Author: Enrique Decoss

Enrique is an enthusiastic IT professional with 18+ years of experience in different IT domains, focusing on quality assurance (automation, performance, functional) of web & mobile applications. He has been working as QA Manager for the last years, mainly involved in building robust test automation solutions from the ground up and in test strategies to improve software quality. Curious by nature about new techniques in testing and testing tools. An active member of various software testing communities, speaker, and guest blogger on multiple platforms.
Customer-Centric Test Automation Approach

Some consultant companies will not eliminate all the risks by offering an automagic solution (Perhaps a revolutionary testing tool). However, it could give better possibilities for applications to be evaluated in case of quality gaps and deliver accurate applications for the consumers.

We see products/services failing before any launch or retiring a couple of months later. Companies often admit to underestimating market competition, using the wrong business model, lacking Quality, or having no product-market fit. These failures leave room for analysis while involving QA expertise often increases the chances of being competitive and delivering higher-quality applications.

A Brief About Customer Centricity

Before answering, what is customer centricity? We must emphasize a critical point: the customer centricity approach’s ultimate aim is the same as the product-centric model’s. It is to make the company as profitable as possible in the long run. In simple words, the end goal is to make money; now, let’s provide a basic definition of customer centricity:

“Customer centricity is a strategy that aligns a company’s development and delivery of its product and services with the current and future of a select set of customers to maximize their long-term financial value to the firm.”

Why Customer Centricity is Important?

Customer-centricity puts customer satisfaction at the heart of the projects to ensure all project customers believe the scrum team is delivering quality services. As a result, every customer will continually rate our services as Good, Very Good, or Excellent.

Customer Centric Model in Testing

Some questions need answering if we want to accomplish customer centric Testing:

How professional is our Testing operation?
Are we good enough to deliver high-quality applications/services?
What does the Quality look like for our customers?

Let’s start with basics, creating value; traditional Testing methods do not guarantee value; projects will deliver according to the agreed corporate standards and within defined tolerances.

When we mention “Traditional Testing,” we are talking about the “Testing done right,” which is more related to some projects within the triple constraint: on time, on budget, and meeting quality standards. However, there is a missing piece with traditional Testing, the final users who receive the application/service probably want to do something useful.

The Agile Teams must understand the customers; more specifically, the Product Owners must share the vision of the product and the outcome with the final users (Are we good enough to deliver high-quality applications/services?). Therefore, customer centric Testing captures not only acceptance criteria, but we also should align the acceptance criteria and the goals of our applications/services with the needs of the most influential people, in this case, our customers.

We should maintain an open channel with our Product Owners and evaluate multiple scenarios (What does the Quality look like for our customers?); keep in mind what is delivered is fit for purpose and meets the customer’s expectations. As Agile Teams, we should change and adapt. If our customers’ expectations change, we should adjust our user centric testing scenarios (How professional is our Testing operation?).

Test Automation Values the Real Worth of Our Customers

Test Automation can help us speed up our Testing activities; we must understand the cost of automating, the project’s time constraints, and available resources. Also, keep in mind other testing options (Exploratory Testing, Mob Testing, Pair Testing), and most importantly, don’t automate tasks that will not have to be repeated.

“Test Automation without covering customer scenarios may result in a lot of activity but little value for our customers.”

Our Test Automation strategy should emphasize the customers and perhaps more related to covering customer scenarios. Of course, the strategy can also improve our team’s daily workflow, but it shouldn’t be the focal point of your planning. Instead, prioritize your Testing on making the product better for the customer. It would be best to centralize your Test automation efforts on valuable test scenarios.

Now, let’s focus on Test Automation’s customer centric strategy; for those already familiar with BDD (Behavior-Driven Development), BDD tests are customer-facing scenarios that attempt to describe the behavior of a Story or a Feature from a user’s perspective. The incredible thing about automated BDD tests is that the applications continuously meet the specified behavior, whether we need to introduce some changes or the applications evolve.

Behaviour driven development approach in customer centric test automation

Another excellent option for Test Automation’s customer centric strategy is Natural Language Processing (NLP), a field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that makes human language intelligible to machines. NLP combines the power of linguistics and computer science to study the rules and structure of language and create intelligent systems (run on machine learning and NLP algorithms) capable of understanding, analyzing, and extracting meaning from text and apply to specific tasks like test automation scripts.

NLP engine addition to our Test automation can make it much easier to create test cases and modify each in the future in an intuitively accessible format for anyone in our projects to understand and execute.

customer centric test automation NLP

Introducing new approaches to the Agile teams could be challenging; some team members will support the change, others will not, and others may resist. Unfortunately, we have the false perspective that the decision-makers must introduce the changes to the teams. Believe me when I say the changes come from many places (How Gmail happened).

If we want a fundamental change, key players must be enrolled in the discussion and debates. The last point is that companies must align their business objectives to their test automation strategy; we must ensure the delivery of high-quality applications that meet company business goals.

Final Thoughts

Test Automation strategies focusing on writing thousands of test scripts and only relying on QA for a posteriori validation overwhelm your projects from the beginning. Instead, we should avoid these by ensuring that your Test Automation provides real value to our customers, balancing the test automation efforts, and ensuring That everyone in the company has quality efforts.

“The essence of a good Test Automation strategy is to impact our project landscape positively, making everyone part of the strategy.” – Enrique A De Coss

A successful Test automation strategy must adapt to our current customer needs and team capacity. Consequently, we must avoid generic approaches and make sure we apply a robust automated test strategy that will help your existing team and your customers. So, first, consider our current situation and where the company or project is heading. After that, we must use the right parts that we believe will best deliver high-quality applications that meet company business goals.

 

Lastly, apart from following Customer Centric Test Automation Approach, you should also be aware of Automation Tools for Software Testing as it helps you to test anything with more ease.

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