Which Tests Should We Automate?

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Which Tests Can We Automate?

When we look at the different types of tests and the Agile Testing Quadrant, which tests in which quadrant can we automate?

In general, any tests that can be scripted can and should be automated. If we can map out a series of preparatory steps, followed by an action that results in an expected value or response, then this is a test that can be automated. Doing it manually is time consuming, exhausting, inefficient and not sustainable.

So which tests fall in this bucket?

  • Unit, Integration, Component, and System – Yes
  • Functional and UAT – Yes
  • Performance, load, security, and stress – Yes
  • Exploratory and Usability – No or at least not yet!

Almost all of the tests with the exception of exploratory testing and usability testing can be automated. It is these types of tests where we need human observation and analysis to determine the types of tests and the results of the tests.

Exploratory tests by definition are non-scripted so automating them is not currently possible (though with the advances in AI, who knows?)

Usability tests involves human interactions and observations and cannot be automated.

So the majority of our manually testing time should be spent on these types of tests (usability and exploratory). This does not mean that we do not do manually testing in other areas, like functional or acceptance testing for example. It just means that most of the tests in the other areas can and should be automated so we can have our limited manual testing time spent in the areas where we cannot automate.

Also check out the entire Agile Testing series: