Monday, 16 March 2009

Make testing fun?

On the LinkedIn group "Software Testing Club", the question was asked: "How can we make testing more fun?" They are running 1300 scripts over 4 months.

There were some interesting answers about holding weekly competitions, creating visibility with management, and having a movie in work time. There were also a couple of mentions about automation also. Here is my response to the thread:


Draw a graph of the "boringness" of the testing - on a scale of 1 to 10 - of different things the testers are doing. The more boring the activity, the more ripe it is for automation. But don't think of automation as all-or-nothing. Pick out the most boring things for people to do and automate them. You can get real benefit by automating only 2% of the scripts, for example.

You don't need to purchase expensive tools to automate either. Use what you already have or look into open source tools (see the FreeTest Conference link from my web site).

However, do be warned that a free tool is not free! In order to be successful in automation, you must plan and prepare how you will do it.

In fact there is so much to say about how to go about automation that I have written a book about it with Mark Fewster (see link on my web site). Although the case studies are now getting a little "long in the tooth", the main body of the book covers the principles of automation - whatever tool you use - that will help you creat a long-lasting "regime".

Manual testing is not fun if you are just following a script; but manual testing is tremendous fun if you are doing exploratory testing, for example. Get the computers (tools) to do what they are good at, and free the people to do what they are good at.