Recently I've got some free time and implemented several automated tests for an application being in testing and development for quite a long time. I did not expect much from my tests but cutting the cost of re-testing the basics of the system functionality under different operating systems.
I have implemented only 4 tests that I have executed against only one operating system. To my sheer surprise the application crashed. It crashed on doing the same sequence of operations it has just did successfully in the previous tests. Hm... I have re-run the entire suite once again and it failed. Wow!
This is not the first time I noted that automated tests is not necessarily a replacement for manual tests. It is rather an addition to it. Automated tests help finding defects one could not find manually and vice versa.
Having said that there are issues your testers are unlikely to find manually, I dare say that automation is absolutely a must for any type of a project. Thos of you who compromise this idea to project cost simply do compromising the quality.
The cost of automation is not as bad as it may seem to be. I will write on this a little more in the following blogs. As of now, I may assure you the cost is not that big as you may imagine. For example, for those 4 tests I wrote slightly more than 200 lines of test code (just 200 simple plain lines of code!). This is all it takes!
It has taken me only one and a half day to create, debug, and run the entire suite on one platform. It just a little longer than it takes to it once manually. However, now I have a suite that I can run with a single click. I don't need to spend my time on it anymore. So I can focus on what matters instead of doing tedious routine work again and again.
When deciding whether to pursue automation, do not think of the losses. Think of what will have in return. Think of the advantages you will have. Yes it takes time and resources to build a reliable automated suite. However, it is worth of every dime spent on it when you are a little further down the road.
Good luck with your automated testing!