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How to Measure the success of Test Automation

Test automation, an indispensable cog in the software development lifecycle, promises both efficiency and excellence. Yet, its efficacy is oftentimes measured with metrics that are as outdated as they are insufficient, so how do we at IntelliQA measure success? 

The Metrics don’t work. 

Traditionally, we've relied on metrics like the number of test cases automated, the percentage of automation coverage, and the defect detection rate. But, in an age where agility and adaptability are key, these metrics tell only a fraction of the story.


The Flaw of Test Case Count 

Measuring the success of test automation solely based on the number of test cases automated is like gauging productivity by counting keystrokes. It's a vanity metric that fails to capture the complexity, efficiency, or, crucially, the value of the automation effort. 

Moving Beyond Coverage 

Similarly, automation coverage as a benchmark is overly broad. It can't differentiate the business-risk coverage from regulatory compliance coverage, nor does it account for the riskiest user stories that must be tested with the highest priority. 


Defect Rate Deception 

Finally, the defect detection rate paints a misleading picture. It's well-known that the majority of defects are introduced in the requirements and design phases, which automation doesn’t address.  A key objective of regression tests is to demonstrate that what worked in the previous release still works in this release and detect any anomalies. 

Image of a warning triangle sign, A cog with an exclamation mark and a magnifying glass pointing out a cog and hazard symbol. These showcase that the current ways to measure if your testing is successful is all wrong.

The IntelliQA way: Test Automation

Reducing Test Execution Time 

Two cogs turning with an arrow pointing down. This symbolises reducing test execution time

One true measure of success for test automation is the reduction in test execution time. Remarkably, this metric has the potential to reflect multiple improvements that automation offers. An example of this is fuel payment test automation. In our experience, retailers typically have around 600 regression test cases that take ten days to execute.  With test automation, this time can be reduced to one day, with no working hour restrictions.

Accelerating Feedback Loops 

A green acceleration bar. This symbolises accelerating feedback loops

Quicker execution means developers receive feedback on their code changes faster, facilitating the critical rapid-paced learning and adaptation that Agile methodologies accentuate. Developers receive feedback from testing within one day rather than waiting for up to ten days as they did with manual testing. 


Time to Market 

A green graph with the bars going up and a clock next to it. Symbolising time to market

The correlation between faster testing and reduced time to market is direct. Every day, or even every hour, cut from the testing phase is a competitive advantage gained in releasing new features or products.  Reducing test execution timescales from weeks to days makes a significant difference to the business benefit delivered by their IT teams. 


A group of people that symbolises resource optimisation, they are green.

Resource Optimisation 

Beyond speed, the reduction in test execution time is an efficiency win. It allows organisations to reallocate human resources from tedious, repetitive testing to more strategic, exploratory testing and product innovation. 

A green dollar coin with arrows pointing in different directions, symbolising the opportunity benefits

The Opportunity Benefit 

The effectiveness of test automation isn't solely about optimising the testing process. It's about leveraging automation to unlock new opportunities manual testing doesn't allow. 

A green cog with a testing symbol inside and arrows going around in circles to showcase the continuous testing capability.

Continuous Testing Capability 

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines require test automation to maintain the pace of delivery.  This enables a consistent delivery process and a culture where every change is tested promptly. 


A green icon showcasing reporting and analytics in measuring the success of automated testing

Robust Reporting and Analytics 

Automated tests provide a wealth of data that can be mined and analysed to gain insights into the code's quality of, the code, the system's performance of the system, and the product's reliability of the product. 


The Conclusion 

To truly assess the worth of test automation, we must adopt metrics that align with our modern understanding of software development and business needs. It's not about counting the tests; it's about transforming how we create, deliver, and experience software. By focusing on the reduction in test execution time and the tangible opportunities automation presents, we can frame test automation not just as a cost-saving mechanism but as a strategic enabler of higher quality, faster deployments, and a more innovative product. 


Test automation's ROI is not just in the tests it automates but in the manifold ways it allows us to reimagine our processes and maximise our potential.  


At IntelliQA, we have deliberately focussed on test automation that involves physical devices such as Pin Pads and Fuel Outdoor Payment Terminals. Traditionally, such tests have been difficult to automate, and yet they are crucial for the retailers that need to execute them. Significant benefits have been achieved from this automation, and IntelliQA is with our customers every step of the way. We help to identify what success looks like as part of our engagement model and work relentlessly with our clients to achieve it. 

Contact Us

Please get in touch if you need support with automated payment testing solutions, and our sales team would be happy to discuss this with you.

Contact us at:

T: +44 1707 906177   E:

You can also fill out a form on our Contact Us page. 

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1 Comment

Mar 12

Very insightful!

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