Friday, September 16, 2011
The Value of Automation
There’s a nice paper by Brian Marick called “When Should a Test Be Automated?” http://www.stickyminds.com/getfile.asp?ot=XML&id=2010&fn=XDD2010filelistfilename1%2Edoc
But, I emphatically disagree with one of the assertions used in the paper: “Bugs are the value of automation…” When creating and running the automation some piece of automation the first time, bugs are part, or maybe even most, of the value of automation. When the automation is running in the lab on a regular basis, bugs could show up and those are very valuable to the team because they might mean that some change broke a part of the product. It’s very important to find such issues quickly.
IMO the greatest value of automation is to measure the quality of the product in a reliable, stable way, often and quickly. Without some good measure of the quality of the product, you can’t (or shouldn’t) ship.
Code coverage is one view of quality. Scenarios run is another. Perf and load testing are others. Automation helps with all of these.
On Monday, I’ll start with a daily series of posts on metaautomation.