Webdriver challenges working in an agile project – Part 1


So..you have just started on a greenfield project. You are told that you will be working in 2 week sprints, having daily scrums, using user stories, working with continuous integration etc. and you are the Agile automation tester. You decide to use Selenium Webdriver for the first time because you have heard that it is a good open source choice for web automation. You also decide to use a BDD tool because your organisation is trying out behavior driven development for the first time. What challenges can you expect to face?


Challenge 1 – Story time


Working in agile is all about having the bare minimum story which can be implemented, tested and production ready but just make sure that when you are writing your automation test scenarios, that you have clarified areas of ambiguity so that none of your Webdriver automation stubs need to be re-written.

Ensure that for a particular story you have every task for your automation listed. Whether you are at the start of a new project creating a framework from scratch or you are in sprint 10 and have complex test data setup tasks, split these all up into the smallest tasks you can and provide estimates erring on the high side.


Challenge 2 – It’s a mere technicality


How many a time does automation get shelved because development can’t support the automation regression pack and the Test team doesn’t have the required skillset to either create new automation tests or maintain the existing ones? It is really crucial to have dedicated automation experts in your project and if Webdriver is your choice of tool, then they will require some proficiency in a programming language such as C sharp, Java, Ruby, and Python.

Ask a developer who you think may be interested in being involved in Test automation to get involved. This will help you overcome difficult areas of automation as well as maintaining good coding practices.


Challenge 3 – Challenge Automation


If the stories involve developers for example using a lot of JavaScript, using objects that are hidden on page load, using Silverlight or Flash or other such troublesome things that Webdriver struggles with, then you need to factor the extra automation time to overcome these hurdles. You may also require some development help and don’t be shy in saying up front to your scrum manager that developing in a particular way may mean some functions can’t be automated. Designing the application to be test friendly will definitely make your job of automation a lot easier and so time spent earlier on planning and designing to make the application as easy as possible to automate will save a lot of time which will incrementally build up each sprint.