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Are you looking to enhance your software testing practices? The test automation maturity ladder is a framework for evaluating and improving your testing strategy.
In this article, you'll learn about the steps of this ladder and how you can identify your current position, plus get practical strategies to climb higher.
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In simple terms, the test automation maturity ladder is a framework used for assessing how well you are testing and maintaining the quality of your software applications by utilizing advanced automation tools to achieve repeatable test results.
You can use the ladder to evaluate how mature your strategy is, and how you can improve it.
Pinpointing the maturity of your testing gives you a reference point for building smarter automation practices and advancing your objectives and goals.
Through a solid, scalable approach to automated testing, the people in your organization responsible for quality assurance can become more efficient, and as a result, reduce risk and bring higher software quality with faster time to market.
The test maturity ladder comes in various shapes and lengths (see our post on the test automation maturity model). It is a spectrum and reflects on one end a chaotic, ad hoc approach to testing, and on the other end, a proactive and strategic approach to testing. This is all part of the journey as we shift left and head towards the ideal of continuous testing.
A quick google search will reveal many variations of the ladder. Our suggested rungs of the ladder are:
At the base level, there is little to no structure to testing. Processes have yet to be defined, and as a result, all testing is done reactively. Without processes in place, task execution becomes unpredictable and success is difficult to replicate. Without predictability through templates, playbooks or processes, a lot of time is wasted on thinking about how to do something rather than how to do it better.
At the next level, processes have been defined on a high level, and these are managed to some extent. This means that where testing was before unpredictable, it now follows a set of rules, making it more repeatable and efficient. A step has been taken towards aligning testing to business objectives, and roles and responsibilities are starting to blend with devs and QA sitting on a level playing field with each other.
At the third level, a more structured approach to testing is being taken, and automation is being run not only at regression but occasionally on feature branches. Key metrics and data insights guide testing goals and team decisions. This allows for optimization of processes and greater control of releases.
At the highest level, QA automation is a key gate and first class citizen in the release flow. The focus is on automating not just every regression test, but also adding to the automated test suite live as new features are released. Test automation has streamlined workflows and creates efficiencies. Time to market has increased drastically as bugs are caught primarily by automated testing. Devs are not only listening to the test feedback, but are implementing automated tests themselves. Testing is proactive and has become a strategic decision to drive business growth.
The first step in climbing the ladder is to identify where you are on it.
Next is understanding the challenges teams face at each level and how to face those challenges head-on.
Teams can then implement test automation best practices and strategies based on where they are to move up the ladder.
This includes introducing:
Related reading: How Mature is Your Testing Strategy?
The best way to identify how to climb up the test maturity ladder, and to stay at the top, is to dive further into the steps outlined above through examples and guidance.
Join us for our webinar where we will uncover the challenges of keeping a mature test strategy in an ever-developing technological world.
We’ll share how to overcome challenges and the risks they bring and give you practical strategies to improve your testing to move up the maturity ladder.
Last, we will showcase an easy-to-use and maintainable test automation solution that can enable a scalable strategy.