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Technical Debt: What Does It Mean to Be in the Red With QA Testing?

Technical Debt: What Does It Mean to Be in the Red With QA Testing?

June 21, 2022
Sohaib Zaidi

If you’re ingrained in the IT industry, then you’re likely familiar with the term “technical debt.” If you’re not totally in-the-know, and are wondering what technical debt is–and how it is related to testing–then this blog is for you.

Enterprises across the globe are embracing digital transformations to respond more rapidly to changing market dynamics and employee needs. And enterprises that have moved the majority of their enterprise applications to the cloud now must push updates more frequently. To bring these software features live faster, developers often take shortcuts in their source code; this makes it significantly harder to build out new features in the future as the source code gets more complex.

Said another way, technical debt is the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

Apart from this, there are several other things that can lead to technical debt such as improper documentation, inadequate testing/bug fixing, a lack of coordination between agile teams, the absence of continuous integration, and other out-of-control factors. Testers often face unexpected situations, like when a delivery manager informs them a product must be rolled out in a week’s time. Suddenly, they need to finish all their testing within a short timeframe.

This type of manual approach in software testing can lead to technical debt. The key contributors in accumulating technical debt in a QA practice include: a lack of test coverage, oversized user stories, short sprints, and cutting corners due to delivery pressures.

Types of technical debt under manual testing

Limited test execution: The available time and resources to carry out full and comprehensive testing are often not sufficient. This leads testers to execute a subset of tests for a release (i.e., a shortcut), increasing the possibility of residual defects.

Improper test design: Manual testing is a time-consuming and laborious process. Test cases are often designed with dozens of variations, using different data combinations, and the tester must execute each combination. Since executing all combinations of test cases is a laborious process, testers restrict themselves to a few scenarios, shortcutting their test design. This increases the risk of residual defects and application downtime.

Missing test reviews: Test reviews help to improve the quality of test cases and assist in finding problems earlier. Missing test reviews could delay finding a defect, or increase the overall maintenance burden of testing.

How to solve technical debt with test automation

Without test automation, software testing is an extremely monotonous, manual process that’s rife with human errors. IT projects also carry a high risk of applications breaking. Test automation helps avoid these issues while speeding up the delivery of software without risking lost quality.

Without test automation, testing will inevitably consume your team’s time and become a major bottleneck to completing your release goals. Test automation enables you to test more comprehensively, and faster, by helping you focus on your most at-risk business processes. No shortcuts that lead to technical debt need to be taken.

Since the success of your ERP implementation lies with business users, not with development teams, they must participate in testing. Codeless test automation tools ensure functional consultants, manual testers, and stakeholders can participate in testing.

Read more: Manual Vs. Automated Testing - Top Considerations

Test automation should speed up your testing

The goal of test automation is to speed up the testing process, while ensuring software quality, to alleviate the frustrations of software developers and business users. However, code-based test automation platforms can become more of a liability than an asset. You should pick a test automation platform that is easy to use, maintainable, and scalable.

Tackling technical debt with Opkey’s zero-code test automation

Opkey is a zero-code, comprehensive ERP testing platform that leverages test mining, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence. Opkey autonomously creates optimal testing frameworks for enterprise packaged applications such as Oracle Cloud, Oracle EBS, SAP, Salesforce, Workday, and more, to help enterprises adopt continuous testing for their ERP applications.

Zero-code: Opkey’s zero-code automation platform allows non-technical employees to participate in test creation. This means the users most familiar with their jobs have the power to create tests around their most used process flows, without the need for IT.

Impact analysis & test mining: Opkey’s AI-powered impact analysis platform tracks real time changes in your ERP ecosystem, alerts users to the potential impact on their business processes, and recommends tests to ensure adequate risk coverage. Furthermore, Opkey’s test mining technology immediately surfaces the tests your organization is running, along with the workflows your users are actually performing, and recommends new tests to fill in the gaps. This ensures optimal test coverage.

Self-healing: With Opkey’s self-healing script technology, enterprises can largely eliminate the burden of test maintenance. If an automated script breaks due to a change in the object property (Name, ID, Xpath, CSS etc.), Opkey automatically identifies the change and fixes the issue without human intervention. Opkey reduces test maintenance efforts by more than 90%.


All software teams experience some volume of technical debt–it is unavoidable. However, you can reduce technical debt by incorporating test automation. With test automation, you can increase your software delivery time and prevent bug leakage into production, ensuring business continuity through frequent releases.

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