The first reason for test.fail issues can be that the feedback from the test suite is not taken into consideration anymore since it has become extremely large and unstable. When the test suite becomes unstable, it could lead to frequent failures, and it might throw many false positives as well. The critical updates continue to take place before the team gets the opportunity to investigate the failures. When the software is being released in a rush, the maintenance of the test suite is neglected.
Another reason could be that the test suite is not updated when the software development team is making changes to the application. The engineering resources that are usually required to maintain the test suite in software testing could have been directed elsewhere. This leads to the test suite becoming outdated. Over time, it will not be able to catch the bugs and issues with an application.
Rethinking the test suite maintenance process
When the test suites are well-maintained, businesses can succeed in throwing engineering resources at the test.fail problems. In order to incorporate test suite maintenance in your business, you need to rethink the maintenance process. This process can be divided into build-to-build maintenance, stability maintenance, and maintenance over time. By dividing the maintenance process into three different categories, specialized engineers can be assigned to look after each one. In addition to this, you can also set different prioritization rules for each one of the processes.
- Build-to-build maintenance. Build-to-build maintenance can be used when changes need to be incorporated in the user interface (UI). If the workflow being tested by the developer or anything about the UI undergoes substantial change, a test.fail is likely to occur. This is because the test suite will not be able to find the element it is trying to interact with. However, UI change is something that does not take place as frequently. Even so, it is important to have a feedback loop between developers and the QA team in place when any UI change does take place. The feedback should be ensured before the development and after the design process. When the QA team is aware of any changes in the UI, they can prepare for the changes. This ensures that the build-to-build maintenance is done well.
- Maintaining stability. If you want to ensure stability in test suite maintenance, it is important not to wait until the test.fail before you deploy maintenance measures. You should try to run the tests against the same application versions repeatedly and check for any inconsistencies in the failing and passing tests. By running the tests repeatedly, you will be able to catch instabilities in the system and find solutions to stabilize them. If you find any unstable tests, your first priority should be to fix them, or they will end up downgrading over time. You do not want to leave your list of unstable tests unchecked; otherwise, the entire test suite would become unmanageable over time.
- Maintenance over time. In this part of the maintenance process, it is important to ensure that the top-priority application workflows are aligned with the test suite. One of the main reasons behind the degradation of test suites is when the new tests are constantly being added every time a new feature is released. While the UI changes as you expand the set of features, the test suite would also have to be expanded to a certain extent.
By keeping these few things in mind, you will be able to incorporate test suite maintenance in your business. Over time, the test assets in your test suite will evolve, which is why it is important to undertake scheduled maintenance and check whether the test assets are valid or not.