For the past two years, companies have leaned into digital transformation projects to keep their digital offerings at pace with their in-person operations. Rather than become a stopgap, this digital approach became the new standard for the modern employee and customer experience. It also creates friction between a company’s development team and its user base. How long should customers wait for new or updated applications in our increasingly fast-paced business environment? Companies need time for development and testing to deliver quality products, but will the demands of their users force them to cut corners?
Consider each stage of a customer’s journey. Visiting a website or app and putting something into the shopping cart is only the beginning. Behind the scenes, systems that monitor availability, sourcing, loyalty and promotions come into play. Following checkout and payment, there are systems for picking the product, packing it and delivering it with timely notifications along the way.
Businesses find themselves in a bind when they have to decide which of those areas to cut back on. There’s really no good answer—enter the continuous delivery mindset. We like to say there is no continuous delivery without continuous testing, but those two areas are often at odds with each other.
The good news is that there is a way to close the gap between customer demand and necessary development time: Test automation. Here are three ways that test automation can help companies satisfy both the needs of their business and their customers.
Relieving the Testing Bottleneck
Moving fast is becoming a competitive advantage for many companies. That speed-to-market opportunity has been heightened as cloud-based, low-code/no-code apps like Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Workday and Oracle have become an industry standard. Today, while plenty of development activities may be handled by low-code/no-code platforms, the test automation of these apps remains a high-code, high-maintenance activity.
To keep from becoming a bottleneck, teams should plan automation and testing strategies early in the process. This is where continuous development includes continuous testing. Suppose companies can make test automation accessible to more people by removing the need for specialized knowledge and daunting technical constraints. In that case, they will be able to streamline ongoing development cycles.
Ensuring Higher-Quality Output; Aligning Development and Testing
One of the keys to putting out a higher-quality product is by adopting in-sprint testing, which aligns development and testing efforts. Each feature is tested and automated as soon as it is implemented so that teams can more easily catch errors early rather than at the end of a development phase.
The automation also elevates the area of regression testing, as teams make sure new changes haven’t broken existing functionality. As automation moves into the mainstream, a wider range of collaborators become more involved in testing each additional feature.
Creating a Better User Experience
Historically, testing has been extremely focused on function and is very technical while user experience efforts remain focused on the stylistic and usability end of the spectrum. But creating satisfying end-to-end user experiences is a critical part of any application adoption, so the two sides should work toward a common goal.
That common link lies in a company’s business processes. Each process is the starting point for building and designing a test scenario. From start to finish, everyone understands the user’s journey and works together toward making that path as effortless as possible.
Today’s modern customers don’t expect a measurable difference in experience between online and in-person. Expectations are at an all-time high, leading companies to push updates to their websites and apps more quickly and more frequently. As companies increase their dependence on software, the way to test that software is evolving to keep pace with development speeds.
Automated testing can simplify and speed up the testing phase, catching many of the basic errors and leaving testers to focus on more complex functionality.