Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Business Case for Testing Tools & Automation

This post had been lying in my drafts for a long time. For some reason, I decided not to publish it. But it's still relevant...except that I have submitted the business case since then and it's lying at somebody at Finance's desk or email Inbox for review/approvals.


I'm currently working on a business case to invest in testing tools and functional test automation. The case will be sent to upper management and finance for approval and once they do, we're going to start working on building an automation framework. I foresee a lot of hurdles and am not keeping my hopes high based on the tightening of budget and how the business case is coming out to be.

One of the things that I have to add in the business case is financial analysis which includes an estimate on return of investment. And it has been a very "enlightening" process. Based on the current estimates on the capital and labor costs, it'll take us 2.9 years to get a return on investment. And of course, it's based on a lot of assumptions and I'm kind of skeptic when claiming that number for ROI.

You see, one of things that are never in short supply at my workplace is the list outstanding tasks. And with that comes extreme work pressure and very little time to invest in exploring new technologies and coming up with new ideas. I'm quite sure that designing the automation framework will be a time consuming and learning process and I will have to be devoted at least half-time (if not more) in this effort. And I'm quite sure that when we actually start working on that effort, the estimates that I put in for labor in the business case will start looking like best case scenario.

The brighter side is that I have now under my belt the experience of creating a business case. And once/if approved, we'll be undertaking the effort of functionally automating the test cases for our applications. We're also planning to expand our QA service by offering the testing tools and/or automation to other teams.

My colleague and I had been talking about the design of the framework since we first conceptualized the idea of automation. We had this whole idea in our minds on how to make it reusable, to maximize customizability with least rework. He has experience in building these kind of frameworks and I have had a brief encounter at my last job. I recently looked up online and found that it is now one of the established practices, one of the buzzwords surrounding test automation process - Keyword Driven Test Automation Frameworks. It must have been a long time since both of us were in automation business because what I read matched what we had been planning to do. Seems like a lot of people have written their experiences with building automation frameworks with this idea. Seems like we'll be able to use some of the knowledge to our benefit.


  1. can you send a copy of it to me at I am working on something similar would like to refer your findings.

  2. You probably don't even exist on the interwebs anymore since I'm replying about 5 years after you wrote this article :P I'm interested to know how you calculated the ROI to be 3 years? In one large project I tagged the time spent on smoke testing and full regression so that I knew exactly how many hours were used. It worked out to be 60 hours at my chargable rate of $130 an hour which meant that an automated tool could have saved approximately $8000. So within one project it would have paid off about 75% of the cost of the tool for two users and a run time license for the build server. Interested in one factors influenced the 3 years you came up with.