Business Automated testing

Test Automation Team: Composition, Roles, and Responsibilities

By Bartosz Szpiech on September, 30 2020
5 minute read

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Bartosz Szpiech

Bart is a Microsoft Dynamics fanboy. In 2019, Bart took over 130 international flights to help businesses solve hundreds of issues and show other ways how to assess the problems. Aside of test automation he specializes in Security Role based configuration in AX2012 and D365 providing full project leadership in that area.

Software testing is a critical component to maintain an efficient ERP-driven company. Modern ERP tools are exposed to being constantly adjusted not only to a company's needs but also to rapidly changing technology and business environments.

Nowadays frequent updates are not surprising but desired. Just have a look at Dynamics 365. Microsoft introduces new features and updates rollups of its product at least four times per year. Being aligned with new releases ensures the company an operative tool that is developed according to market needs.

 

Consequently, an aware company always enforces updates and development lifecycle with testing before “go-life”. While looking for better test coverage and effectiveness business owners reach for the test automation. It not only makes the testing process even more efficient but also provides testers with fewer emergencies.

Going from manual to automated testing can help to improve accuracy, save time, resources, and let testers to focus on high-value, more strategic work. The main core of a well-designed automated testing strategy is a compatible team.

 

Joined forces on board - why automated testing team needs a business specialist

It is crystal clear that to automate the testing process, people with particular skills are important. Not so obvious is that “particular skills” are not necessarily technical ones. Test automation is usually considered to be the script created by developers that test another piece of code. In recent years the process of script creation has significantly changed.

Along with the digital disruption, automation jumped into this field as well. Modern automated testing tools, as Executive Automats, allow a nontechnical person to record test-related activity in the system for developers to access later. It does not mean that no technical skills are needed, but it implies that a business perspective is extremely valuable as well.

 

Automation teams need different roles and responsibilities of its members. The structure should be adjusted to the company's needs, project scale, and technical possibilities. Certainly, all teams need two points of view on board:

  • Technical frontmen - a technology involved people that are responsible for ensuring the code and guidance to use test automation solutions that match technical needs. Within this group, two positions are necessary - the leader that drives the project and developers/testers who deliver the code.
  • Business representative - when the tech experts do not have the inside knowledge, the team needs a person that is able to set business priority and can ensure if the business value is delivered.

 

In specific situations, automation testing teams can require other specialized roles such as an expert on a specific technology or business expert in a particular field.

 

Automated Testing Team Composition

It is important to match the skills of the team members with the responsibilities of their role. Developing test scripts requires the knowledge of programming. Recording case scenarios that are necessary to create appropriate code calls for deep engagement into business processes that can be easily omitted by testers. The project workflow must be controlled and supervised with appropriate management skills.

Most of the automated testing project will require the collaboration of:

 

Manual Testers

Automation usually does not cover 100% of the testing scenarios. Manual testers, trained on how to develop tests, whether as data records or as scripts and use test framework, are prepared to use appropriate testing techniques and instruments. They are responsible for developing test cases, executing them, analyzing and reporting the results.

 

Test Automation Engineers

Automation engineers develop scripts to run automated tests. They are responsible for building and maintaining a test suite, and providing a collection of test cases collaborating with the automated testing tool.

 

Test Manager

The bigger the company and testing requirements are, the better-prepared testing strategy it needs. Well created strategies can be planned and executed by managers. Noticing the risks before occurring, calculating the ROI, supervising the quality of the project, and preparing reports - are the main manager’s responsibilities. They help with planning and controlling the testing process. To make the whole testing project collaborative and clear at first glance, also automation testing management tools, like Microsoft Azure DevOps, are commonly used. Such programs are operated in particular by Test Managers who are aware of all of the processes and testing stages.

 

Team Leader

As test managers identify testing conditions and features to test, the team leaders are the ones to execute them. Responsible for developing a test plan and guiding it, as well as coordinating with other areas to accomplish the test effort. Teas leaders should have the authority to assign a task and control the workflow of team members.

 

Subject Matter Expert and Functional Analysts

The business side of the team. Subject Matter Experts have recognized expertise and authority for a given business process. These people have a special, in-depth knowledge of a business area that enhances a team's understanding of a given process. SME plays a significant role in each automated testing team - defining business needs, test requirements, and software functionality.

On the one hand it is about knowledge sharing. On the other hand it is also about connecting two parts of the team - the business and the tech viewpoints. In smaller test automating projects SME role could be covered by the business specialists. Larger ventures frequently require participating consultants in this position.

Oftentimes Subject Matter Experts are supported by Functional Analysts - which are focused on smaller, distinct fields.

 

Build the most efficient Test automation Team in the company

Not all test automation teams are alike. It is mandatory to adapt to a company's culture, resource availability, budget constraints, and testing tool type. Some automated testing projects can be even executed using just a tool, without engaging many of the human forces. Commercial solutions, as Executive Automats, do not require detailed testing instructions from the business, but just recordings prepared by anyone from the particular department after 2 hours of training.

In such cases, the role of Subject Matter Expert can be performed by the business person, without deep technical knowledge.

 

Teams can also use tools like Executive Automats to convert part of manual testing into automated tests. While a tester is conducting a manual test, the recording can be running in the background to document the actions and create a test script. Moreover, the maintenance of the documentation can be also automated by the integration (as the one between Executive Automats and Microsoft Azure DevOps).

 

Automated testing has boosted the level of confidence in the quality of the product, and provided essential stability and efficiency for large projects. In parallel, a well structured team that responds to business needs still remains the key part of successfully driven automated testing strategy. A dedicated automation testing team helps with the performance and delivery of all the benefits of automation. Nevertheless, the team does not require to be expanded. Especially with the automated testing tools that can cover a huge dose of work yet performed manually.

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