Rob Smyth

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Automated application tests on active legacy applications - Team kickoff cost

How does a team get started with automated application tests on active legacy applications?

By that I mean tests for verification that the application does what it is supposed to do. Automated application regression tests. Like everything to do with software dev and testing teams there is the "change management". How does a team get the steam up to start running with automated application tests on an active legacy application.

By "legacy application" I mean any application that is out there, running, under on-going new feature development, but does not have any automated application tests. It may have developer unit and integration tests but no tests that assert the customer's required end behaviour (BDD?).

Such a team is under pressure to add new features and is experiencing "legacy" defects discovered during verification testing and, typically, the people on the dev team have changed so domain knowledge is not ideal (I do often think that a developer's domain knowledge is just poor code architecture migrator).

In these, common, scenarios to get automated application tests up and running to a point were a team can incorporate them into its culture is a big ask. There needs to be an investment in the framework, team training, and that means the business needs to understand the cost/benefits. So in the end it comes down to the tech/dev lead to identify and communicate the opportunity to the business.