Today, test automation is necessary to deliver high-quality, reliable, and efficient software. This shift from manual to automated testing represents a significant change in productivity. However, it also brings in new challenges. The considerable difficulty here is particularly in creating and maintaining the automated tests.

A good automation test saves hours and resources, while a poorly created test causes continuous maintenance, frustration, and delays. This article mentions the seven key features that define a good automated test. We have also provided a few best practices to enhance your testing process.

Features of Automation Testing


A reliable test consistently provides the same results during every test run. When executed under the same conditions, the test is a trustworthy indicator of software quality. Stable test environments, deterministic test data, and robust error handling are factors that contribute to test reliability.

To enhance test reliability, focus on minimizing external dependencies. Also, work on employing retry mechanisms for transient failures, ensuring that your tests are a reliable measure of code quality.


As software evolves, tests should, too. Maintainability in automated tests means the ease with which tests can be updated for any changes in the application. Tests that are difficult to maintain become obsolete and eventually lose their value.

Use clear naming conventions, straightforward logic, and adherence to DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principles for writing maintainable tests. Modular test design and comprehensive documentation are also important. These steps help achieve test maintainability, easier updates, and understanding by new team members.


It is twofold: it concerns both the speed at which tests execute and the resources they consume. Inefficient tests can bottleneck development, especially in CI/CD pipelines. The reason is crucial for rapid feedback.

To improve efficiency, prioritize critical test paths, employ parallel test execution where possible, and keep tests focused on specific functionalities. These steps help to minimize execution time and resource usage.


The best tests not only verify functionality but also communicate the intent behind it. Readability allows team members to quickly understand what a test does and why it exists.

This clarity is achieved through descriptive test names, explicit assertions, and a logical structure reflecting the application’s design. Readable tests are helpful in easier debugging and maintenance and act as documentation for the system’s expected behavior.


This feature enables test components to be used across multiple test cases or projects. This approach reduces duplication and supports a more efficient test development process. Reusability can involve:

  • Abstracting common test setup and teardown routines.
  • Utilizing shared test data libraries.
  • Adopting design patterns like the Page Object Model (POM) in UI testing.

Through reusability, teams can build a robust test suite more quickly and with less effort.


Independent tests do not rely on the outcome or execution of other tests. It allows them to run in any order and parallel. This independence is crucial for identifying the exact point of failure in a test suite and scaling test execution. Achieving test independence involves:

  • Careful management of test data.
  • Using mocks and stubs to isolate external dependencies.
  • Designing tests to reset their state after execution.

Independent tests enhance the reliability and scalability of your test suite.


While often discussed in terms of code coverage, it encompasses more than just the lines of code executed. It also includes path coverage, requirement coverage, and more, offering a multifaceted view of what’s being tested.

While striving for 100% coverage is admirable, focusing on critical paths and high-risk areas is more practical and beneficial. Employing a risk-based approach to testing allows teams to allocate their efforts more strategically, ensuring that the most critical aspects of the application are thoroughly tested.

Best Practices and Common Pitfalls

You can use these seven features of a good automated test in your testing strategy through best practices such as:

  • Regularly reviewing and refactoring tests to improve reliability and maintainability.
  • Utilizing test design patterns and frameworks that promote readability and reusability.
  • Balancing the desire for comprehensive coverage with the practicalities of test execution time and resources.

You should avoid over-reliance on UI tests for functionality that could be tested at lower levels. Do not neglect test data management. Otherwise, tests will become too interdependent.


Good test automation requires attention to reliability, maintainability, efficiency, readability, reusability, independence, and coverage. By focusing on these key features, software teams can build a test suite that not only safeguards the quality of their application but also enhances the development process.

As software continues to grow, so will the practices surrounding automated testing. You need to stay informed and adaptable to maintain a high-quality test suite meeting the needs of your software projects.

Further Reading and Resources

Resources are available for those looking to dive deeper into automated testing practices. Books like “Selenium WebDriver in Practice” and “Continuous Delivery” offer practical advice and strategies. At the same time, online resources such as testRigor Blog and QA Lead provide up-to-date QA articles and tutorials.

Investing time in learning and applying these principles will pay dividends in improving the quality and efficiency of your software development.