Process flow diagram

Document your process

It is a good practice to document your business process from the beginning to the end, including decision points (branching).

The documentation should describe the prerequisites for the process to start. Does the process require an Excel file to exist in a specified location? Is the Excel file content valid? Are the required login credentials available?

Was there some erroneous data in the Excel file? You may decide to abort the whole process or to report the invalid data and continue with the valid data. These kinds of decisions should be documented as branches in the process flow.

After entering the data in a form and submitting the form, does the next step contain the expected results? If not, how to proceed?

If everything goes fine until the end, when do you consider the process to be completed? What are the expected artifacts of the process? What do you do with the artifacts? Do you send an email report to someone?

Documenting the process makes it easier to implement the automation and to take into account the many possible decisions the robot might need to make to finish the process run.

If you can document it, you can automate it.

Document your automation script

In addition to providing written documentation of the process, it is a good practice to document the automation scripts as well. Since Robot Framework syntax can resemble written English, there might not be a need for excessive documentation or comments in the scripts in simple scenarios.

*** Settings *** Documentation HR onboarding robot. Completes the usual onboarding process ... for a given employee by sending out invites to the core systems ... used in the company. Compiles and sends out a report to HR ... representative at on completion. *** Tasks *** Send out invites to company systems Validate prerequisites Send invites ${EMAIL} *** Keywords *** Validate prerequisites Email should exist ${EMAIL} ...

Robot Framework User Guide describes the documentation syntax you can use to document your scripts.

Write the scripts and the documentation in a way that someone other than you can understand the process flow, the decision points, and expectations. Peer reviewing the automation scripts is an excellent way to make sure that the documentation is good enough.

Last edit: June 1, 2020