Agile Testing Automation

As an Agile/Testing consultant, trainer and coach there are certain questions I hear often. One of them is: "What tool should we use for test automation?"

My response is usually the same: "What do you want to automate? What kinds of tests or checks?"

Very often I see people and teams make the mistake of trying to find the silver bullet.. the one tool to automate everything. Alas, there is no such tool and I don't believe there ever will be. At least, not in the foreseeable future.

It's about this time that I usually look for a whiteboard or piece of paper so I can sketch a few diagrams to help illustrate the problem. There are two diagrams in particular that I like to use. (Aside: for reference, I first publicly presented this at the DevReach 2012 conference, and it is part of the Agile/Testing classes I teach. This is the first time I am blogging the topic since I am often asked about it.)

Where would you go?

An old friend reached out to me recently to ask me some questions about Ruby, a very handy programming language to know if you are in testing, development or IT/Ops. During the conversation I mentioned that I am presently working as an Agile Technical Coach, and not in a Testing role of some kind.

Two things came to my mind during the conversation: (1) I am happy to have moved on from Testing (i.e. from doing it to teaching it), and (2) I went to some lengths for the job I have now.

After 20 years in various Testing and QA roles, I am happy to have moved onto coaching, consulting and training. I know when it's time to leave the development game to a new crowd with a fresh pair of eyes.

There are two things in my professional life that I love doing: Teaching and Testing. I did the latter for a long time, so I am pleased to focus on Teaching for a while. Unfortunately, it's still quite clear to me that many people are getting into Software Development without much knowledge (if any) of formal Testing and Quality practices. Sigh. That's too bad. It seems I will have many teaching and coaching opportunities in this field for a while yet.