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Team performing automatic tests. Structure and tasks
“Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”.
--- Mattie Stepanek, We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World
Modern ERP systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, are designed to meet the dynamically changing market expectations. This is due both to the need to adapt to the individual needs of enterprises, but also to changing technology and business environments.
This makes frequent ERP updates a desirable and permanent feature of this type of software. For example, Microsoft releases new updates and with them new features and fixes at least four times a year. The implementation of new versions provides companies with tools that meet current market requirements.
Conscious and responsible economic operators introduce updates and the development cycle, which they always thoroughly test before launching. Entrepreneurs more and more often use test automation as a process that is definitely the most efficient and generates much fewer emergencies, compared to more classic, manual solutions.
This approach not only improves the accuracy of the entire project, but also saves time and resources, and allows testers to perform their strategic duties. The basis of a properly designed automated testing strategy is a qualified and well-coordinated team of specialists.
Testing team and ... a business specialist
The Automated Testing Team includes not only professionals who perform the strictly IT-part of the process, but also specialists in various business operations. Testing ERP software isn’t just a set of scripts created by programmers. Modern solutions in this matter – such as Executive Automats
– also allow non-technical staff to register activity related to tests in the system and then delegate further tasks to programmers. Thus, apart from typically technical tasks, the business perspective is also valuable.
This means that the composition of the automation team should be varied and closely matched to the company's needs, as well as the scale of the project and technical requirements.
Technology leaders are responsible for technology issues, code changes, and practical automation tips. On the other hand, a business representative watches over business priorities and consultancy in this area.
Depending on the needs, such teams can also use the knowledge of other specialists, e.g. experts in a specific technology or the field of business.
Automated Testing Team. The roles.
It should be repeated that in the testing team it's important to match the skills of each member with their responsibilities. Thus, creating scripts requires practical programming skills, and recording case scenarios, necessary to prepare the right code - the right commitment to business issues. In turn, the workflow should be controlled by management professionals.
Most projects of this type will require cooperation:
Test Automation Engineers
They are specialists who prepare scripts for automatic tests. Their tasks include creating and maintaining a set of tests and building groups of test cases cooperating with the automatic testing tool.
Properly prepared strategies should be planned and implemented by managers. Perception of potential risks, prediction of errors even before they occur, calculation of ROI, quality control of project execution and preparation of reports are the main responsibilities of the manager.
To ensure proper level of cooperation and transparency of the test project, test teams commonly use the Microsoft Azure DevOps automation test management tool. These programs are operated mainly by Test Managers – persons responsible for all testing processes and stages.
Team leaders implement the guidelines provided by Test Managers, i.e. on their basis they test functions under properly defined test conditions. They are responsible for developing a test plan and directing its execution, as well as coordinating other areas necessary to perform tests. Team leaders should have the authority to assign tasks and control the workflow of team members.
Subject Matter Expert and Functional Analysts
They represent the business side of the team. Subject Matter Experts have the necessary qualifications and authority in the field of a specific business process. These people share a unique and deep knowledge that increases the understanding and specificity of the task carried out by the team. They play a vital role in any automated testing team. SMEs define and concretize business needs, test requirements and software functionality.
What's equally important is that they bring together two parts of the team - business and technical. In smaller projects their role can be taken over by business specialists. Larger projects often require the presence of consultants performing similar tasks. Subject Matter Experts are often supported by Functional Analysts, focusing on smaller, separate areas.
Effective and efficient Test Automation Team
Automation Teams often differ from each other. They have to be adapted to the company's culture, resources, budget, and type of test tool. For some projects it's enough to use a single test tool, without the need to involve many specialists.
On the other hand, commercial solutions, such as Executive Automats, do not require detailed test instructions from the company, but recordings, which can be prepared by selected department employees on their own - after two hours of training.
In such cases, the role of SME can be taken over by an entrepreneur, even if he doesn't have extensive technical knowledge.
Teams can also use additional tools, such as automation robots, to turn parts of manual tests into automated ones, for example. While the tester is doing a manual test, the recording can run in the background documenting the activity and creating a test script. Document maintenance can also be automated through integration (as is the case with Executive Automats and Microsoft Azure DevOps).
Automatic testing has definitely contributed to increase the level of confidence in product quality, while providing the required stability and performance for large projects. The key element of the testing process remains an appropriately selected and prepared team of specialists, quickly responding to dynamically changing business needs. Its activities translate into all the benefits of automation.
It's worth noting that automatic testing tools can perform a huge part of the work done manually, which eliminates the need to expand the Testing Team.