How Do You Choose What Tests to Automate?

How Do You Choose What Tests to Automate?

Posted on Posted in: Categories Blog, Scriptless Testing, Test Management

I get this question a lot and am often asked when we start Professional Services engagements with our clients.

The answer is simply to identify applications that present the highest potential business risk and start there.

What do I mean by business risk? If you look at the application(s) under test, and answer these key questions:

  • What would cause my company to lose money?
  • What would cause my company to lose business?
  • What is the environment in which I need to run my tests?
  • What types of issues are “escaping” the testing process?
  • What are the high-risk end-to-end business processes?
  • What are the processes that my business runs every day?

Make sure you’re not the only one asking (and answering) these questions, though. It takes a team of stakeholders in the business to really pin-point all the potential risks to your business. Everyone involved in the outcomes of the application need to be involved – application owners, business analysts, developers, executives and testers – so make sure you include all of these levels. Then, you can start putting together a set of test flows that will cover all critical business processes.

Consider this bell curve as representation of all the possible tests you can develop:


If you were to prioritize all the tests within your application, it doesn’t make sense to automate those that fall within the outer edges of the scale. These represent the lowest level of risk to your business, because of their low probably that they will be replicated in production. With manual testing, since it is so time consuming and costly, most test organizations are forced to make a trade-off and only test applications that fall within the center of the curve, around 1 standard deviation, if that. This gives you only 40% of test coverage of your business applications.

With a good scriptless automation tool like cFactory™, companies can easily create and maintain their functional tests, to streamline testing while at the same time extending coverage to at least 60%-80%.

This allows you to test a broader range of scenarios to ensure higher product quality, meet targeted SLAs, and minimize overall risk to your business.

What percentage of automation are you getting? Please share your comments – I’d love to hear your experiences, both good and bad.

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