The Impact of Automation on Development


Educate them on what you need from the software—meaningful, persistent, and unique object names; access to object attributes, methods, and properties; standard classes at best or standard implementations of custom classes at worst; a stable and repeatable test data environment. Explain the implications for automation when these are missing. Discuss whether these issues exist in the application and what the effort and schedule will be to remedy them.

Overcome resistance to investing development resources in enabling automation by pointing out that the rigor and conventions required for automation also make the code more maintainable and transferable over the long term.

Be prepared to pull the plug on automation if you identify significant issues but no solutions are forthcoming. There is no reward for hard work if it doesn't get you anywhere. As they say, discretion is the better part of valor. If the application is a loser, face it and deal with it. Let management know that automation is not feasible and either look for another application to automate or wait until the changes you need can be made.

On the bright side, my experience shows that the more developers understand about automation, the more testable the applications they build and the more willing they are to cooperate. Even doing it the good way doesn't mean the outcome is guaranteed, but it will save you a lot of time and grief because you will find out sooner rather than later whether your relationship with development will survive automation.

What has your experience been? Share your comments below.

About the author

Linda Hayes's picture Linda Hayes

Linda G. Hayes is a founder of Worksoft, Inc., developer of next-generation test automation solutions. Linda is a frequent industry speaker and award-winning author on software quality. She has been named as one of Fortune magazine's People to Watch and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Dallas Business Journal. She is a regular columnist and contributor to and Better Software magazine, as well as a columnist for Computerworld and Datamation, author of the Automated Testing Handbook and co-editor Dare To Be Excellent with Alka Jarvis on best practices in the software industry. You can contact Linda at

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