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What You Need to Know About Test Automation In Agile

What You Need To Know About Test Automation In Agile
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Software development has transformed over time. Developers have gone from executing a project in the “waterfall” method to the “agile” method. Due to digitization of businesses, there is a necessity to leverage software development and remain technologically advanced. As part of the agile methodology, software testing is carried out throughout the application lifecycle. This means that the detection of bugs happens much earlier on in the process, thereby giving a much wider scope for immediate bug-fixes. However, when testing early, certain tests are repetitive in nature. Handling them manually requires a lot of time, and does not leave much scope for QA engineers to work much ahead in time. Test automation, hence, is key to quicker progress at a higher quality.

Why do We Need Test Automation in Agile?

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In agile development, the emphasis is absolutely on building the right product and significantly reducing the overall risk associated with software development. Agile encourages and welcomes change, and to keep the change under control, the team has to invest in Test Automation. Moreover, investment in Continuous Integration is essential to shorten feedback cycles and to avoid having repetitive tasks executed by engineers.

A key principle of agile development is that testing is integrated and allows immediate and regular inspection of the working product that is being developed.

Agile QA team faces many challenges, a few of which have been mentioned below. Efficient test automation helps mitigate these challenges.

Automation tools and its approach should be decided based on the project requirement, as there can be different automation tools used either in unison or separately. There are different types of automation that can be used for validation like functional automation, Automated GUI, API testing automation, Mobile automation, or Performance testing.

Pros and Cons of Test Automation in Agile Development

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Advantages of Test automation in Agile Development:

As in any other software development model, the main advantages of automation are speed, reliability, comprehensiveness, programmability, and reusability. It’s no different for Agile as well; however, in Agile, the importance of automation is much higher than in any other software development models, because of the following reasons:

  1. Quick turnarounds: Unlike any other software development approach, Agile calls for quick turnarounds for QA. By implementing continuous integration in Agile, this can be solved.
  2. Repetitive execution: Agile calls for daily build deployments which can be certified using the right automation tool and a suitable automation approach.
  3. Quality assured: With a proper automation suite designed, the quality of the product can be assured at any given time by executing the automation suite. However, the test cases selected for automation need to have a good coverage of the application.
  4. Team is responsible for quality: Since automation is required in almost every phase of the agile process, the complete team is responsible for the quality of the product.

Disadvantages of Test automation in Agile Development:

  1. Agile tester skill set: Agile calls for QA to play multiple roles and have experience with automation tools, and at the same time have good functional knowledge which might be quite challenging to find in the market.
  2. Automation requires lot of planning: There is lot of planning required in selecting the right automation tool, deciding on the test approach, selecting the test cases to be automated.
  3. Developing automated functional tests is more challenging: Unlike in other software development models, in Agile, the UI is not available before starting automation. Most of the traditional functional automation tools depend on the object identification, which needs to be compromised. However, with good communication between the developer and QA, this can be overcome.
  4. Scope creep: There can be a lot of time spent on maintenance of the existing automation suite since Agile allows scope creep. This can be taken care of in the initial stages of automation development with proper planning.
  5. QA responsibility: With daily build validations for existing sprint and next sprint automation design, it becomes difficult for QA to manage both the sprints. This can be solved using two automation teams to work for existing sprint and new sprint.

Automation testing in different phases in Agile

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Automation is carried on at different phases in agile development as mentioned below


Cigniti Technologies understands that test automation helps accelerate regression test efforts in a cost effective manner, and allows constantly unattended execution. Cigniti’s test automation framework (CTAF) is a tool agnostic testing solution for validating complex business processes. CTAF uses a keyword driven approach to help non-technical users validate business processes. CTAF has delivered 30% improvement in productivity and 40% reduction in test maintenance efforts in numerous test automation engagements.


  • Sajid Khan, Director of Global Delivery at Cigniti Technologies, is a highly accomplished and forward thinking Global Delivery Director, possessing 18+ years of strong IT expertise, which includes handing global delivery teams working on various technologies, domains and methodologies. He has been instrumental in providing expert guidance and leadership to global teams in accomplishing and establishing innovative solutions for complex and challenging situations.

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