Best Practices for Testing Automated Scripts

Best Practices for Testing Automated Scripts

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Automated testing is a critical component in modern software development, especially within Agile frameworks. However, many QA professionals grapple with the question of how much testing is necessary for their automated scripts. This article aims to provide practical guidance on this topic, drawing from expert insights and real-world experiences.

Testing Automated Scripts: How Much is Enough?

One of the most common concerns among QA professionals is determining the extent to which automated scripts themselves should be tested. Here are some key points to consider:

  • **Testing the Test Code**: Generally, beyond running the test cases and conducting code reviews, additional testing of the test cases themselves may not be necessary. However, if you have reusable test code components, it might be beneficial to test these to ensure their reliability.
  • **Implicit Testing**: Every time you run your test cases, you are inherently testing your test harness and fixtures. If you observe different results on the same piece of code after significant changes, it may indicate a bug in your test code.
  • **Regression Testing**: Running regression tests after modifying your test code can help ensure consistency and reliability. This practice can serve as an implicit test of your test code.

Integrating Automated Testing in Agile Development

Another common question is whether automated testing should be treated as a separate project or as part of the Agile development cycle of the product. Here are some insights:

  • **Part of Agile Development**: It’s generally recommended to integrate automated testing within the Agile development cycle. This approach ensures that testing keeps pace with development, providing immediate feedback on newly developed features.
  • **User Stories and Test Cases**: Automated tests should be written and executed alongside the development of user stories. This practice ensures that the tests are aligned with the current functionality of the application.
  • **Test Harness Changes**: While test cases and fixtures can be tasks within user stories, significant changes to the test harness might warrant their own user stories. This distinction helps in better tracking and managing the testing efforts.

Ensuring Robustness and Correctness of Automated Scripts

As a sole QA person, ensuring the robustness and correctness of automated scripts can be challenging. Here are some strategies to build confidence in your scripts:

  • **Code Reviews**: If possible, have your test scripts reviewed by a peer. Code reviews can help identify logical errors and improve the overall quality of the scripts.
  • **Baseline Validation**: Establish and validate baselines to ensure your scripts generate correct responses. This practice helps in maintaining the accuracy of your tests.
  • **Modular Scripts**: Aim to make your scripts more modular. Modular scripts are easier to update and maintain, especially when there are changes in the application’s flow or structure.
  • **Parallel Testing**: Occasionally, conduct parallel testing where both automated and manual testing are done concurrently. This approach can provide additional validation and boost confidence in your automated tests.

Advanced Techniques: Mutation Testing

For those looking to go beyond the basics, mutation testing is an advanced technique worth considering. Mutation testing involves making small, random changes to the system under test to see if your tests catch these changes. This technique can help ensure that your tests are thorough and reliable.


Automated testing is essential for maintaining software quality, but it requires careful planning and execution. By integrating automated testing within the Agile development cycle, validating baselines, and employing techniques like mutation testing, you can ensure the robustness and correctness of your automated scripts.

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Explore more about how Repeato can enhance your testing strategy by visiting our documentation and blog.

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