Jira & Test Automation: End-to-end regression testing in an agile environment

The software testing team of a large German car manufacturer uses Jira for task management and tracking, and integrates Servicetrace Test Automation to accelerate the software testing process.

A listed German car manufacturer with a global presence operates its own bank for its customers. All processes in the Group’s finance division run in a complex digital environment. The IT finance department develops, provides, and manages some 150 software applications. A high-quality software landscape is absolutely business-critical. “Our success depends on these applications. We make sure that they all work together as a complete system,” said the head of the regression testing team of his responsibilities.

Going all the way: testing digital processes end-to-end

Following changes to the software code or implementation of new functionalities, end-to-end regression tests are designed to ensure that the most important digital processes in the financial sector continue to run smoothly and without errors. Critical digital processes are tested across applications from a user perspective, such as the steps required to enter into a leasing contract. One example of a step in an end-to-end test case could be opening a web application or filling out and submitting a form.

End-to-end regression testing is an important and critical quality gate that precedes acceptance of the overall system for deployment to the production environment. However, end-to-end tests are very extensive in sophisticated software environments. This is also the case in our reference scenario:

3

major releases a year

1500

regression tests in the portfolio

100000

test steps a year

150000

test steps planned

In addition, all acceptance tests must be documented for all release phases (User Acceptance Test, Final Acceptance Test, Freeze).

Agile software development and test automation

On top of the sheer volume of tests, new agile methods in software development lead to high workloads for the testing team. The agile manifesto describes our highly dynamic living and working environments in four characteristics, bundling them into a single acronym: VUCA is short for volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous.

“VUCA describes the characteristics of our modern operating environment. Agile methods like Scrum or agile tools like Kanban make it possible for us to navigate this VUCA ocean.” The testing team leader explained the differences to traditional project management, “You think in short, achievable stages. You drive by sight. You adjust the actions to achieve the goals on a regular basis.” Agile teams must be able to react to short-term changes and typically deliver smaller update packages in much shorter intervals, usually over a period of 2-week ‘sprints’.

“Short sprints are a better fit for the volatile and complex VUCA world than traditional, long-term project planning. Think of Corona in 2020, for example, a mega VUCA phenomenon,” said the test manager. Drawing a comparison to the first months of the pandemic he added, “Was it mere coincidence that the federal government announced news on the situation on two-week intervals, i.e. in the scope of an agile sprint?”

Agile software development requires agile testing. And that means more testing. In addition to the three major releases a year, all this tops

450

agile releases a year

The testers must provide feedback on the new functions in each iteration. Not only that, they must approve the entire system with the changes and enhancements in a continuous integration environment.

Such a high workload in such short intervals can be handled by the regression testing team only with automation of the end-to-end tests.

Test automation in an agile environment: 3 criteria for selecting a tool

The testing team evaluated different test automation tools before opting for the software robotics provider Servicetrace. Servicetrace’s solution for automated software testing “has everything a testing suite needs – structured management of epics, stories and test cases, and test documentation that can handle an audit”. Additionally, Servicetrace Test Automation comes equipped with three key features:

1) Cross-application automation

The GUI testing method with patented image, pattern, and character recognition technologically imitates human vision and works on any graphical user interface – regardless of the underlying technology. This allows Servicetrace software robots to actually automate end-to-end testing across applications.

“We were previously using self-developed Selenium tests,” said the testing team leader, explaining what was needed. “But there are situations where switching between web and non-web applications is necessary – for example, when initially opening a PDF from a web application and then reading the contents. That doesn’t work in Selenium. For Servicetrace’s software robots, however, this is daily business.”

2) Low-code automation

The high usability of the low-code solution, which simplifies and accelerates the creation of automated test cases, also impressed the testing team. “It makes a difference if you work with a programming console or if you have an intuitive graphical user interface that allows you to quickly and easily build test cases. Thanks to Servicetrace, our colleagues from the business units and IT staff who are not developers can automate software on their own, independently of professional test developers. The more colleagues who can automate, the faster we achieve the desired high automation level of the test landscape.”

Low Code: Drag & Drop Test Automation Design with Servicetrace Workflow Studio

3) Jira integration

Ultimately, the deciding factor for choosing Servicetrace Test Automation was one important requirement. “We work with Jira XRay. Jira perfectly supports our agile working methods. The teams track requirements, distribution, status, and progress of the tasks for each sprint. The test automation solution we need must be fully integrated with Jira.”

Unique in the market: Servicetrace fully integrates test automation into Jira

No sooner said than done! Servicetrace product management quickly recognized the benefit of an interface to the most important work platform for software developers and testers, and added the Jira integration as a priority feature request in the ongoing roadmap in September 2019. As early as April 2020, the regression testing team was able to run initial pilots with a prototype.

The automated tests that the Servicetrace software robots take on are developed in the Servicetrace Workflow Studio. The enormous advantage here is that individual steps of the end-to-end test cases can be adjusted quickly and selectively during each sprint. Conveniently, the tests are managed and controlled exclusively via the Jira interface. For each test run, the test results are documented and returned to Jira, including an analysis package. “This allows us to identify and eliminate what is causing an error at a glance.”

Full integration: Jira & Servicetrace Test Automation

“The complete integration with Jira Xray is the really crucial feature that we needed in a test automation solution and what we got with Servicetrace,” the testing team leader is pleased to say. The ongoing, automated end-to-end tests provide reliable support for agile development, and thus a continuous delivery of optimized software products for the end customers of the Group’s finance division.

Jira & Servicetrace Test Automation: All benefits at a glance

  • Automated functional and performance tests for all applications without exception (web/non-web)
  • Low-code solution: easy, fast design and customization of automated test cases
  • Market-wide unique complete integration of a test automation software with JiraXRay

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