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Step by Step Guide to Implement Proof of Concept (POC) in Automation Testing

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Every organization has different testing processes and procedures. Manual Testing is important and irreplaceable- however automation is picking speed.Introducing automation testing to an organization is a challenge and following points will determine if it is required at all:

#1 . Duration of the project: Short-term or long term – long term projects are good candidates for automation

#2 . How much regression is done in each testing cycle? – projects that have repetitive and lengthy regression tests as automation reduces the overall testing time and ensures complete coverage.

#3 . Stability of the application: Application that is not susceptible to frequent changes should be considered for automation. Product which is not stable, where GUI/Functionality keeps changing, elements or its XPath on page keep changing should not be automated until stable.

#4 . Is the project data secure and does testing it requires some complicated procedures? – In this case, it is best to go for manual testing.

#5 . Does the organization have budget for automation? – Automation will add to additional expenditure for the organization like automation tool cost, resource cost, time required for framework development and writing/maintaining automation test scripts.With automation, missing tests or taking some test results for granted will never happen. It ensures 100% coverage of given module each and every time the same is tested. Automation will also help perform the same test multiple times on multiple browsers and platforms.

From the technical testing point of view, the QA team needs to understand the following aspects about their automation tool:
1.Platform and OS testing matrix
2.Data driven capability
3.Reporting capability and report portability
4.Easy debugging and logging
5.Version control supported
6.Extensible & Customizable (able to integrate with other tools like Ant, TestNG)
7.Continuous Integration.
8.Email Notifications (Custom email message received if tests are passed successfully/ failed/or any network failure)
9.If cross browser testing and multiple platforms testing is required then distributed testing environment is supported or not.

#1 . Application under test is a web application or a desktop application.
#2 . Choosing an open source tool Vs paid one.
#3 . Tool should fulfill the application’s testing requirement
#4 . Using the tool – the team’s expertise and comfort level in terms of using and learning the tools
#5 . Does it support reporting – If No what other options of reporting are available (open source or paid). If yes then how good it is in terms of conveying correct data from presentations as well as content point of view.

In addition, tool evaluation includes:

While selecting an automation tool it is very important to consider if it is supported on the applications GUI implementation.
1.GUI is implemented using traditional HTML or AJAX or other web development toolkit
2.Does GUI include videos, images or lot of written content?
3.It is interactive or only informative
4.Browsers required to be tested.
It is important to assess the tool on the above points to understand if the tool really meets the project’s testing requirements.

Developing proof of concept on automation:
Implementing an automation testing POC is a crucial and most often used method of introducing a tool to an organization. Once it is decided that automation is to be done and a tool has been chosen, it is time to create a prototype as a POC and present it to the management to showcase the real-time usage and benefits.

To do so:

1) Decide the test cases that we will use in the POC.
2) It helps to pick the areas the clients will be most interested in.
3) Plan to show manual vs automation in a way that proves that there is no degradation in the quality by choosing automation.
4) Include a test case that fails and results in finding a defect- this helps reinforce that the tool indeed can find defects
5) Use assertions and validation points wherever necessary.
6) Show clearly areas that can and cannot be automated. Usually, the following aspects cannot be automated:
•Video steams
•Flash content (non-static contents)
•Non-static images

7) Highlight if the tool satisfies the following requirements?

•Can it automate all the key features of desired application
•Is automation possible on the same browser that is required by the project
•Will automation call for change in application implementation? (like for automation it is important that element identifiers are unique and does not change every time the page is invoked)

Result of POC- it is usually one of the following:

1.Tools meets the project requirements– Work out further details. Such as, cost of implementation – negotiate prices is necessary, finalize license fees, training & support costs, consultation and implementation expenditures etc. In case of open source tools determine maturity of the tool, learning resources available, learning curve, support available etc. For both licensed and open source tools, maintenance costs have to be considered too. It has to be kept in mind that the benefits are substantial only over a long period of time.
2.Tool does not meet the requirements and has limitations – the tool is no longer considered.
3.Tool partially meets the requirements – revisit and check if another satisfies the requirements better OR if automation is totally out of the picture OR if there is any other work around with the same tool.

Once we present our proof of concept to the management and we get a go ahead from them, the next step is implementing a pilot project using that tool.


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