Answer to this question is challenging because there are many factors to consider
- You want to support your test activities by means of a software tool, but you don't know tools currently available in market
- Which type of tool will best fit the requirement and the project budget?
- Who on the team has the skills to use the tool once you have purchased it
This tutorial will help you answer the above questions
The importance of the software testing tool selection
Success in any test automation depends on identifying the right tool for automation. Selecting the “correct” Testing Tool for your project is one of the best ways to achieve the project target. The following example will show you the benefit of the testing tool selection
In the project Guru99 Bank, to save the effort of testing, the project team decided to use an automated testing tool for the test execution. After many meetings, your team selected a suitable tool for the project.
One month later, you got the report from the project team about this tool
The results are great. The new automated tool doubled the testing productivity. It means we saved 50% cost of test execution
This is an example of the benefit of using the testing tool in the project. Selecting the right testing tool help you to improve the project productivity and save project cost.
Type of test tools
There’re many types of test tool, which Test Manager can consider when selecting the test tools.
Open source tools are the program wherein the source code is openly published for use and/or modification from its original design, free of charge.
Commercial tools are the software which are produced for sale or to serve commercial purposes.
Commercial tools have more support and more features from a vendor than open-source tools.
In some Testing project, the testing environment, and the testing process has special characteristics. No open-source or commercial tool can meet the requirement. Therefore, the Test Manager has to consider the development of the custom tool.
Example: You want to find a Testing tool for the project Guru99 Bank. You want this tool to meet some specific requirement of the project.
Automation Feasibility Analysis
Back to the above example, the project team decided to develop a custom tool which can meet project requirements. Suppose they have been given 100 test cases to automate and they estimated 5 days to develop a tool which can automate all of those test cases.
Here is the result of their work
As in above scenario, the issue is that the test tool cannot automate all the test cases of test specification. It means that not all application features can be thoroughly tested using the test tool.
If the functionality of application under test changes frequently or is too complicated, it is difficult to create test automation for all the application features, because every tool has its own limitations.
If you don’t want to be in such situation, before selecting the test tool, you must analyze the test cases and decide which test cases should be automated and which test cases should not. This is the Automation Feasibility Analysis activity.
Automation Feasibility Analysis is the very significant contributor in testing. In this analysis, you need to check if the application under test is qualified for automated test.
Some factors you need to consider:
To know more about these factors, you can use a checklist which is included in this article
Tool selection process
To select the most suitable testing tool for the project, the Test Manager should follow the below tools selection process
Step 1) Identify the requirement for tools
How can you select a testing tool if you do not know what you are looking for?
You to precisely identify your test tool requirements. All the requirement must be documented and reviewed by project teams and the management board.
Consider the following example:
B) The tool can generate the test result in the desired format
C) The tester can select which test cases to execute with given set of test data
D) The tool can execute the test case automatically
E) The tool can judge and perform test output validation and mark test cases pass or fail
F) All above the items
Step 2) Evaluate the tools and vendors
After baselining the requirement of the tool, the Test Manager should
- Analyze the commercial and open source tools that are available in the market, based on the project requirement.
- Create a tool shortlist which best meets your criteria
- One factor you should consider is vendors. You should consider the vendor’s reputation, after sale support, tool update frequency, etc. while taking your decision.
- Evaluate the quality of the tool by taking the trial usage & launching a pilot. Many vendors often make trial versions of their software available for download
Step 3) Estimate cost and benefit
To ensure the test tool is beneficial for business, the Test Manager have to balance the following factors:
A cost-benefit analysis should be performed before acquiring or building a tool
Example: After spending considerable time to investigate testing tools, the project team found the perfect testing tool for the project Guru99 Bank website. The evaluation results concluded that this tool could
- Double the current productivity of test execution
- Reduce the management effort by 30%
However, after discussing with the software vendor, you found that the cost of this tool is too high compare to the value and benefit that it can bring to the teamwork.
In such a case, the balance between cost & benefit of the tool may affect the final decision.
Step 4) Make the final decision
To make the final decision, the Test Manager must have:
- Have a strong awareness of the tool. It means you must understand which is the strong points and the weak points of the tool
- Balance cost and benefit.
Even with hours spent reading software manual and vendor information, you may still need to try the tool in your actual working environment before buying the license.
You should have the meeting with the project team, consultants to get the deeper knowledge of the tool.
Your decision may adversely impact the project, the testing process, and the business goals; you should spend a good time to think hard about it.