Testers and Automation: Avoiding the Traps

“Test Automation” is a hot topic. If you are in the testing field, then you are being pressured to automate your work. But how should you go about it? There are lots of expensive tools you could use, but there are also free tools. Only certain specific aspects of testing can be automated, so which aspects should you focus on first? Which should you NOT focus on? How can AI help?

This class will help you whether or not you write code. We don’t cover how to code or how to operate any specific tool. Instead, this class is about automation strategy. It’s about vision and setting goals that make sense.

Creating useful automation to support testing is a huge challenge. This class is designed to help you meet that challenge using the Rapid Software Testing methodology. We will show you creative uses of inexpensive tools, and will teach how different kinds of automation can help you or hurt you. We will show you how to analyze vendor claims critically. We will help you make a sensible automation strategy.

This class is not affiliated with any tool vendor. We may demonstrate or mention particular tools during the class, but we have not accepted and will not accept any payment or benefit from commercial interests. (We may be biased, but we have not been bribed.)

Class Goals
  • The primary goal of this class is to teach you how to plan and administer an effective strategy for applying automation to software testing.
  • A secondary goal is to help you avoid common traps that cause automation to suck the life out of testing.
Who Should Take This Training

The Testers and Automation class is for these kinds of people:

  • If you are new to testing, we will introduce you to professional testing and provide exercises that help you develop you natural testing talents.
  • If you are a tester who does not code, we will help you understand the challenges of creating automation, and help you ask for what you need.
  • If you are a tester who does code, we will help you see many ways of applying your coding skills to testing.
  • If you are a quality coach or manager who is responsible for bringing in automation, we will help you create a strategy that avoids the common traps.
  • If you are from an organization that is struggling with existing automation, we will help you understand your situation and form a plan to improve the situation.
  • If you are a supporter of skilled, responsible testing, and you feel that you are under attack by technologists who think they can automate everything, we will help you defend your team and your work.
Main Topics Covered

This class is taught Socratically, with exercises, discussions and illustrations of the RST methodology. Class discussions and debate address students’ questions and specific needs. We all learn from the unique perspective that each student brings to the class. We’ll cover:

  • The 12 traps of automation in testing.
  • Checking vs. testing: what can be automated and what can’t.
  • An exercise in test strategy and talking to a coder about automation.
  • The secret life of an automator: hidden costs.
  • How tools can help in primary testing vs. regression testing.
  • Thinking critically about the claims made by commercial tool companies.
  • Thinking critically about the ROI of automation.
  • How you might apply AI in testing– and how AI can go wrong.
  • Demonstrations of creative ways to apply tools to testing.
Classroom or Online?

This currently an online-only class:

Live. The online class is always taught live, because the instructor responds to student questions and challenges.

Timing. It takes place over three days, via Zoom. We do three 90-minute webinars each day, with 30-minute breaks between them, covering 5.5 hours total time daily. These can be time shifted to better accommodate certain parts of the world. If necessary, the online class can be arranged over non-consecutive days.

Recording. For public classes, we don’t allow recording. For a private class we allow recording for internal use only.

Interactivity. Interaction is an important part of the class. So, in addition to allowing students to self-unmute to respond to the instructor, we also run a MatterMost chat server during the class. This facilitates conversation among students, as well as with the instructor (publicly or privately). It also helps us share documents, links, etc. We encourage students to activate their webcams, but that is not a requirement.

How This Class Compares To Our Other Classes

We talk a little about automation in each of our classes. This class focuses on it.