Test automation maturity improves product quality : quantitative study of open source projects using continuous integration
Wang, Yuqing; Mäntylä, Mika V.; Liu, Zihao; Markkula, Jouni (2022-02-11)
Wang, Y., Mäntylä, M. V., Liu, Z., & Markkula, J. (2022). Test automation maturity improves product quality—Quantitative study of open source projects using continuous integration. Journal of Systems and Software, 188, 111259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2022.111259
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
The popularity of continuous integration (CI) is increasing as a result of market pressure to release product features or updates frequently. The ability of CI to deliver quality at speed depends on reliable test automation. In this paper, we present an empirical study to observe the effect of test automation maturity (assessed by standard best practices in the literature) on product quality, test automation effort, and release cycle in the CI context of open source projects. We run our test automation maturity survey and got responses from 37 open source java projects. We also mined software repositories of the same projects. The main results of regression analysis reveal that, higher levels of test automation maturity are positively associated with higher product quality (p-value=0.000624) and shorter release cycle (p-value=0.01891); There is no statistically significant evidence of increased test automation effort due to higher levels of test automation maturity and product quality. Thus, we conclude that, a potential benefit of improving test automation maturity (using standard best practices) is product quality improvement and release cycle acceleration in the CI context of open source projects. We encourage future research to extend our findings by adding more datasets with different programming languages and CI tools, closed source projects, and large-scale industrial projects. Our recommendation to practitioners (in the similar CI context) is to utilize standard best practices to improve test automation maturity.
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