testing. This is because it relies on similar datasets to determine what should be automated, how to execute automation, and which technology would be most suitable.


In essence, a test automation strategy operates within the framework of your comprehensive testing strategy, employing similar procedures and tools. It leverages comparable processes and metrics to define the audience being tested, user actions, tester responsibilities, developer tasks, and associated benchmarks.


What happens in the absence of a test automation strategy?


Let’s explore the consequences of not having a test automation strategy. The absence of a well-thought-out test automation strategy has been extensively tested in real-world scenarios, providing a clear understanding of the outcomes when such strategies are lacking.


  • Failure to demonstrate business value


When teams implement new solutions like test automation or other testing methodologies without upfront consideration of their business implications, they risk missing the critical connection to real business value. While the technology may seem promising and beneficial, without tying it to tangible business outcomes, there’s a high probability of the project being canceled or not approved due to an inability to showcase a return on investment (ROI).


  • Absence of a clear vision


Lacking a structured plan makes it challenging to maintain a coherent vision. Automation projects often require adjustments, such as integrating new applications or even switching framework technologies. Without a documented vision, it becomes easy to delay or abandon the project when facing obstacles. A defined vision offers a documented approach to addressing significant changes and making informed decisions accordingly.


  • Loss of technological efficiency


Without a defined test automation strategy, there’s a risk of selecting an inappropriate testing automation technology, resulting in what’s termed “technology efficiency loss.” It’s crucial for your test automation technology to align with the application being developed. Neglecting to outline and strategize this alignment may lead to mismatching technology and solutions, resulting in inefficiencies.


  • Unpreparedness for testing constraints


While Agile development aims to eliminate testing constraints, the reality is that such limitations persist in software development. Without a test automation strategy, deciding what aspects to prioritize under these constraints becomes challenging. Determining which scripts to cut, understanding the critical tests tied to business value, and making informed decisions become difficult. 


Without this guidance in the strategy, there’s often a scramble to decide what to prioritize, sometimes resulting in the blanket removal of tests, leaving unresolved concerns for the future.


How do you effectively approach automation testing?


An automation testing in SDLC serves as a roadmap that outlines the approach, tools, and practices to implement automated testing effectively and efficiently. An effective strategy for test automation encapsulates a comprehensive, reusable, and sustainable framework tailored for the entire software development cycle. 


  • Goal-Oriented Approach


Any strategy is built around a specific goal or endpoint. Similarly, software development endeavors have definitive objectives. A test automation strategy must align with these attainable goals. Designing the testing strategy to meet these objectives becomes more manageable when these goals are clearly defined, akin to determining a destination before planning the route.


  • Feasibility Analysis


Not all tests can be automated, and conducting an automation feasibility analysis helps identify which tasks are suitable for automation. For instance, consider automating tasks like testing across multiple interfaces/devices, and repetitive tasks such as login procedures, form validations, time-bound processes, etc.


  • Defining Testing Approach


After assessing the desired outcomes and identifying potential test cases for automation, the next step involves planning the testing approach. Deciding which tests to include in automation, how to execute them, and the order of execution is crucial. This phase also encompasses the Automation Testing Pyramid, which guides the selection and sequence of tests.


  • Ensure the quality of your data


Many test automation initiatives encounter setbacks attributed to data issues. What if you could verify data accuracy at the outset by integrating an additional script within your automation framework or executing pre-scripts to validate or upload data? This practice can potentially save significant time otherwise spent on rewrites or test redos. 


With each major framework update or release, it’s crucial to thoroughly assess your data management approach, storage methods, data sources, retry mechanisms, and considerations regarding data masking or de-identification.


  • Identify risk factors


An integral aspect of any test automation strategy involves establishing the sequence of testing tasks—what to prioritize and what to consider at a later stage. Employing a risk-based methodology can guide the prioritization within your testing automation schedule. Evaluating the risk or priority level of each test item involves gauging its potential business ramifications coupled with the likelihood of encountering failures.


Items deemed to have the highest business repercussions and greater chances of failure should be placed at the forefront of your priority lineup. Conversely, those with minimal business impact and lower failure probabilities should find placement at the lower end of the priority hierarchy. This strategic approach not only assists in managing testing pressures but also aids in delineating the components to consider for potential adjustments or reductions.


  • Setting Up Tools and Test Environment


Selecting suitable tools and frameworks is essential but often daunting. To facilitate this preference, elements like the form of framework/device, group talent, and economic considerations must be weighed. Opting for cloud-based platforms like LambdaTest, which offer access to a wide range of real devices and browsers, can be a prudent choice for cross-browser testing needs.


LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that streamlines your tasks more efficiently and quickly. It enables users to execute automation tests across a vast online device farm encompassing 3000+ browsers and diverse operating systems.


Additionally, LambdaTest empowers you to conduct test automation on your genuine devices, whether desktop or mobile, spanning Windows, iOS, or Android. Through LambdaTest’s cross-browser testing feature, you can perform tests across a broad spectrum of browsers, browser versions, devices, and operating systems.


  • Designing Test Scripts and Cases


The next vital element is drafting test scripts and cases. Test scripts are programs that automate specific functionalities, while test cases encompass prerequisite conditions, test data, expected results, etc. Writing clear and concise test cases significantly aids in the testing process.


  • Test Execution Plan


Developing a test execution plan is critical, incorporating steps for executing tests using Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) tools like Jenkins. Identifying the execution priority, following the software development life cycle, and conducting regression testing after every change are essential components of this plan.


  • Results and Documentation


Concluding the strategy involves analyzing test results and proper documentation. If the tests uncover a bug, robust documentation of the bug’s details, workflow, and stakeholders involved in resolving it is indispensable.


  • Testing efficiencies


Seek opportunities for testing efficiencies by applying consistent testing methodologies across various domains to streamline testing duration and resource utilization. 


For instance, when employing similar procedures for unit testing, manual testing, and automation testing, duplicating efforts among multiple individuals may not be necessary. A comprehensive understanding of your testing automation strategy, spanning from unit tests to UI tests, can significantly save time.


  • Utilize Agile 


Embrace the utilization of agile and DevOps tools while prioritizing robust documentation. Ensure that your testing automation strategy remains a dynamic and continuously updated document, reviewed at every sprint to align with your objectives. 


Embrace this practice by leveraging cloud-based platforms like GitHub to enhance its effectiveness. While not everything requires documentation, maintain regular check-ins and micro-strategy sessions. These practices optimize Continuous Testing Tools for Agile Teams.


In summary, a well-defined and structured approach encompassing these elements ensures a successful test automation strategy, enhancing the software development process.




Setting up and planning test automation for the first time might seem daunting initially, with potential gaps and complexities. However, with time and accumulated knowledge, the puzzle pieces start to fit! Once you initiate the process, automation testing can yield substantial benefits.


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