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Michael Bolton @michaelbolton
, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
1) More and more, I'm seeing people referring not to testing, not to checking, not to "automated checking", not even to "test automation", but to "automation". They talk about their "automation strategy; no mention of testing at all. When I look or ask, they seem to MEAN testing.
2) One big problem, it seems to me, is that automation is seen as a thing unto itself, which displaces attention from the task that automation is intended to extend, enhance, enable, accelerate, or intensify. Automation is a way of getting something done, not a thing to do.
3) Consequently, when someone automates some aspect of some task that they don't understand or appreciate, you don't get better results; you get the same bad results you've been getting all along — except more of them, or faster, or more deeply bad. *Amplified* bad results.
4) As a heuristic, try replacing of "automating" or even"automating a task", and see what happens when you think or speak of *applying automation to some part of a task*, to help preserve the idea that the whole task is central, not only the part, and not only the tooling.
5) Then, when you're considering applying tools, ask "What would happen if we did it this way? What wouldn't happen if we did it this way? What WOULDN'T happen if we did it this way? What wouldn't happen if we DIDN'T?" And then go around again, substituting "even if" for "if".
6) McLuhan was right: our tools are agnostic as to what they are extending, enabling, enhancing, accelerating, intensifying. They extend (etc.) *whatever we are*. As we are virtuous, they extend our virtue; as we our clods, they extend our cloddishness... both, at the same time.
7) This thread was prompted by someone asserting that many database administrators are not used to automation. I doubt it. They're totally used to automation. They're DBAs! What they're not used to, probably, is testing their work carefully, critically, using checks as a tactic.
8) But if the advice to them is "automate!", there's a strong possibility that the important stuff about testing and checking—intention, design, risk focus, coverage, oracles, testability—will get left out, and automation will extend and accelerate current levels of carelessness.
9) The same applies to testers who are told "automate!". Testers who do lousy procedurally scripted testing, with narrow focus, poor coverage, and weak oracles will produce accelerated, intensified, narrowly-focused, poorly-covered, high-cost checks that don't find problems much.
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