Don’t Fear Automation

By: Kimo Saper

Change is part of life, even more so within the world of technology. Automation has been building momentum year after year, and soon it’s going to reach a tipping point where the majority of QA tasks will be handled by automation.

Don’t fear automation, embrace it. Make it your ally!

So, how does automation help me?

First, automation can help ensure that delivery deadlines are met when production dates slip. All of us have seen it, testing timelines are the first to get compressed so delivery dates can hold. When dates slip, there are only so many bodies you have to throw at issues. Automation is going to be faster and more reliable than people and this speed and efficiency helps to deliver. It is very easy for one person to manage several different automation test suites at once. Plus automation has one shift: 24-7. No OT, Holidays, sick days – it goes as long as you keep feeding it.

Second, use your most valuable assets for the highest value work. Automation allows you to spend less time on discovering issues, and more time on resolution. Issue discovery is low value work, and 90-95% of features are going to work. It is all about the things that don’t work. High paid engineers should not be spending their time finding what to fix. They are paid for their experience, intuition and skill to solve problems. Its automation’s job is to discover those issues quickly so the real work can begin.

Third, automation delivers reliable and repeatable results. There is no interpretation of what the test steps should be, no shortcuts taken on the last run of the day. The reliability holds up to outside scrutiny, especially on regression tests. You know with certainty that the process was the same on this run, as it was for the previous fifty runs. Automation can also easily integrate into your existing reporting systems; or even deliver improved reporting. Searchable databases of results filtered however you need them to be. Stop digging through emails for that one excel sheet.

Last, automation can take care of many of the background issues that cause re-testing. Things like test preconditions, version controls, data entry errors, network health & status issues. Side step these land-mines from the start. Know that your supporting infrastructure is operational before your day’s testing begins. A well written routine can validate a device is in a “Known Good State” and passes the criteria, then flashes the firmware and re-conducts the test for validation, and lasts, it resets the device to a KGS before closing out.

Like all things automation has strengths and weaknesses. Not all testing is right to be automated, or can be automated feasibly. So its up you to examine you current processes & procedures and see where the value add from automation is going to be.

Areas you should be looking at:

Eliminating the mundane & highly repetitive work in testing

Automating version controls

Incorporating edge case and negative test cases in automation’s permutations

Network health checks

Integrated, searchable, centralized reporting

Automation is there to help you do your job better – work smarter not harder!

Kimo Saper

Kimo Saper

Kimo Saper has been involved in some form of testing innovation throughout his career, which spans over a decade. He helps mentor new testers in their growth and is a go to guy for innovation.

In our opinion, James “Kimo” Saper is a super hero of testing. We are not quite sure what that super hero’s crest would look like, but it would certainly be a cool one. Kimo is able to manage competing interests and deadlines for companies big and small. He enlists collaboration efforts of his team by enabling them to focus on the critical tasks of value to the client. His clients praise his work for creating a culture to embrace testing automation and not a culture of fear of lost of jobs.”

– Steph Schroeder, VP, Neteffects