The questions I get most often is where to start with application test automation? Followed by what things to look for in a tool? I get similar questions whether it is test automation or robotic process automation.

But before I tackle the first two, the conversation I try to steer back to is what do you want out of application testing? What would a good output of your testing team be? Do you picture your test team as testers or a quality assurance program? graph cost of when defect is found

Early in the book “Foundations of Software testing”  is a nice graph.  You have probably seen it many formats with different multipliers. In short – the earlier a defect is caught the less it costs to repair.

How early in your development process does your testing team get to go?

For many of us in the COTS (commercial off the shelf software) or SaaS world we immediately land on Independent test phase. Nikhil Sharma  from Qentinel has a good post detailing the scope of the problem in SAP. I’m not picking on one large application. The same is true of many large applications. They are simply complex systems and after adding interfaces and integrations the combinations of defect and configuration errors  explode.

Many of us have our horror stories like:

“Let me tell you about the time we migrated Oracle EBS to a hosted environment and the 3rd party warehouse system timed out every 12 minutes because the firewall closed idle connections”

Back to  begin with the end in mind.

Before you start automating business process testing, the team will thank you if they have to have a clear vision of what the business process testing program goals are. What you hope it will achieve in the short term (less than 1 year) and long term (less than three years). This doesn’t have to be a long exercise – 30 minutes to a few hours to create. Often teams have a “gut” feel for the vision. Without the clarity of a documented vision – teams can meander through the work of testing.

The support you in getting that focus, we have a one pager template modeled after the V/TO™ from the team at EOS Worldwide.  If you are confident you have a clear vision already done and rock solid, then there is nothing to see here and I applaud you. If you are  borderline or a little curious we have teamed up with Shane from 5 by 5 to spend 30 minutes to create one for you. If you are not sure what your vision is for your testing team or if you want to see a sample and hear about how we go about this, we have an upcoming 30 minute webinar on May 20, where will go through how we get the vision down on one page and cover a little on business process testing program. Nothing smaller than 10pt font – I promise.