22 Reasons Why Test Automation Fails For Your Web App

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I can relate to the feeling where you wish to achieve flawless automation testing in the blink of an eye! On the other hand, I also understand the apprehension that is causing you to delay test automation. When an enterprise has just begun the transformation, there are a plethora of challenges to overcome. Even if you apply the best practices, some shortcomings can result in wastage of automation efforts. So, I’ve decided to list out 22 reasons that in my experience, are responsible for automation testing failure.

1. Impractical Expectations — A 100% Automation

For instance, if you are performing automated cross browser testing then the automation script for Selenium testing will render the display of your web pages across different browsers or operating systems. However, to decide if the website is rendering as per design, if the typography is well, if the text is appropriate is best evaluated manually.

2. What To Automate & How Much To Automate?

There is no perfect percentage or approximate figure for automation testing coverage that is applicable to every business. It all depends upon the web application that you are offering, and since different businesses are catering to different needs. It is only natural to expect a unique expectation around how much percentage of automation testing can one realistically go for? The scope of automation testing will differ from an e-commerce web-applications to static, dynamic, or animated web applications. So, if you are wondering why automation testing fails for your organization? Then I would recommend you to evaluate the amount of automation testing required based on the type of web-application you are offering.

3. Improper Management Leading To Lack Of Visibility For Test Automation

Don’t you think it’s a bit unrealistic to expect magic out of automation testing when half the team lacks visibility? Since automation has to be a collaborative effort, it is important to educate every team member about the related tools and processes, especially the freshers. You can accomplish this by holding team meetings and sessions to discuss tools, trends, and practices related to automation.

4. No Understanding Of Manual Testing Or Exploratory Testing

Automation is a way to save testing efforts. Software companies should use it to minimize repetitions and automate only those elements that are less prone to changes. Once that is done, the company should allocate their resources to perform extensive manual testing or exploratory testing to find unique test cases.

Read More: Exploratory Testing: It’s All About Discovery

5. Not Thinking Through And Scripting The Scenario

Since every scenario is different, scripting is a must. Even if you think it through, it’s all a waste without scripting the scenario. Ensure that the coding skills of your test engineer are at par with the complexity of the tests. Complex tests take a lot of time to automate. Therefore, with the development of brand new features, they often don’t get a chance to discover regression bugs. Make sure you keep these things in mind before you write down your test scenario.

6. Lack Of Understanding About When To Use Automation And When Not To!

It’s not viable to use automation when you are testing something prone to a lot of changes. If you are testing out a stable entity, automation is the way to go. Basically, mundane tasks that require a certain action to be repeated are best suited for automated testing. So test automation can comfort your regression testing process.

7. Improper Selection Of Staff And Resource Planning

Automation test engineers are some of the most difficult, yet, significant hires. To kickstart various automation projects, it is essential to hire testers with extensive technical knowledge. Instead of one or a few people carrying out automation testing, the entire team should be aware of what’s going on. Even though the investment in hiring technically sound staff is high, the return is worthwhile.

8. Not Paying Enough Attention To Test Reports

Some tests succeed and some fail in automated testing. Therefore, it is mandatory to examine test reports for faults and analyze the reason behind the failure of certain tests. It is better to conduct the analysis manually so as to uncover genuine failures. It is vital to unmask hidden problems and make sure that they don’t get overlooked due to masking by other issues.

9. Bottom-Up Approach In Defining Your Automation Goals

You can eliminate uncertainties by starting small and working your way up to complexities. Pick out stable functionalities and begin with their automation initially. After that, gather feedback to determine what’s wrong. Once you achieve consistency in their testing, continue with other functionalities. Have a customized approach for test automation since needs can vary for different project contexts.

10. Selection Of The Right Tool For Efficient And Effective Testing

Moreover, firms get caught up in the hype of a particular tool. But after opting for it, they realize that it doesn’t provide everything that they were hoping to get. Plus, every team has a budget and sometimes the cost of the tool exceeds that. Before jumping on to choosing a hyped tool, carefully line out the requirements. After that, decide what you are expecting from the tool. Be very specific in setting goals and check the correspondence with user acceptance criteria for products. You can also consult experts who are experienced with the use of these tools.

Talking about automation testing tools, if you are looking to perform automated cross browser testing on cloud then LambdaTest offers you a cloud-based Selenium Grid with 2000+ real browsers and operating systems, along with integrations to multiple third-party CI/CD tools.

11. Ignoring False Negatives & False Positives

Sometimes, a system works fine fundamentally. However, automation scripts don’t reflect the same. They state otherwise and cause a false positive scenario. Thus, it creates a situation of confusion and wastes time, effort, and resources. I have seen how frustrating it is for the testing team trying to find something that isn’t there!

Another scenario is that when the automation script gives the green signal and there is something wrong. The system isn’t working as it should but the script declares otherwise. Network issues can cause discrepancies in the test environment settings. This occurs due to a lack of accuracy in the beginning stages of a database. Leaving a system in a compromised state can cause catastrophic consequences in the long term.

12. Web Elements With Undefined IDs

13. Not Leveraging Parallel Execution

Unlike the sequential running of tests, parallel execution enables the execution of multiple tests in different environments at the same time. But automated testing can cause unintended code interactions. It makes it challenging to debug the cause of the failure so you need thorough reporting mechanism, offering detailed insights regarding your test execution.

14. False Estimations Of ROI Through Test Automation

There are many metrics that one may consider while calculating ROI on test automation such as test maintenance, cost involved in buying necessary test automation tools, resources on-board, and more. Planning impractical ROI can be problematic for many organizations and may be the reason why test automation fails.

How Do You Calculate Your ROI On Test Automation With Selenium?

15. Failing To Evaluate The Ripple Effect

You need to evaluate the ripple effect. Your web-application is going to be a mixture of numerous test automation scripts meant to test different modules and processes. If one test scripts fail to execute properly, it could trigger test automation to fail for other scripts too. That is not all, ripple effect should also be calculated while resource planning.

Say you are having a Senior resource who wrote a script way back and has now left your company. You may not have thought of the ripple effect that the resignation may have in future timelines of your automation projects. Which is why you need to document every detail about every automation test script in your system. The documentation should serve as a standard for budding automation testers as well as experienced automation testers.

16. Test Suites Are Not Static thing — it should evolve and change as platform evolve / Unadaptable Test Suites

17. Automating One Process And Hopping To Another Without Looking Back

18. Failure To Collaborate

It’s a multi-dimensional software development process, where all the teams are working simultaneously to develop a web application. You have a team of developers designing front-end, another responsible for backend, a team responsible for middleware activities. As a tester, you need to understand which team is responsible for which module. You have to stay up-to-date with product enhancements committed by different teams and make relevant changes to your automation script, to ensure your test automation doesn’t fail.

19. Manually Setting Up The Test Environment Before Executing Every Test Automation Suite

For instance, if you are performing automated cross browser testing with an in-house Selenium Grid to test your website of macOS and windows operating systems for Google Chrome and Safari browsers. Now, you may have to face the hassle of setting up a new OS every time before you run your Selenium scripts. In such cases it is better to opt for a cloud-based cross browser compatibility testing tool such as LambdaTest, which offers you instant access to more than 2000 combinations of browsers + OS.

20. Running Multiple Test Suites On A Static Test Environment Repeatedly Without Cleaning

For instance, say you need to test your web-applications for different geographies. While performing geo location from a static test environment. There is a possibility that your script may encounter a test from Google asking you to prove that you are not a bot. This would lead to failure of test automation script.

Which is why LambdaTest offers you a fresh virtual machine with cleared cached so you get accurate results for your automated cross browser testing scripts.

21. The Test Environment Itself Is Buggy

22. There Are Errors In The Test Code Itself

Summing It Up

Remember, the reasons I’ve mentioned above are not the only ones that can lead to test automation failures. You are likely to encounter new obstacles as you make progress. But to avoid catastrophic failure, stay aware of the complications and keep an eye on the solutions. Happy testing! 🙂

Originally published at LambdaTest

Author Ramit Dhamija

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Written by

Product Growth at @lambdatesting (www.lambdatest.com)

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