Black Swans – Rise and Fall of Automation

Automation is pivotal to the success of any enterprise today who would like to be relevant in today’s fast paced environment. The success of digital disruption is directly proportional to automation. However, not every automation program sees the success it could. Sometimes even successful programs don’t see the recognition it should. We can be far more successful as a community and see 10 times more growth if we can multiply the successful programs.

Many times, using ‘selenium’ that can automate everything is not enough to get a program to be successful. The ones who are successful aren’t just merely lucky. On the contrary, there is no such thing like luck in technology. It is all about 1. hard work of the teams, 2. preparation of the business sponsors and 3. execution of the managers/chapter leads.

In my talk I would like to talk about the areas organisations, teams and managers need to be focussed on if they want automation to be successful. I would like my talk to help teams reflect on some factors or patterns that I have seen constantly emerge as the reasons for success or failure of an automation program or team. These factors if understood well lead to successful programs (RISE) or lead to wasted effort (FALL).

I call these “Black Swans” that the selenium community should start thinking about.

  • The unknown business impact

Automation is not just done to reduce time for manual testing. Most teams do not understand the business impact of what they are doing. I will share examples of what the team understands as the impact compared what it really means for the organisation or the business case around the program. In most organisations there is a huge gap in this area which is easily addressable.

  • The “framework” war

There are many wars in the world of framework including some interesting framework wars I have seen recently like the one between Espresso and Appium or Appium and XCUitest. Successful organisations do not impose a framework on all teams but build one based on skillset of the team involved.

  • Perceived value

Owning an automation program can be a crown of thorns. Given its perceived ‘hard to build’ and ‘hard to maintain’ we need to always be careful of what we communicate as a team. Being a test chapter lead or test manager in an agile squad can be a very challenging job and I will share some things teams who are successful are doing.

  • The ‘silos’

Silos are not just within the team but also the team being a silo from the rest of the world. Things move really fast in the world of automation and new developments happen every quarter. I will share what are the common best practises I see in successful teams.

  • Culture, Mindset & Politics

It is really important for teams running automation programs to have a focussed mindset that helps them clearly see their focus. I will talk about some key things that team can be careful of in a large organisation.

Why Is This Talk Unique?

The focus of my talk to ensure we can grow the selenium community and inspire teams to fight for more successful programs. Saying my program failed because the business sponsor was fired is an excuse. I believe we are all stronger than our excuses. I will bring in examples from my experience of working as a partner to some of the biggest programs (both dollar value & impact) that happened within the digital landscape of Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong in the last three years. I have personally seen programs be really successful and also some that crashed.

I will bring in those stories in my unique way of articulating with passion and humour. Some of you may understand that it would take a lot of courage to speak about this topic in a vast group of people. However, I can assure that everyone in the Selenium community will benefit by getting inspired from this talk.