Technology focussed test automation - pitfall











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Ever been in a situation where your test automation project was assigned to someone who was most interested in technology and coding and wanted to get away from the "routine" of testing ? Nothing wrong in being technically inclined and getting bored occasionally with testing! (Read more here on dealing with boredom in testing) 

However, what normally happens is that an engineer or a set of engineers who seem to demonstrate the most propensity to pick up a new tool / technology and run with it while wanting to get away from the regular testing tasks, are handed over the reins of test automation. Oftentimes what is observed is that the output of such an automation effort tends to be less than desirable from a testing perspective. What do i mean ? How can we have poor automation when employing our "star" technical resources ? Note the point that i am making - the probability of ending up with poor automation is higher in such a scenario where the focus is mainly on technology or tools used in automating rather than trying to solve the testing problem well.  

Who would you assign to do test automation ? The answer to that question is a key determinant to test automation success or failure. Agreed, it is not the sole determinant. However, it does play a very significant role. A common situation that one may observe while embarking on test automation is an excessive focus on tools or technology used to automate tests. Now, how could this be a negative factor in automation ? Isn't it a good thing to be keenly focussed on the technology used in automating tests ? Yes and No. Yes, since it is important to identify the right set of tools and technologies to automate your tests. You would not want to embark on an automation exercise only to meet roadblocks as the tool proves incapable of meeting your specific requirements. Now that you have the necessary tools, will it pose a problem if you continue to be focussed on technology used to automate tests ? Focus on technology is not bad in itself unless that focus makes you lose sight of the bigger picture, which is the testing problem you are trying to solve using that technology.

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