The Six Million Dollar Automator


See in Greater Detail 
The first set of automation bionics we'll implant provides the ability to see things in greater detail. This will allow the automator to speak more intelligently about automation concerns, make more informed decisions, and help set the direction in which the project needs to go with respect to software test automation. 

  • Automation's Role in the Testing Lifecycle: This includes planning-related items that are often overlooked yet are extremely important for test automation success, such as calculating automation ROI, choosing what to automate, and determining exit and entrance criteria for the test automation phase.
  • Automation Types: The different types of test automation—functional regression), unit, integration, performance, etc.—are often lumped into one "test automation" category. It's important to understand the basic differences between types, even if you don't specialize in all of them, so that you can speak intelligently about them.

See Farther
The following automation bionic allows the automated tester to see farther and recognize items that can impact the automation effort over time. 

  • Automation Approaches: Automation is more than record and playback. Approaches include data-driven, functional decomposition, and keyword. Awareness of these approaches, along with their pros and cons, is pertinent for building tests that last.

See Things that Normally Can't Be Seen
The normal automation eye is conditioned in a way that limits what the automator is able to see. However, the following automation bionic provides the automator with sight beyond one's wildest dreams: 

  • Automation Tools: Organizations often must make a decision about the introduction or expansion of test automation based on the ability to buy a specific tool. It's important to expand your vision to both commercial and non-commercial tools and to know how to effectively valuate these options and make an informed decision about implementation.

Lift Incredible Weights
Many automation efforts fail because the framework used for automation of one release of a single application collapses under the weight of addition releases, different applications, and varying constraints. These bionics allow the automator to operate within a framework that can handle the increasing, varying weight of test automation projects:

  • Automation Framework Design Process: This addresses a repeatable process for choosing an approach that best fits your organization. It also addresses building a suite of automated tests, which allows for faster automation over time.
  • Quality Attribute Optimization: This defines various quality attributes (maintainability, flexibility, scalability, etc.) of the automated test bed and identifies ways of addressing these attributes based on priorities and constraints placed on each.

About the author

Dion Johnson's picture Dion Johnson

As a senior test consultant and managing partner for DiJohn IC, Inc. and advisor to the Automated Testing Institute, Dion Johnson provides IT consulting services that focus on the overall system development lifecycle, with particular focus on the quality assurance, quality control, requirements analysis, and automated testing. He has presented at numerous SQE conferences and contributed to and Better Software magazine. In addition he is an editor for the Automated Software Testing magazine. Email Dion at or

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