Succeeding in the World of Test Automation: A Slack Takeover with Paul Grizzaffi
Thought leaders throughout the software community are taking over the TechWell Hub for a day to introduce themselves, answer questions, and engage in conversations.
Paul Grizzaffi is the principal automation architect for Magenic, providing technology solutions such as automation assessments, implementations, and activities benefiting the broader testing community. He has also spoken about test automation at local and national conferences and meetings.
@Paul Grizzaffi presided over the most recent Slack takeover, which led to some insightful discussions.
Getting Automation Initiatives Off the Ground
“My company has struggled a lot with automation as a concept. We keep starting and stopping, what could we do to help us move out of our rut?” —@David
This question popped up multiple times.
“I frequently see automation endeavors that fail to live up to their potential because they were not treated as software development projects,” Grizzaffi said. “Starting and stopping is a sign of this. We wouldn't keep starting and stopping our product development, would we?
“That said, automation is also a business decision. It appears that your company has prioritized other business objectives over the objectives that would be helped by adding some automation.”
He suggested being an advocate for automation. If you think automation will help meet a business goal, than champion it to leadership and help them understand that not fully engaging has negative business impacts.
Preparing Test Careers for the Future
“How much scope do you think a manual testing engineer has in today’s industry?” —@Esher
It’s not just automation that test professionals worry about; there were several questions around artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and other technologies that could threaten testing careers.
Grizzaffi’s message to testers who fear the worst is hopeful: “For the foreseeable future, there will be things that machines can't do or can't do in a valuable manner; those things should be done by humans.”
That said, he continued, some teams and organizations will be okay with the risks associated with “fewer people, more machines."
Grizzaffi offered career advice to position your skills for the future: “Read, go to meetups, watch videos, go to conferences, talk to vendors … and be pleasantly skeptical.”
Vetting Automation Tools
“Evaluating automation tools, what are metrics and functionalities you think are important to look for?” —@owen
Grizzaffi said to consider what he calls the automation ecosystem, which has three aspects: goals, audience, and environment.
“You should consider each of these aspects when evaluating or choosing a new tool. List your criteria under the aspects and see which tools check off a sufficient number of them,” he said.
“Once you have the number of possible tools down to something reasonable, do a prototype on your application. It's great to prototype against a test or demo site at first, but only you know where the crappy parts of your application and workflow are—make sure you hit on those. Those are the places that a given tool is likely to struggle.”
And for some fun, Grizzaffi, who’s a fan of metal music—he once gave a keynote presentation drawing parallels between testing concepts and heavy metal lyrics—shared some of his favorite songs throughout the chat. Check out the TechWell Hub to see his picks!