Help your team learn test automation

I recently had a great conversation with a member of the software testing community, who works as a leader and wanted advice on how to help his team learn test automation.

This is a summary of some of the advice I shared, that reflects my own experience in learning and helping others learn.

  1. An automation project is a wider topic than just the individuals who are going to learn how to design the tests and write the code. It involves investment from the whole team, and indeed the company. This could be in the form of paying for tools and infrastructure, but more likely it will be an investment in time. Time for people to up-skill and also time to implement successful automation itself.
  2. One of the biggest barriers I faced helping my teams start automating, was lack of will of management to invest in their learning and the construction of the automation itself. So don’t miss the step of identifying who you need to align with, and taking time to understand the goals you’re trying to hit, so you know what success looks like.
  3. Everybody learns differently, some of us like to simply be given a task, and jump straight into doing real work, figuring out just what we need as we go. Others prefer to have read the manual, to understand the task and the theory and foundational knowledge first, and only then tackle the meaty problem. Both are relatable and can be supported, and it can be that people transition from one style to another as they gain confidence. Don’t assume one size fits all here.
  4. Try and gather a collection of different possible learning material, and let your team experiment with learning in different ways. Give them time to experiment, in as safe a way as possible. Some of your team might feel brave enough to get help and support from a group, but others may prefer to pair 1:1 with a trusted person before they know enough to join a wider group setting.
  5. I found I learned the most, when I paired with someone experienced, such as a developer on my team, and completed real test automation tasks together, as part of our sprint. Sometimes I would lead, and take direction, other times my partner would lead and I would direct. Either way, I learned a huge amount, while seeing progress of doing meaningful work. This was very very effective, and honestly I recommend doing this not just for a few hours one off, but for multiple hours a day, for weeks. It’s an excellent work of working and learning, I cannot stress enough how powerful and useful this was for both of us.

Header Photo by Tara Winstead

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.