Mobile testing platform Kobiton found that nearly 40% of companies participating in its study invested between 30% and 49% of their budgets in test automation between 2020 and 2021. Even if your company does not decide to make such a large investment, a failed test automation project will still generate financial losses. One of the ways to avoid this scenario is to incorporate a proof of concept (POC) in your automation project. Here is what a POC means for test automation adoption and how your organization can benefit from it.
What Is a Proof of Concept?
A proof of concept, also known as a proof of principle, can be considered an exercise aimed at testing the feasibility of introducing a particular solution, idea, or concept on a large scale. In other words, it involves reproducing the concept on a small scale so that its users know whether it will work in the desired way in practice.
For automated testing of large software suites like Microsoft Dynamics 365, a POC usually involves developing a small-scale framework for automated testing. Using such a limited solution helps companies identify the potential benefits of adopting a full-fledged test automation product and identify potential challenges. A crucial aspect of a POC is validating the concept in a real-world scenario.
Why Should Companies Use POC for Automated Testing?
Test automation requires significant investment, regardless of the tool you choose. Whether you prefer open-source Selenium or proprietary Executive Automats, a POC should not be skipped as it ensures that test automation adoption will be cost-effective. Below you will find more about the benefits a POC can bring to your organization as you transition to automated testing.
- A POC helps organizations get a clear picture of the financial prospects of the implementation of a selected test automation tool. A POC gives companies a deeper understanding of the costs involved, which are determined by the complexity of the tested software and the expected return on investment;
- A POC is a necessary step of preparation for the implementation of the final testing solution. It assists organizations in the identification of technical constraints, as well as software and hardware requirements that may hinder the process of adoption, and in understanding the skill gaps in the team;
- A POC is an essential component of risk mitigation as it enables early identification of potential challenges and bottlenecks, which allows companies to resolve them before they have a greater impact on the workflow;
- A POC is an effective way to demonstrate the value of test automation to decision-makers and stakeholders, which may be necessary to gain further support and investment for the project. A POC can be used to compare the performance of automated testing with manual testing too.
How to Perform POC for Test Automation?
To conduct a POC for test automation, you must first establish POC objectives, which should include automation of particular testing tasks, such as creating scripts or reporting results. Conducting a POC also requires selecting a test automation tool.
Next, you need to choose an appropriate test automation project that is complex enough to represent a real-world case and contains a variety of test scenarios.
Once these preparations are complete, you can move on to scripting, execution, and reporting. It is important to develop a small but representative set of automated test scripts.
Finally, you need to analyze the results of the POC to understand the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of test automation in your organization.
Do not forget to document the entire POC process to have access to the insights you gather during the process.
Common Mistakes That Can Compromise the Effects of a POC
The results of your organization’s test automation POC can be easily compromised and turn out to be unrealistic, especially if you skip the requirements-gathering phase or ignore real-world constraints, including privacy regulations and network latency. There is a need to maintain scripts and software updates in the same way you would after a full transition to automation, otherwise, you may not understand the associated costs.
Meanwhile, the lack of clear goals and realistic timeframes for the POC in automated testing can jeopardize the entire process.
Be especially careful not to overemphasize the role of the automated testing tool. While the choice of the testing solution is critical to test automation, it is necessary to remember that a POC is also used to evaluate the overall effectiveness of automated testing of your software compared to manual testing.
Examples of Goals to Set for a POC in Test Automation
As mentioned earlier, defining clear and measurable goals is critical to the effectiveness of a POC. Without them, it will be challenging to assess the results of a POC. Here are some objectives you might set for a POC in your organization.
- Evaluation of the suitability of the software selected for test automation to your organization’s technology stack by assessing compatibility and usability;
- Successfully creating and executing automated test scripts that cover the scope of test scenarios representative of the tested software;
- Assessment of the ability of your specific test automation tool to identify defects during regression testing;
- Generation of meaningful and comprehensive test reports detailing test results detected defects, and test coverage;
- Evaluation of the ability of your automated testing tool to perform a larger number of concurrent tests.
These are just a few examples of goals you can set for a POC in test automation in your company.
A POC can save your organization from ineffective investment in a test automation tool that may not live up to your expectations. It is an effective way to verify the feasibility of the test automation approach and solutions in the specific environment of your company and the software under test.