The transition from manual to automated Salesforce testing

In a world where winning the attention and trust of an audience is more complex than ever, nailing down your Salesforce app's performance becomes a big deal.

The transition from manual to automated Salesforce testing
Table of contents

What should you plan then? The first is to transition from manual to automated Salesforce testing.

Why bother with automated testing in Salesforce? Simple – moving from manual to automation fastens your testing process multifold. This article will guide you through this shift, helping you ditch the slow and error-prone manual testing for fast and efficient automation testing.

We'll start by breaking down the differences between manual and automated testing. Because before understanding the transition steps, you need to answer the "Why do I need this transition?" question.

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Author's note: Spoiler alert – automation wins in speed, accuracy, and scalability.

Once you've mastered the basics, we'll discuss the benefits of automated Salesforce testing, how to start transitioning from manual to automated testing, and how to improve once you've transitioned.

At the end, we'll discuss how Hutte can support you in this journey. Does that sound interesting enough? Let's get started with the basics first.

The differences between manual and automated testing

The choice between manual and automation testing for your Salesforce application testing process can make all the difference. But before you make the choice, understanding the distinctive features of each method is essential.

Manual testing: A methodical approach

As the name suggests, manual testing is a manual and hands-on process where human testers execute test cases without using any automation tool. Testers meticulously verify the application's functionality, identify bugs, and validate that it meets specified requirements.

Manual testing involves:

  • Manually creating and running test scenarios
  • Logging results
  • Adapting test cases as the application evolves.

Hence, it is always preferred when human intervention is required.

Pros of manual testing

Thorough exploration

Manual testing excels in exploring and understanding various features of an application, particularly in scenarios that demand a human touch for effective validation.

Intuitive testing

Through hands-on exploration, testers can identify usability issues, assess user experience, and ensure the application meets user expectations.

Effective for exploratory testing

Manual testing is well-suited for exploratory scenarios where predefined test cases may not cover the entire spectrum of potential issues.

Cons of manual testing

Time-consuming

The manual execution of test cases is time-consuming, especially for repetitive tasks, impacting overall testing efficiency.

Human errors

Manual testing is susceptible to human errors, including oversights, typos, and missed steps, which can lead to inaccurate test results.

Limited scalability

As the application grows in complexity, manual testing becomes less scalable, requiring additional time and resources.

Automated testing

 

Unlike manual testing, automated testing uses specialized tools and scripts to execute predefined test cases. These scripts are written by Testers or Developers and are designed to automate repetitive testing tasks, offering speed, consistency, and scalability advantages. Automated testing aims to reduce the manual workload, reduce testing time, and eradicate the scope of human error.

Automated testing is particularly beneficial for regression testing, where tests are repeatedly executed to ensure that new code changes do not adversely impact existing functionality.

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Author's note: Imagine having to execute the tasks repetitively for a living. Bummer, right?

Pros of automated testing

Rapid execution

Automated testing significantly reduces testing time by automatically executing repetitive test cases. Testers only need to set up the test cases and scripts – the rest is up to the automation.

Consistent and repeatable results

Automation ensures consistent execution of test scripts, minimizing human intervention and the risk of human error, providing reliable and repeatable results.

Scalability

Automated testing efficiently scales with the size and complexity of applications, handling many test cases across different scenarios.

Early bug detection

Automated testing facilitates early bug detection in the development lifecycle, allowing teams to address issues before they escalate.

Cons of automated testing

Initial setup and scripting

Setting up automated tests and scripting can be time-consuming, requiring a significant upfront investment. However, it paves the way for an efficient and error-free testing process.

Maintenance requirements

Automated tests need regular maintenance, especially as the application evolves, to ensure that scripts remain aligned with the changing codebase.

Limited suitability for exploratory testing

While excellent for scripted tests, automated testing may not be as suitable, often demanding a more intuitive, human-centric approach.

Differentiating factor

Manual testing

Automated testing

Speed

Slow, requires manual intervention

Fast, automated execution

Accuracy

Susceptible to human error

Consistent, script-driven precision

Scalability

Challenges with growing complexity

Adapts seamlessly to expanding code

Repetitiveness

Prone to fatigue and oversight

Reliably repeats tests without error

Cost efficiency

Resource-intensive in the long term

Initial setup cost with long-term efficiency gains

Despite the various pros and cons of both types of testing, the demands of modern applications, characterized by complexity and frequent updates, necessitate a shift toward automation. Automated testing expedites testing processes, ensuring rapid feedback and early bug detection, and provides a scalable solution capable of handling the complexities of large and evolving applications.

It offers organizations the means to enhance product quality, accelerate time to market, and ultimately stay competitive in the business environment.

Now, let's talk about the benefits of automated testing.

How is automated testing ideal for evolving businesses?

Emerging and evolving businesses within the Salesforce ecosystem can adopt significant advantages through automated testing. In terms of Salesforce, agility and responsiveness are of utmost importance. And for such factors, adopting automated testing becomes a strategic need for businesses on the ascent.

As Salesforce businesses often deal with regular updates and changes, testing speed and accuracy are significant factors in deploying changes efficiently. Let's talk about some of the direct reasons why automated testing is ideal for Salesforce businesses (or any other business for that matter).

Faster development cycles

Unlike manual testing, which is inherently time-consuming due to its iterative nature, automated testing operates at an unparalleled pace. The automated and swift execution of test cases significantly reduces the time taken in testing cycles. 

The automated and speedy execution of test cases allows you to run frequent tests and identify any bug before it hits production. This allows businesses to expedite the delivery of high-quality Salesforce applications. Salesforce development is synonymous with speed and agility, and automated testing is the boost your processes need. 

Human intervention vs automation

While manual testing has its place, especially for smaller entities with less complex systems, it struggles with scalability. Human intervention has inefficiencies, making it less ideal for more extensive, intricate Salesforce environments.

Automated testing, on the other hand, makes your testing process faster, more efficient, and less error-prone. The automation software and tools completely eradicate any chance of human error.

Reliability and accuracy

Automated testing is more reliable and accurate than manual testing as it eliminates human error. It follows predefined scripts meticulously, ensuring consistent and dependable results. This reliability becomes paramount in testing complex integrations and workflows within Salesforce, contributing to maintaining the overall quality and stability of the ecosystem.

Scalability with automation

Moreover, as your business processes grow, the number of test cases grows exponentially. This scenario gets too time-consuming and – impossible – for a few human testers to handle. But with automated testing, you can quickly expand your test suite to meet any complexity or number of test cases.

🗣️ Author's note: Human testers can't work 24/7, but automation software can.

Consistent and continuous

Automated testing comes with unparalleled consistency. This is handy, especially when managing regular releases and updates. It's the go-to for regression testing, ensuring that resolved issues don't come back with new releases. This consistency not only upholds the quality and stability of the Salesforce ecosystem but also empowers businesses to confidently deploy enhancements, minimizing the risk of introducing regressions.

Cost-effectiveness as the bottom line

While there's an initial investment in setting up automated testing frameworks, the long-term cost-effectiveness is undeniable. As your Salesforce business expands, the effort required in manual testing grows exponentially, leading to inevitable rework – a more costly affair in the long run.

Automated testing, as I've already talked about, significantly reduces time and resource expenditure on repetitive manual tasks. The initial setup cost is almost immediately paid off through increased productivity, accelerated testing cycles, and reduced long-term maintenance costs.

In short, automated testing fits perfectly with the dynamic nature of Salesforce-driven businesses. The next section'll dive into the practical steps to transition from manual to automated testing for your Salesforce business.

Transitioning from manual to automated testing

We're sure that you are now convinced to transition into automated testing. However, this transition is going to take more work than it sounds. But don't worry – we'll help you navigate the transition. Follow the steps given below.

Evaluate your testing needs

Before you start practically with anything, you need to be clear about your needs. Start by understanding your existing testing process (if you haven't already). Identify areas that could benefit from automation by focusing on tasks prone to human error, repetition, or those consuming an undue amount of time.

Figure out the high-value test cases that, when automated, can significantly impact your overall quality assurance efforts. Before proceeding to the next step, jot down any questions or proof of value exercises that can provide more insights.

Select a test automation solution

When you understand your current processes and loopholes, you can start figuring out suitable test automation solutions. Before you pick one, thoroughly evaluate both the product and the vendor.

Here are some parameters that you should look at before selecting a test automation solution:

Product parameters

  • Test resilience or fragility: Assess how well the solution handles changes in the application.
  • Reusability: Evaluate how test scripts can be reused across different scenarios.
  • Ease of use and learning: Consider the tool's user-friendliness and the learning curve.
  • Testing adjacent systems: Check the solution's capability to test integrations with other systems.

Vendor parameters:

  • Support: Ensure the vendor offers robust support services.
  • Training: Evaluate the training programs provided to ensure your team can effectively use the solution.
  • Customer success: Consider the vendor's track record in ensuring the success of their customers.

⚙️ Author's note: Demo multiple solutions to see which one best meets your Salesforce environment's specific needs. Remember, your ideal test automation solution should score high in terms of both the product and the supporting vendor.

Implementing your new solution

Now comes the implementation process. Mind you, it involves more than just setting it up and forgetting about it. You'll need to work closely with a representative from your vendor to set up the foundation. Then, work on a fool-proof test strategy that clearly outlines your automation efforts' scope, objectives, and approach.

As per your business, identify the types of tests that will be automated, prioritize them based on their impact, and determine the level of test coverage required. Establish clear lines of communication and collaboration between all teams involved in the QA process.

✍🏻 Author's note: I can't stress enough on this point.

Also, ensure that all stakeholders understand the purpose and benefits of test automation and involve them throughout the implementation process.

Collaborate with your vendor to create a comprehensive training program for all testing team members. This ensures that your team is comfortable with the solution and can effectively move from manual to automation testing. It is essential to understand that getting test automation software is just one part of the picture. The whole picture includes an effective test strategy and scenario, team communication, and test coverage planning.

Best practices for transferring your manual tests to an automated process

Before you transfer from manual to automated tests, you must put in some work upfront. Here are some best practices for identifying and transferring manual tests into automated tests.

Identify automation-worthy cases from manual test cases

Sounds too obvious, right? But it is indeed one of the best practices to clearly identify which tests you'll target for automation. Run down your manual testing strategy and test cases and select which tests can be automated, focusing on the most vital ones.

If you plan to automate your manual test cases, do it under regression. You can also start with smoke suites by picking tests or automating the complete business flow.

Pinpoint the environments you will use

Clearly define the environments in which your tests will need to run. Outline the support required for each environment, ensuring your team knows these parameters.

Design reusable tests

Automated tests save time – reusable automated tests save more time. Aim to make your tests reusable across different orgs, languages, and user profiles. Utilize your test automation solution's reusability features to improve the efficiency and scalability of your testing process. This enables you to make your testing efforts more efficient and achieve faster time-to-market.

Initiate mapping for manual vs automated tests

As you dive into automation, make sure to link up your manual test cases with the automated ones to keep a close eye on the results. Be transparent about which tests aren't or can't be automated so that your team knows about any tasks that still need manual attention.

Regarding support mapping, think about whether simply mapping test cases is enough. Or you might want to go the extra mile and map out each step for every automated action in the script. Remember, though, that mapping out test steps can be a bit of a grind and might be challenging to keep up with over the long haul.

Create a report for the test results

Choose how you want to share the results of your test executions with your team. Make sure your report doesn't use too much technical language so that everyone involved in the project can quickly grasp it. Clearly show which manual tests succeeded, which ones failed, and if any were skipped. Also, consider integrating your test execution results into the test management system to make the whole process smoother.

Evaluation and adjustment

Once you've got your automated testing system up and running, it's time to take a breather and see how well things are going. Go back to the goals you had in mind when you first jumped into automated testing and figure out if you're hitting the mark. If not, dig into how much ground your automated tests cover regarding your Salesforce org's functionalities and features.

Spot any gaps in coverage and make a game plan to fill them by adding more automated tests. Compare the number and seriousness of issues caught to see how well your solution spots defects. Compare this with the defects found through manual testing or user-reported problems. If there's a big difference, figure out what's causing it and adjust as needed.

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Now, let's discuss the effort needed to maintain your automated tests. Consider how stable your test scripts are, how easy they are to maintain, and how well they adapt to changes in your Salesforce org. Keep tabs on the time you're putting into maintenance and weigh it against the time you're saving. Pinpoint areas where you can cut down on maintenance efforts or make them more efficient.

In short, it's all about practicing constant improvement for your test automation solution. Regularly look at your evaluation criteria, figure out where you can improve things, and put those improvements into action.

Let's now talk about how to level up your test automation process.

Improving your test automation game

Now that you and your team have started automated testing, acquired the tools, learned the skills, and are already working through several automated test cycles – the next step is to set your sights on the horizon. Improving your test automation workflow is the next goal you must keep your sights on. This keeps you updated with industry standards and frees up valuable time and effort rather than getting stuck in the rework loop.

To improve your automation testing strategy, consider implementing the following strategies:

Test data management

You must develop tactics to manage test data strategically to ensure an overall organizational view of your data and analytics in one central hub. Here's what you can do:

  • Assessment: Start by evaluating your current test data management practices. Identify areas that need improvement, such as data organization, accessibility, and relevance to test cases.
  • Centralized repository: Ensure all team members have access to a single repository that contains data for planning, design, and execution.
  • Regular maintenance: Implement a regular maintenance schedule for your test data. Remove outdated or irrelevant data and update records as needed.

Integration into continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD)

To ensure that automated testing becomes a complete part of your software development lifecycle, you must integrate your tests into your CI/CD pipelines. Set up triggers so that it runs automated tests whenever changes are made to your codebase. This helps you catch issues and provide feedback in the early stages.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Tool selection: Choose a CI/CD tool that aligns with your development process. Jenkins, GitLab CI, or CircleCI are popular options.
  • Test trigger setups: Configure triggers to automatically initiate your automated tests when changes are made to the codebase. This could involve setting up webhooks or integrating your testing tool directly into your CI/CD pipeline.
  • Feedback loop: Ensure the feedback loop is tight. Configure your CI/CD tool to notify the team immediately if a test fails. This accelerates issue identification and resolution.

Parallel test execution

With reliable test suites and well-covered workflows, you must also focus on how users interact with your application through various platforms and browsers. Each entry point may respond differently to your tests, necessitating repetition in each environment.

  • Platform and browser matrix: Create a matrix of platforms and browsers relevant to your user base. Identify combinations that require testing to ensure comprehensive coverage.
  • Regular review: Review your platform or browser matrix periodically to keep user trends updated. Adjust your testing strategy accordingly.

Learn, learn, learn

You can only improve if you learn. To stay current, form a culture of learning and knowledge-sharing within your testing team. If your automation tool subscription includes educational courses, encourage your team to participate individually or as a group.

Conduct feedback and retrospective sessions to identify and fix loopholes in your automated testing processes. Last but not least, stay updated on the latest advancements in the automated testing space, such as exploring new tools and frameworks, mix-matching your browser matrix, etc.

How Hutte can support you in this journey

Transitioning from manual to automated Salesforce testing requires a robust partner, and Hutte stands out perfectly with its dynamic features and user-friendly design. Hutte ("hutte.io") is a platform that simplifies Salesforce development processes. It offers an intuitive visual interface for creating and managing Salesforce scratch orgs and sandboxes, eliminating the need for complex command-line interfaces.

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Hutte streamlines environment management, change tracking, and deployment, empowering teams to collaborate efficiently and focus on productive, code-driven work. With features like one-click logins, task automation, and custom scripting, Hutte enhances the development experience for Salesforce professionals, making it accessible to technical and non-technical team members.

But now, let's talk about how it can help your testing journey.

How Hutte complements and enhances automated processes

  • Data seeding made simple: Hutte simplifies data seeding through custom buttons, making it easy to populate test environments with relevant data for realistic testing scenarios. These buttons are shortcuts within the Hutte interface, allowing users to efficiently seed their test environments with relevant and representative data. In the context of Salesforce development, data seeding refers to populating a database with initial data essential for testing applications' functionality.
  • Shift-left testing advancements: Hutte also allows QA teams to conduct early testing on unpublished or released work by easily creating scratch orgs from any development branch. This accelerates the shift-left testing approach, integrating testing into the early stages of development.

Features and tools provided by Hutte for optimizing processes

  • Custom buttons for test automation tasks: Teams use Hutte's custom buttons to create shortcuts for crucial testing actions, like running Apex tests or executing automated tests performed by a headless browser. This ensures a user-friendly interface for essential testing activities.
  • Inspiration from Hutte Recipes: Explore practical examples and solutions in Hutte's GitHub repository to enhance test automation processes based on real-world experiences and shared knowledge.

Integration options with other Salesforce tools and platforms

  • Synergy with the Salesforce ecosystem: Hutte seamlessly integrates with various Salesforce tools, ensuring a cohesive environment for streamlined test automation processes within the broader Salesforce ecosystem.
  • Flexibility and extensibility: Hutte's flexibility allows integration with third-party tools and custom solutions, enabling organizations to tailor their test automation ecosystem to specific requirements.

Although Hutte isn't directly a test automation tool, it practically facilitates early testing, simplifies data seeding, and provides customizable buttons for essential testing actions like Apex testing or running Salesforce Code Analyzer.

Transition today

Chances are your current Salesforce testing processes are becoming slow, error-prone, or less scalable. It might be the right time to transition from manual to automated testing. Signs include:

  • Time-consuming and repetitive tests
  • Increased errors
  • Scalability challenges as your applications grow.

If you're facing these issues or want to optimize your testing, it is your cue to take an automated leap of faith.