QA Focus

Aug 23 2008   12:28AM GMT

How to Implement a Functional Test Automation Methodology

Sentinel627 Greg Annen Profile: Sentinel627

A lot of people talk about using a “Methodology”, but what does that really mean? There are many complicated meanings for the word “methodology” itself, in Wikipedia and elsewhere. Personally, I have always taken it to mean “writing down (the -ology part) the way things are done (the method part) for a given process.”

OK, so I sit down, write up how everything is or should be done for functional test automation, and I have my methodology. What do I do with this scholarly work? Why, implement it, of course! Here are the steps I have used successfully in many automation engagements.

Discover
* Conduct Discovery Session(s) with subject matter experts, QA analysts, testers
* Establish Functional Test Goals
* Define Application(s) Under Test
* Review Requirements, Design Specifications, and Manual Functional Tests
* Identify Business Processes to Automate
* Identify Test Resources (Tools, Staff, Skills, Environments)
* Create Test Plan
* Develop Detailed Project Plan

Develop
* Exercise AUT (that’s Application Under Test, for you newbies)
* Build Test Data
* Create Business Component Tests
* Define Test Plan Components
* Customize Test Scripts and Function Libraries
* Create Test Sets and Parameters
* Dry-Run Test Sets (Test the Tests)

Execute
* Verify Test Readiness (App Build Complete?)
* Validate Test Data
* Execute Test Cycles (Iterations)
* Review Functional Test Results
* Identify Defects

Analyze
* Analyze defects discovered
* Submit Defects to Development for Resolution
* Retest Cycle for Closure
* Validate results with stakeholders

Report
* Perform Test Coverage Analysis
* Test Execution Metrics
* Present Report(s) to stakeholders

Transition
* Knowledge Transfer
* Framework Support and Maintenance (Ongoing)

– each section includes Key Terms, Roles & Responsibilities, and Deliverables
– effort (number of tasks) diminishes as method progresses

If you are not a newbie (an oldbie?), then you might recognize that this is a kind of mashup between standard QA processes and test automation. Since test automation is really just another method for executing tests, this is a natural fit. As with all good things, a solid QA process is reusable in different situations, including automation.

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