How many people can I replace with automation?
A common question amongst managers that are not into IT much. It may seem rational to believe that if something is automatic it may require less man-power. As an addition automation adds quite a sum to the general expanses. So it would be rational to find some ways to win back the spent money by decreasing the amount of testers on the team. And that is actually not how things work, no matter what you’re sleekly consultant has told you. Automation is about quality increasing rather than the price of testing decreasing. Vista was tested automated and I’d bet the machines were sure everything was 100% ok. And how’d it turn out?
Automation is good for saving time, yes. But the saved time has to be spent on testing. Sure nobody wants a tester with a dumb face just staring at the screen while the process is on. Yet you can’t get rid of testers just because machines do the work. Machines do not work, they are completing what they are told. Let’s get deeper.
- You start automation too soon – you will fail, the results will be irrelevant, lots of overworking.
- You start automation too late – not enough time. No results in time. Fail.
And who will be the judge of when the time comes? Testers that know what they are doing and when it needs to be done. A smaller team won’t have the time to think for them as well as for machines. And the timelines and test cases that need to be automated are different on every level.
Not all is automatable
You simple can’t automate everything. UI for example. All the automated tests here may seem OK to a computer, because everything is working. And any user will be astonished with the rubbish that is going on in your software. Automation takes away the monotonous work, yes. Yet this only opens space for a tester to do his original job – testing. Machines do not test, they make sure everything is going as planned. Failed task may go according to a failed plan. You don’t want that to happen to your project.
Automation allows testers to get closer to such relevant issues as:
Those are the things you want to focus on if you want good software. A robot can not do that properly (at least not right now). It can only allow your testers to focus on what’s important, that’s it. A tool can not replace the person wielding it.