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Sensible Test Automation: How to handle the ‘Automate Everything’ conversation

//Sensible Test Automation: How to handle the ‘Automate Everything’ conversation

Introducing Jerry Penner; Test Specialist at Waterloo Hydrogeologic!

On Feb 17th, Jerry is presenting a talk at the Kitchener-Waterloo Software Quality Association’s monthly meeting entitled: “Sensible Test Automation – How to Handle the ‘Automate Everything’ Conversation.” Here he touches on some key presentation items – enjoy!


Hello, my name is Jerry Penner; I am a proud member of the Waterloo Hydrogeologic testing and development team. This speaking engagement is a great opportunity for me to reflect on a topic I know well – Automation in software testing. Key topics I will cover include:

  1. Managing Automation Expectations: Your managers are great folks who are doing the best they can, with what they’ve got, to help your company succeed. If they are considering adding automation tools to their testers’ arsenals they’ve probably got good reasons for that. It’s your job as a knowledgeable tester to help them understand what automated checks can and cannot do for you, them, and the company.
  1. Reasons (not) to automate: Some reasons are good, others based on incomplete or wrong information. We’ll discuss some of these.
  1. Things to (not) automate: Certain verification & validation tasks are boring, labour-intensive, or cannot be completed by humans in a reasonable amount of time. We’ll discuss which of these tasks to avoid and why.
  1. Automation criteria (W5H1): Who, what, where, when, why & how? Getting your managers to answer these questions regarding the “Automate Everything” initiative will help expose and focus the size of the task they have in mind. Once these questions have been answered both you and your managers will have a better idea of what to (not) tackle.
  1. Get the right tools for the job: One of the most popular editions of any testing magazine I’ve read are the tool comparison issues. I won’t disappoint, I’ll discuss a number of tools you may find useful and situations which I’ve actually applied them. Most are free or nearly free; some you may not have even realized are already in your toolbox!
  1. Unconventional tools, uses & pairings: This is where I talk about some of the tools that I’ve used to feed each other to get a particular result. I’ll also talk about one of the ugliest, dirtiest hack tools I’ve come up with in my career to get another tool to work. If you come to the meeting, you’re welcome to share your ugly dirty hacks as well.

How has all this helped me in my role at Waterloo Hydrogeologic?

If you’ve used our software products you know on a high level they take data in, do stuff to it, and spit it out in the form of historical graphic representations and future what-if scenarios. Our products need to produce the same results every time, given the same inputs and settings. The testing and checking tools we use help us to:

– validate results

– compare to other results

– make sure business rules are consistent

– find and quantify performance problems

If a tool will help me do these things faster and more accurately than I can by myself, I will use a tool to do that. For me, using tools to help with the software testing effort is to help me find more of the important bugs faster. If a tool is getting in the way of that, It’s not a tool I need to use today.

If you struggle with this challenges in your work environment, I’d like to invite you to join us for an afternoon of lively, and informative, discussion – and lunch!

If you’d like to attend, you can register here: http://www.kwsqa.org/kwalitytalks

2019-05-21T13:07:49-05:00February 3rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

About the Author:

Jennifer is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Waterloo Hydrogeologic.