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10 Ways to Reduce Test Automation Script Failure Rates

10 Ways to Reduce Test Automation Script Failure Rates

07th Feb, 2023

More than 70% of automation script failures are false and are caused by poor automation design practices.


The False Failure Rate (FFR) is the percentage of tests that falsely fail when a test suite is run. It is calculated by dividing the number of false failures (failed tests that actually passed) by the total number of tests that were executed during a test run. Higher false failure rates increase testing and maintenance costs. By reducing false failures, you can save time and money on automated testing. I’ve compiled 10 best practices that can help test automation engineers reduce false failure rates while implementing test automation in agile or waterfall projects.


Ways to Reduce Test Automation Script Failure Rates by Testhouse

  • Design Exception Handlers:

    Creating exception handlers is key to reducing false failures because it allows you to catch errors that may arise and handle them appropriately before the script fails. By doing this, you are able to terminate the script gracefully, which will reduce the number of false failures that occur. This makes it easier for you and your team to identify where the error occurred and how it can be addressed.

    • Intelligent Wait Statements:

    Another effective way to reduce automation script false failures is by using intelligent wait statements. Intelligent wait statements allow your scripts to pause or wait for a certain amount of time before proceeding with the next step. This reduces the likelihood that the script will fail due to a timing issue such as a slow-loading page or an element not appearing in time for the script to interact with it. Your scripts should also have built-in delays between tasks so that each task has enough time to finish before moving on.

    • Setting up Test Automation Guidelines:

    Having scripting guidelines in place will help ensure that all scripts follow consistent standards and conventions when they are written. This will make it easier for new developers or testers to understand existing scripts, so they can more easily find problems without having to debug every line of code themselves. Additionally, setting up scripting guidelines helps ensure that all scripts are written in a manner that reduces their potential for failure due to errors or mistakes made during development or execution.

  • Strengthening Test Automation Script Reviews:


Before a script is executed, it should be reviewed by experienced QA professionals to make sure that it meets all requirements and will provide accurate results. This should include verifying that the script is correctly written, that all data is valid, and that the output matches expectations.

Test Automation Script reviewed by experienced QA professionals
  • Running and updating automated tests regularly:

To ensure that scripts remain accurate over time, they should be regularly updated to match changes in the application under test (AUT). This can be done manually or through automated processes such as continuous integration (CI) or continuous delivery (CD).

  • Version Control of Test Automation Scripts:

It’s important to maintain version control over your scripts so you can easily track changes and identify which versions are causing errors or false failures. It also makes it easier to debug issues when they arise. All of the popular test automation tools support integration with configuration management tools.

  • Eliminate Environment-Specific Test Data Dependency:

If your automation scripts rely on environment-specific data such as user credentials or API keys, these should be kept separate from the script itself and stored in a secure location. This helps prevent false failures due to incorrect data being entered into the script when it is run in different environments.

maximize productivity would do well to follow these best practices when dealing with automation scripting projects
  • Designing Reusable Components and Functions:

Reusable components and functions help streamline development by allowing teams to quickly create new tests without having to rewrite existing code from scratch every time they need a new feature tested. This reduces the chance of introducing bugs due to incorrect coding and helps keep false failure rates low. The maintenance efforts can also be reduced as it is easy to fix the script issues.

  • Implementing a Good Locator Strategy:
    A good locator strategy involves using multiple strategies for locating elements on web pages, such as IDs, XPaths, classes, etc., instead of relying on just one method, which could lead to false failures if an element is changed or removed from a page unexpectedly.
  • Maintaining Gold Settings for the Test Automation Environment:
    Having “gold settings” for your environment ensures that all tests are run with consistent settings across different environments, which reduces the risk of unexpected results due to configuration issues or other environmental factors.

Automation scripts play an important role in software development but can be susceptible to false failures if not properly managed and maintained. By following best practices such as strengthening script reviews, running and updating tests regularly, version-controlling scripts, eliminating the dependency on environment-specific data, and more, you can ensure that your automation scripts remain accurate while reducing potential delays caused by false failures. Anyone who wants their teams to maximise productivity would do well to follow these best practices when dealing with automation scripting projects!

George Ukkuru - Testhouse-CSO

About the author

George Ukkuru | Chief Solutions Officer

George is a performance-driven, innovative, and seasoned technocrat with over two decades of quality engineering experience. He has worked with several Fortune 500 customers to implement Agile Testing Practices, like behaviour-driven testing for functional and on-functional  testing, synthetic data generation, intelligent reporting, and bots.