Linda G. Hayes is a founder of Worksoft, Inc., developer of next-generation test automation solutions. Linda is a regular columnist and contributor to StickyMinds.com and Better Software magazine, a columnist for Computerworld and Datamation, author of The Automated Testing Handbook, and co-editor (with Alka Jarvis) of Dare To Be Excellent. Contact Linda at [email protected].
More companies are moving to some version of open offices or pod configurations in hopes of inspiring collaboration and improving productivity. But does it work? If you consult efficiency studies, the answer tends to be no. In fact, increasing proximity is shown to decrease productivity and creativity.
In many organizations, the manual and automated test teams are separate. But the most successful test teams integrate manual and automation resources into a single, cohesive team. This allows them to fill in any gaps in the test case steps and to develop a more informed automation strategy.
Many organizations struggle with finding the optimum ratio of testers to developers. Linda Hayes explains that there's no one right answer. It depends on your needs for planning, test environment and data management, requirements analysis, test design, execution, diagnosis, reporting, and defect management.
Automation projects often start by tackling the technical issues, but Linda Hayes says a specific data environment should be established first. If you can’t control, define, and predict your data, you won’t have the repeatability that makes test automation practical—but it makes sense for manual testing, too.
Test automation ROI is usually calculated by hours saved times an hourly rate. If automation is displacing manual effort, then that produces savings, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Automation isn't free, and it doesn't displace manual testing. So, how do you calculate the ROI for test automation?
Manual testers are experts at the unexpected, while automation is all about predictability. Automation won’t replace manual testing, but neither will manual testing replace automation. Linda Hayes writes that once the difference between them is understood, the fear of automation dissolves.