Top 7 Challenges of Test Automation and How to Overcome Them

Published on
April 26, 2023
Tessa McDaniel
Marketing Team Lead

Test automation is not without its challenges, but all of them can be overcome if they are given a little attention.

Testing automation can save valuable time and resources for software development teams, but it's not without its challenges. From finding the right tools to managing test data, there are several obstacles that developers must overcome to ensure effective and efficient test automation. In this article, we'll discuss the top challenges in test automation and provide practical solutions for addressing them. Whether you're a seasoned automation expert or just getting started with testing automation, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you navigate the challenges of automated testing.

1. Finding the Right Tool for the Job

Choosing the right test automation tool can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which tool is the best fit for your specific needs. One way to narrow down your options is to create a list of must-have features, then compare different tools against that list, but there are more criteria to be considered. For example, you have to know your requirements, your budgets, the way your testing team is set up, and more in order to choose the right testing tool for you.

2. Testing Like an End User

It's important to test your software in a way that simulates how an end user would interact with it, and oftentimes this is done with manual testing. It can be a challenge because end users come from all walks of life, and they may use the software in ways that automated testing can't predict. Combined with other testing practices, AI can help test through the eyes of a user by simulating an intelligent, human gaze, and each time a test is run, the AI starts all over, so there's no getting used to a site like manual testers would. 

3. Setting Realistic Expectations

Test automation can be a powerful tool, but it's not a magic wand that will immediately solve all your testing woes. It takes work to set up, which can be sped up or consolidated depending on which software you end up choosing, and you can't go in plan. You need a plan. To set realistic expectations, work with your testing team to determine what is feasible, what goals you should aim for, and how much coverage you need. 

4. Building a Test Strategy

Once you've set your expectations, you can then focus on building a strategy. Not having one can cause unexpected consequences, like tool-jumping that ends up costing you, bugs left in production, and an inability to scale. In order to create a solid strategy, you need a dedicated testing team, defined goals, and good requirements, but there's even more to consider

5. Test Fragility

With automated testing, flaky tests have been one of the biggest challenges throughout the testing process. Flaky tests occur when they encounter dynamic data or changing test environments, and they panic and break, requiring more of your tester's time to go in and fix them. One way to prevent them is to use a test automation tool that has an ML-driven algorithm that aids the test in self-healing

6. Time Taken to Write Test Steps

This is an obstacle when switching to any testing tool: the time it takes to write test steps. Solutions like Selenium require knowledge of programming languages, but coding skills take time to develop if testers don't already, and if they do, then programming test steps isn't a very exciting thing to do. Codeless test automation can be finicky without any coding at all, and tools that record and replay can be frustrating and create flaky tests. But scripted, codeless tools that use Natural Language Programming make test authoring much easier and faster, and you can further customize your testing with code. 

7. Managing Test Data

Test data management can be a complex task, especially when dealing with large or complex applications. To manage test data effectively, consider using data-driven testing techniques that allow you to separate your test data from your test scripts. Additionally, consider using tools that allow you to generate test data automatically or that provide tools for managing test data more efficiently, like an in-house dashboard.


You may have noticed that several of these points have talked about special functions like self-healing tests, reporting dashboards, and the use of AI and ML. Well, that's because our tool, Virtuoso, does all this and more! Not only can we overcome every challenge on this list, but our platform can even create tests from your imported requirements. But we wouldn't have all this talk without anything to back it up: try out our two-week, free trial! You can sign up with just your basic details, no credit card required, and get your login link sent straight to your email. So, give it a shot and tell us what you think!


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