Automated Software Testing

How I fought the Software Testing Automation War and have Determined I'd Rather be a Stone Mason
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will find a discrepancy in the application. One reason for smart tests is software testing economics. The more effective the tests are at finding defects the bigger the return on investment.

This is much the same as the return on investment of smart bombs compared to those used in carpet bombing runs. The smart bombs cost more up front, but hit more targets while ordinary dumb bombs are cheaper, but many more are required to achieve the same end result. Designing intelligent tests cost more up front than just jumping in and creating automated test scripts, but the true cost of quality is seen after the system is released. The fewer the number of defects that survive in production software, the higher the quality and the lower the maintenance costs are.

The moral of this dissertation, if there is one, is that even in bad economic times QA managers must understand that there are no short cuts to test automation and that not acquiring the talent needed to do test planning and test design, is risking much higher costs after the software is released to the customers.

Consequently, I have started working with a friend who has a construction company as a stonemason until the current economic recession reverses itself. I find that doing something in the brick and mortar trade is refreshing and a lot less stressful than jumping into a doomed testing endeavor in an IT department where management obviously does not understand the testing process and does not have any intent to support an attempt to correctly and effectively implement an automated testing framework.

I will return to consulting when an appropriate opportunity reveals itself. Until then I will work at my new skill and when the situation again arises where I cannot tolerate the lack of management competence when it comes to understanding that a testing process must be in place, must be followed, and must be supported by talented and skilled individuals for test automation to be successful, I will fall back on my trade to carry be through.

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