computer development

Maintenance and Test Suites — A Beginner’s Guide

Advancing technology is changing the way we think, act, and conduct business. With revolutionary technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, automation, and more, the emergence of technology isn’t going to stop.

With tools like test automation, removing errors while cutting back on time is becoming more streamlined than ever. Additionally, test automation is not exclusively possessed or controlled by big companies.

It has even become the foundation of most software development and testing organizations.

To make sure software is functioning properly and meeting customer requirements, testing teams, and software developers count on automated checks. Today, many companies have begun to take advantage of automated technologies.

We’ve created a comprehensible beginner’s guide to test suites and maintenance process techniques. Here’s what you need to know.

Automation Testing

There are two kinds of software testing: manual and automated. While some types of manual testing are indispensable, automation testing is becoming increasingly popular as it saves time and money on repetitive tasks.

Simply put, test automation is the process of automatically running tests, managing test data, and using the results to improve the quality of software.

Companies specifically like to use it as a quality assurance tactic, but its operations require the inclusion of the whole team of software production.

Why Test Suites Fail

Now, you may ask, “what do I do when my test suite fails?” For starters, there are usually two reasons why a test suite in software testing fails.

1. The suite is too large

At this point, the test suite might be so large and unbalanced that no one considers its feedback anymore.

The suite fails with each run, thus ejecting various false positives. Its runtime becomes so large, relevant updates have passed on without the QA team examining each failure.

2. The suite is outdated

Secondly, the test suite might be too outdated, which causes it to pass over bugs and errors that are more crucial to the users.

End-to-end (E2E) tests process the application and try to imitate how a user might operate it. As developers conduct updates, the pathways of a user changes throughout the application.

Outdated pathways won’t be able to sufficiently represent the changes or event orders that target what users are concerned about.

Since people use your application in ways you hadn’t initially planned, you’ll gradually uncover bugs that you’re masking with the E2E tests.

How to Effectively Create a Test Suite

Test suite failures do happen often. Those with well-maintained test suites frequently reach success by solving the problem with numerous tools and/or resources.

However, by building a well-organized test suite at the start, you can be more successful with your test maintenance system.

To create a better functioning test suite, you must have extreme prioritization.

End-to-end testing is a technique that tests an entire software product from start to finish. This process essentially makes sure the application operates efficiently. It also ensures all joined components work together properly.

Using E2E testing to conduct maintenance on test suites can waste time and money.

Many companies remain emphatic on running an unnecessary amount of E2E tests. Most engineering managers know the E2E tests are uncalled for, but they don’t have the option to cease doing so.

Comparatively, tests that are lower-level are easier maintenance, less expensive to build, and result in a higher percentage of customer satisfaction.

Building an E2E test isn’t a sensible decision since a lower-level test works just as well. Since most tests aim to ensure certain parts work, you should conduct tests that are lower-levels.

The Maintenance Process

The process of test maintenance can be broken into three specific categories.

Classifying maintenance into these groups lets you work efficiently by having different methods, specialized engineers, and prioritization guidelines for each.

1. Maintaining Stability

To maintain stability in a test suite, you shouldn’t wait until the test fails after distribution. Instead, run your tests continually against the same application version. Then, identify any irregularities so you can better fix instability.

To put a stop to disorderly distributions, consider setting up a continuous integration channel. Then, frequently run the tests in contrast to the test environment—specifically as a secondary channel for the QA team to oversee.

If a few tests occasionally fail, you’re now mindful of the instability within the test and can take the necessary steps to stabilize it. Keep in mind that stabilizing these tests should be prioritized over creating new ones; otherwise, they’ll break down.

2. Build-to-build Maintenance

If developers have to change the user interface (UI), they should use build-to-build maintenance. If anything significant changes concerning the UI, the test will fail. It won’t be able to identify the component with which it’s attempting to interact.

However, UI changes are typically rare. If you’re continually making UI adjustments, users will have to constantly learn how to use your application over and over again.

Before making the UI change, the QA team should prepare for these adjustments and react with ready-made updated tests.

Effectively conducting build-to-build maintenance takes place once you inform the QA team of upcoming changes to the UI, giving them time to prepare beforehand.

3. Long-term Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your test suites over time, you should make sure the test suite is consistently in line with high-priority application work sequences.

You must understand that there are only certain components people will use within your application.

Realistically, your application plays such a small role in a user’s life, they’re primarily going to attempt to understand what they need to.

So rather than building more tests, you must prioritize what exactly you’re testing.

Instead of producing any meaningful quality assurance, building tests while you make changes to your application will increase the burden of test maintenance.

In this case, the only method to avoid test suites failures is to gradually expand a QA team by knowing the tests to adjust.


Of course, there are various other aspects to maintenance and test suites. But to make sure your testing efforts are as efficient as possible, automation of the test suites is the ideal solution.

To make the maintenance process easier, it’s vital to prioritize and define goals for test automation

Author Bio

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Erik Fogg

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Erik is the MIT-educated COO and Co-Founder of ProdPerfect.

He loves unleashing the potential of the great folks in the world and loves helping make decisions with facts.

A couple of years ago he co-founded ProdPerfect, where he helps his team grow personally and improve their ability to help people solve QA problems.

He also helps customers use actual live data–instead of educated guesses–when deciding what tests to write and maintain.

In his spare time, he podcasts and writes books about making fact-based decisions in business and politics.