Automation - Just do it!

It can be a daunting task to create an automation strategy, get resources signed off, heir or train automation engineers.

But what is the alternative, and is it a good idea?

“Just do it!”

What might this look like?

  • Making use of personal development time, or putting in some extra hours and learning to do some automation yourself (regardless if your day job is developing or testing)
  • Having some kind of informal agreement either your manager or the projects manager. This might be along the lines of “give me a little time, I’ll put in a little time”.
  • You might not see the benefit in this project/sprint, and setting expectations is important.

What are the benefits of this?

  • Personal development, over time you will gain confidence and be able to contribute some valuable automation
  • If things go well, you may be able to gain some value sooner then you would think
  • Build momentum by having something to show now, instead of a plan on what you will commit to later
  • If you can prove the concept, it might be easier to get sign off for more resource to be spent on future automation projects

What are the disadvantages?

  • Without proper resources, there is a high risk of running out of time to deliver anything useful before the current sprint/project is finished
  • If things go badly, it might turn people off to investing properly in future automation
  • Automation is code, so you can easily build technical debt by treating it as a side project

What if you want to develop your automation skills without trying them out on a customers project?

Fortunately for this, there are two great options:

  1. Use one of the fantastic resources for practice testing such as
  2. Contribute tests to an open source project

Bottom line

I know it’s a cop out, but as with almost every this vs that article you will read today, the answer isn’t one of the two options but both.

Or at least, that has been my strategy:

  • Just do it! learn as much as I can about automation and practice on anything I can get my hands on. I am doing this through a combination of Self Development time signed off by my manager, and my own time on evenings and weekends.
  • Encourage, Support and knowledge share with other testers in my team, and via communities such as the Testers.Chat slack from Ministry of Test.
  • Start creating test strategies that include automation.
  • Create and support others to create proof on concept automation projects for client and internal projects
  • Consider automation skills as desirable and interestingly essential skills when hiring or planning future test resource

Is this working out for me?

Yes, in that I am having a lot of fun developing my automation skills. Is it contributing significantly to the success of projects I am working on? I will have to get back to you on that, it’s early days!

Written on February 10, 2019