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Visualization: How to Use and Track Test Automation Results

Your test automation engineers may apply much effort to set up test automation project infrastructure. But they won't succeed without using effective and accurate visualization of test results.

Visible and accessible test reports that describe the progress on a project will facilitate the tracking of project status, syncing up the team, and making strategic decisions.

By Leo Prada, Technical Project Manager
November 12, 2021
How can you elicit from test reports the information needed to simplify decision-making? What can an indicator like failed automated test cases tell about a project status?

This article discusses metrics a good testing report should involve, ways to improve test reporting, and advanced tools you may adapt for a test automation project.
Why You Need to Visualize Test Automation Results
Having visualized testing reports, you can easily share them across the team and make swift improvements whenever needed. That will enable you to improve the test automation workflow and maximize team productivity.

Your test automation engineers may use visualized reports to track the project status and identify technical issues at a glance. These reports allow project managers to estimate the potential impact of minor changes on an entire solution and adjust tasks for engineers accordingly.

When visualized, automating test reports let engineers focus on sensitive project parts that may require additional testing suites and further changes. As a result, engineers may continually stay on top of the testing quality.
    Automated Testing Report: Basic Metrics
    Even though everything depends on the test automation tool you use, some basic metrics should be available as a cornerstone for result analysis.

    1. # of Scripts metric shows how many scripts a particular suite includes.

    2. The information about testing duration helps you understand how long a test execution takes and when the testing will be ready next time. However, it does not tell you anything about the quality of the tests you are running.

    3. Test Case List metric allows generating a tabular report that will be easy to read.

    4. Test Result defines Pass or Fail status without providing any insight about test coverage. If a test receives Pass status, it still doesn't mean a business need has been met.

    5. Machine or Environment metric informs you about the environment in which a test was executed.

    6. # of Defects is an optional metric that identifies issues without uncovering their depth and severity.

    Take those basic concepts as a starting point, arrange the information in a couple of graphs on a control board if the tool you've chosen fails to enable that. You will visualize and analyze test automation data easily.
    5 Insights to Help You Improve Automated Test Reporting
    'I remember my days working in large teams. We had a sad tradition: we would have review test results and spend hours debugging them, trying to make sense out of those reports,' said Nikita Sidorevich in his interview for Test Guild by Joe Colantonio.

    He added that delegating testing to algorithms trained by machine learning is a perfect use of technology to facilitate routine analysis. Automated test results analysis is a must-have to scale your automation testing efforts.

    There are inputs you should use to improve your test automation strategy:

    1. Performance of the Execution metric allows you to understand if the test execution was successful. But that is not enough since you may have run 100 tests successfully, but 30% of them might be false positives or false negatives.

    2. Performance by Test Case metric allows you to examine any particular case within the suite in detail.

    3. Using Time Analysis, you may estimate the time needed to run the tests and ways to optimize this process. But you will get limited information about the quality of the automation suite.

    4. Reports may help you differentiate the coverage by unit testing, which is a more mathematical calculation. Such a metric will show the amount of the code being unit tested but won't show all use cases actually covered.

    5. Coverage Business Requirements metric lets you make sure that each test links to the scope of a user story. If your team makes testing that covers just a part of the user story, you will have difficulties understanding the actual progress/coverage.
    Result Visualization Tools for Testing You Should Consider
    Some test reporting and visualization tools, such as Testrail, offer SaaS and local solutions to manage test execution and reporting with custom code. You can integrate it with your existing ticket management systems like Jira.

    Another solution is Zephyr, which is native to Jira. If you use that ticketing system, the integration is already taken care of for you. If not, you'd better look for other options of automation testing tools for visual reporting.
    Zebrunner is a solution based on the tester mindset. It provides real-time analytics to keep track of what is going on in a particular test session at a given moment. Test automation teams may also access a test log tracking option, screenshotting, and video recording. Such features simplify the analysis process for both engineers and managers whenever they have to deal with failed test cases.

    The QA Lead community recognized Zebrunner as one of the best QA automation tools for software testing. It enables easy native integrations with some of the most used ticketing systems, CI/CD, bug management, and testing platforms. This system helps companies understand what is happening with the product.
    Tacking Stock
    Every item you choose for a test automation report will provide a biased and incomplete view of the test status. So you may need a professional testing team as well as project managers to assist.

    Professionals will decide if there is an out-of-the-box solution that will meet your business needs. Otherwise, they will offer you to tailor features from scratch or find a combination of commercial software that supports some customization. As there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the best way is to probe the market and listen to what is out there.

    If you are looking for the simplicity of use, Zebrunner can help you at any stage of his project. Any test automation engineer working for an SME or a large corporation can implement this tool to get a full-fledged reporting system in a click. Using the Zebrunner package, which includes reporting and test execution, you may significantly speed up your time to market.