How to Create a Successful Test Automation Strategy: An Interview with Kalyan Konda


In this interview, Kalyan Konda, the president of Gallop Solutions, details how to create the most successful and effective test automation strategy. He explains how much of your team's testing should be automated and how IoT will impact automation.

Josiah Renaudin: Welcome back to another TechWell interview. Today I am joined by Kalyan, the president of Gallop Solutions. We'll be speaking on how to create a successful test automation strategy. Kalyan, thank you very much for joining me today.

Kalyan Konda: It's my pleasure. I'm glad to be here.

Josiah Renaudin: It's absolutely great to have you. First, before we really dig into the topic, can you tell us a little bit about your experience in the industry?

Kalyan Konda: I started my career in software testing. I actually wrote a lot of scripts in WinRunner, and also wrote scripts in LoadRunner. I've been in the industry for almost two decades. I am somebody that you can call a career tester, because this is what something that I have been doing since the beginning of my career. I started as a test engineer, like everybody else. I've done a lot of work in the non-functional testing space—especially test automation, performance, security, insulation, compatibility, things like that.

I worked for both product development companies as well as IT services companies. I started managing large global teams of two thousand plus people in my previous stint. And right now, I am managing the company’s testing services business. Now here I am, working at Gallop. Gallop is independent testing services. We are the largest independent testing services company in North America. I'm responsible for business at Gallop and Gallop is also a subsidiary of Cigniti.

Josiah Renaudin: So often with our audience we are asked, "How do you create successful test automation strategies?" It's becoming more and more important. So to kick things off, what about the current state of the software testing industry has made automation so critical? Has agile and these other rapid methodologies in mindsets put automation at the forefront?

Kalyan Konda: Well, yes, the good thing about agile is that it brought test automation to the forefront, unlike in waterfall where people were trying to explain the whole return on investment and the value of doing test automation. But sort of agile, I'd say makes it easy, sort of provides the tailwind that is required for test automation. And agile sort of assumes that test automation is the key ingredient of the world of test automation strategy.

And as we speak right now, with many of the enterprises and the product development companies that we are involved with ... It's very often, I would say almost to the extent of 50 to 60 percent of the companies are actually doing test automation within the sprint. Of course they're using models like test driven development, acceptance test driven development, behavior driven development, things like that. So it's very difficult to imagine a project where there is no test automation being done, especially if they're practicing agile because agile embraces test automation right from the get go.

Josiah Renaudin: Yeah, and it's crazy to think now, like you said, it's kind of hard to imagine testing without automation. Automation has become so pervasive and so kind of consistent throughout all these different aspects of testing. But before you even get that rolling and get your automation all set, what helps you to determine which automation tools or frameworks are best for a specific company? I think it's always important to note that every situation is different, there's always proven practices that say, well, this usually works for everyone. What different factors point to specific tools for specific companies?

Kalyan Konda: That's a very good question. I would say that probably a few years before, a lot of companies wanted to standardize on their test automation tools. They were looking for the single tool that can automate their desktop applications, legacy, web, mobile, and then see if there's a way that they can actually centralize on a single test tool. But things are changing. A lot of enterprises have come to sort of one understanding that it's almost impossible to find a single tool that can cater to all of their needs. So more and more what we're seeing is that especially for the Legacy ERP kind of obligations people are depending on commercial test tool vendors, like HP QTP, but when it comes to mobile, browser & web based applications, we see that there is a lot of interest in open source tools like Selenium.

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