The Evolution of Modern Testing: A Slack Takeover with Adam Sandman
Thought leaders throughout the software community are taking over the TechWell Hub for a day to introduce themselves, answer questions, and engage in conversations.
Adam Sandman was a programmer from the age of 10 and has been working in the IT industry for the past 20 years in areas such as architecture, agile development, testing, and project management. @Adam Sandman presided over our most recent Slack takeover to discuss all things testing.
Overcoming Modern Testing Challenges
“What do you see as the biggest challenges to testing right now and how can we overcome those challenges?” —@Tom Stiehm
Sandman believes we don’t do enough testing in enough ways, citing the need for more performance, security, and usability testing. While automation can certainly help perform some of those repetitive checks, a lot of companies continue to struggle getting their test automation set up properly.
He also warns people not to fall into the “perfection trap,” where you choose not to test anything at all because you’re not going to be able to test everything. Rather than skipping testing altogether, you should prioritize your testing and do what you can before releasing your product to market.
Consumer-Level Usability and Service
“You started Inflectra almost 15 years ago, what has changed the most in the software industry over the past 15 years?” —@owen
The biggest change Sandman has seen is the expectation of consumer-level usability and service in everything software professionals produce. Historically, teams could create software and expect users to download it, install it, read the manual, and then have multiple in-person meetings to get it up and running. Nowadays, users expect to be able to open any piece of software they choose and understand how to use it right away.
It is business-critical to make software easy to use out of the box with the aid of just a few instructional videos, a link, or a video conference. If users can’t activate and understand your software quickly, there are often other options available, so they’ll move on.
Automation Doesn’t Make Things
“I find it very troubling to hear that a machine made something. Machines don't make things. People make things, and the machinery has a role in making things.” —@michael.a.bolton
Sandman took a historical approach to the observation that machines don’t make things.
“We originally had artisans who created everything handmade, probably close to the place it was being used. We automated the process to have an assembly line, treating humans to a large degree as autonomous beings to perform a repetitive task. Many factories have replaced that with automated assembly lines where robots perform those tasks,” Sandman said.
However, automating all tasks, in either manufacturing or software, doesn’t always lead to a positive return on investment. In fact, sometimes, when you remove the human element of creation, you waste time and money, all while developing and testing the wrong thing.
Rather than automating every test in your software pipeline, prioritize your automation around difficult, mundane, repetitive checks that will free up your testers to do more exploratory testing.
For the rest of the takeover chat, including the whole discussion between Sandman and Bolton, read the full transcript here.