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Selling Test Automation Successfully: Strategies for Low-Budget Projects

Test automation has become a crucial aspect of ensuring the product quality of software development today. However, it is really hard to convince stakeholders to invest in test automation when the project is a low-budget project.

I was involved in a low-budget project that aimed to create an e-commerce platform for facilitating buying and selling. In this platform, sellers could list their products, and buyers could make purchases. The client was particularly keen on keeping the project budget low and, as a result, wanted to minimize the QA cost by eliminating test automation. As a QA professional, I recognized the value of test automation in streamlining regression testing efforts. Consequently, I made an effort to convince the client to adopt test automation, and I finally managed to get the approvals. In this article, I will outline how I successfully accomplished this goal.

This article will be beneficial to experienced quality engineers, quality engineering leads, quality engineering managers, and project managers to pitch test automation into low-budget projects.


The Value of Test Automation

Before directly going into the strategies, it's important to understand why test automation is worth the investment, even for low-budget projects:

  1. To Increase The Efficiency
    Test automation is used to accelerate the testing process. By using automated test scripts, testers can quickly execute the repetitive tasks which allows the testers to save time for more complex and crucial test scenarios.
  2. Improving The Accuracy
    Test automation helps to reduce the risk of human errors. Automated tests execute the same test steps accurately as instructed each and every time, ensuring consistency and stability in testing and lowering the possibility of missing defects.
  3. Fast Feedback
    Early bug detection is essential for the software development life cycle as it will help to reduce the cost. Automated tests offer quick feedback, allowing developers to address problems right away and avoid fixing them later in the development cycle.
  4. Regression Testing
    Regression testing represents where test automation really shines, making sure that brand-new code changes don't break already-existing functionalities. This is especially helpful for projects with a lack of manual testing resources.


Strategies to Pitch Test Automation for a Low-Budget Project

As we already discussed the value of test automation, now we can investigate methods for convincing stakeholders to accept it, even if it is a low-budget project:

  1. Analyzing the Cost vs. Benefit
    Come up with a thorough cost-benefit report that highlights the benefits of test automation in the long run. Highlights should include less manual testing time, lower cost in bug fixing, and better product quality. Elaborate on how these investments can bring value compared to the initial cost of test automation.
  2. Start Small
    Recommend to start with a small scope for automation which targets the main aspects of the application. As an example, starting smoke suite automation will be a good idea as it will help you verify each build without having manual interactions. Incrementally you can expand the coverage by automating more tests while the project is ongoing.
  3. Open Source Tools
    It will be cost effective to use open source test automation tools initially. There are lots of robust and popular open source test automation tools available for free. So no need to buy commercial test automation tools initially and it will save the cost.
  4. Training and Skill Development
    In the long run, you will need to invest to train your team to uplift their test automation skills. This will help the company not to look out for external resources to do the job. When there are capable resources within the team who already trained and uplifted the skills can be a good investment to drive the test automation smoothly.
  5. Pilot Projects
    Apply test automation to a small scale pilot project and show the positive outcomes to the stakeholders. Educate them on how long it will take to release without test automation and using only manual testing. Explain how you detect defects early from the test automation without having any manual effort. By showing these proofs you can gain the trust of the stakeholders.
  6. Highlight Risk Mitigation
    Highlight how efficiently test automation reduces the risk of bug leakage to the production. Also, explain the benefits of finding the defects early in the development life cycle. You can focus on saving the cost and the time. Further, sharing real-world scenarios where test automation prevented bug leakage to production will be helpful in convincing the stakeholders.
  7. Continuous Integration
    Explain the benefits of integration between the automated tests and the Continuous Integration (CI) approach. Highlight how the tests will run automatically for each code commit and receive quick feedback as the verification of that code commits. Describe how this approach accelerates the development life cycle and smoothens the testing process.
  8. Long-Term Savings
    Explain although the test automation will require an initial investment, it will drastically help in the long run as the automated tests can be reused in all subsequent releases not only for one release. It will lead to reducing the manual testing effort and the cost, likewise, it will help to identify the defects early so that no one will be surprised after the project goes live. Emphasize that automation will be an investment that gives return of investments (ROI) progressively.
  9. Test Coverage Expansion
    You can highlight how to expand test coverage through test automation. Emphasize how to increase the test coverage by adding a wide range of scenarios such as negative test cases, edge cases, and data-driven test cases which will usually take much effort to execute in manual tests.
  10. Demonstrable ROI
    One of the best ways to convince stakeholders is to showcase the Real-world success stories of test automation. It may be internal projects or outside of the company. Showcasing the Real-world scenarios will be significant in gaining the confidence of the stakeholders.
  11. Continuous Improvement
    Always keep in mind to explicitly explain that the test automation is not a one-time effort because most of the stakeholders will think that it will be only a one-time cost and once the automation is in place, it will remain forever. Educate them that once the initial automation framework is implemented, then it can be improved progressively and the failures also should be addressed if it is a test defect. Continuously monitoring the test automation will lead the project to a success story.
  12. User Experience Enhancement
    Highlight how test automation is helpful to improve the user experience by identifying the defects early in the development cycle and not giving surprises to the end users when the project goes live. As the automation will run a number of times for a project sporadic issues also will get captured which is hard to capture from only manual testing.
  13. Compliance and Reporting
    Don’t forget to explain how the test automation will help in compliance testing and reporting. Automated tests will check the compliance programmatically for the projects with specific compliance requirements. It will help to reduce human error when manually validating the compliance in each feature. Mainly automated tests will help to release the software confidently with the legal compliances.
  14. Competitive Advantage
    Explain how the test automation will provide benefits even for a low-budget project in terms of quality and meeting the delivery timelines with minimal manual testing resources.
  15. Future-Proofing
    Finally, educate your stakeholders on how the test automation works as a guardian of the project when the new features are added to the project, automation will ensure that the new changes don’t break the existing functionalities. This will lead to reduce the regression issues and ultimately give you a stable project.



Selling test automation for a low-budget project needs a strategic approach when convincing the stakeholders. By following these strategies you will be able to effectively persuade your stakeholders to implement test automation in your project. Keep in mind to start small and continuously showcase the progress to the stakeholders to gain their confidence so that they will agree to make improvements progressively.

Osanda Deshan Nimalarathna

Written by Osanda Deshan Nimalarathna

I am a visionary Solution Architect in Automation, leading the charge in revolutionizing automation solutions. My expertise spans from designing intricate frameworks to delving into the depths of open-source technology. With a proven track record as a technical specialist, I excel in translating innovation into real-world solutions. My passion for sharing knowledge as a tech blogger adds an extra dimension to my multifaceted journey. Join me on this thrilling ride through the realms of cutting-edge automation and transformative technology.