How to fix a flaky test?

Mayank Gupta
2 min readAug 18, 2023

Flaky tests are tests that produce inconsistent results, sometimes passing and other times failing, even when the application’s code has not changed. They can be frustrating and undermine the reliability of your test suite. Here are some strategies to help you get rid of flaky tests:

  1. Isolate Dependencies: Flakiness often stems from external factors such as network issues, database inconsistencies, or shared resources. Isolate your tests from these dependencies by using techniques like mocking, stubbing, or using in-memory databases.
  2. Ensure Test Independence: Each test should be independent of others, and the order of test execution should not affect their outcomes. Avoid relying on specific states set by other tests.
  3. Stabilize the Environment: Ensure that your test environment is stable and consistent. Use dedicated test environments that are not shared with other processes. Reset or reload the environment before each test run to eliminate any potential carryover effects.
  4. Retry Mechanism: Implement a retry mechanism for failed tests. Sometimes, transient issues can cause tests to fail intermittently. Retrying a failed test a few times before marking it as failed can help identify true failures.
  5. Increase Timeout Limits: Flakiness can occur if your tests have aggressive timeout limits that sometimes expire prematurely due to external factors. Consider increasing the timeout for certain tests.
  6. Proper Wait Mechanisms: Use appropriate wait mechanisms (like explicit waits in Selenium) to ensure that elements are fully loaded and ready before interacting with them.
  7. Reduce Parallelism: Running tests in parallel can expose flakiness if there are shared resources or contention issues. Consider reducing parallelism temporarily to identify the root causes of flakiness.
  8. Logging and Debugging: Implement detailed logging to capture the state of the application, test execution, and any external factors. This can help diagnose the cause of flakiness.
  9. Regular Maintenance: Review and update your tests regularly. Remove obsolete tests, update tests affected by application changes, and refactor when necessary.
  10. Version Control and Code Review: Ensure that your test code is properly version controlled and subject to code review. This can help identify and rectify potential causes of flakiness.
  11. Continuous Monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring of your test suite. Use tools to track the history of test results and identify patterns of flakiness.
  12. Collaboration: Work closely with developers to identify and fix the root causes of flakiness. Collaboration can help address issues at both the test and application code levels.
  13. Third-Party Tools and Libraries: Explore third-party tools or libraries designed to identify and manage flaky tests, such as Flaky Test Detector or tools provided by test frameworks.

Remember that completely eliminating flaky tests may not always be feasible, but by following these strategies, you can significantly reduce their occurrence and ensure a more stable and reliable test suite.

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Mayank Gupta

QA Automation Lead | Web Automation | Mobile Automation | API Automation l Performance | Web Security | IOT | Blockchain