Welcome!

Perl Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Mike Hicks, RealWire News Distribution, Bob Gourley

Related Topics: Perl, Java, Linux, SAP

Perl: Article

The Seven Deadly Sins of Software Test Automation

Undoubtedly Test Automation has failed to achieve for the masses

For the past 15-plus years, organisations have turned to test automation as a way to improve efficiency in the Software Development Life Cycle. Yet despite heavy investment, software testing is still often the bottleneck in the delivery cycle. In a recent survey of CIOs, Original Software found that only 6% were totally happy with their automation. The scary thing is that this is tolerated - It’s the norm!

“Only in a world this shitty could you even try to say these were innocent people and keep a straight face. But that's the point. We see a deadly sin on every street corner, in every home, and we tolerate it. We tolerate it because it's common, it's trivial. We tolerate it morning, noon, and night. Well, not anymore. I'm setting the example.”

John Doe (Kevin Spacey) in Se7en

Undoubtedly Test Automation has failed to achieve for the masses. But why is this the case? In this article I take a light-hearted look at Dante’s Divine Comedy to uncover some home truths about software test automation…

The Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), wrote three epic poems (known collectively as the Divine Comedy) titled Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. In his book Inferno, Dante recounts the visions he has in a dream in which he enters and descends into hell. The sinners that Dante encounters in the Inferno are each punished in accordance with which of the seven deadly sins they were most guilty of while they were alive.

Now, I can’t help but to liken this to our very own industry –

As Dante journeys through the Inferno he encounters sinners condemned to eternal damnation because of their actions or in some cases inaction while on earth.

As I myself journey from prospect to prospect I often encounter the ‘sinners’ of test automation, whose projects are condemned to eternal damnation because of their actions, or, in many cases, the inaction that we un-earth.

One can gain a deeper understanding of Dante’s Inferno by studying the seven deadly sins which brought these souls to this miserable place.

In this article I will explore each of the seven deadly sins as they relate to software test automation, instances we come across time and time again, and traps clients have often fallen into because of their earthly vices.

Welcome to the Seven Deadly Sins of Software Test Automation.

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Vanity Sin

Pride / Vanity Usually considered the worst of the sins, this is a feeling of superiority and an excessive belief in a person's own abilities; A desire to be more important or attractive to others, failing to give credit due to others, or excessive love of self. This sin often manifests itself in the wanton squandering of money and time on themselves without caring about others.

Picture the scene: The wool has been pulled over the eyes of Brimstone Business Application Co’s CIO. He did a deal with a big IT supplier to have their quality-centred products added to his order. At the time it seemed like a good idea – he saved the company money and had a nice round of golf rolled-in to boot. He’d fallen into the superiority trap of believing that the most expensive or most prevalent solution would always be the best, but now was beginning to realise that this particular technology was not actually compatible with his company’s needs. He’d brought this solution in, so his pride was unable to take failure. Instead he persevered until it was too late and placed unrealistic goals on his QA team, who were then forced to revert back to manual testing. As a result the project time-lines slipped, applications went out the door late and bug-ridden, which proved expensive in re-work costs and built up a huge stack of technical debt. His department was now damned to an eternity of fire-fighting the latest problems.

The punishment in Hell will be: to be broken on the wheel.

Avoidance strategy: bigger isn’t always better. Look around when evaluating new solutions.

 

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Sloth Sin

SlothSpiritual or actual apathy or laziness; an undue slowness to act; Sloth can also concern wasting due to lack of use or allowing entropy, expanding into almost any person, thing or skill that would require maintenance, refinement and/or support to continue to exist.

Picture the scene: The IT Director of Hades Hire Company wanted an easy life. He shelled out for the best test automation solution money could buy (or so the sales exec said). Feeling pleased with himself he imagined pouring a large Louis XIV, lighting up a cigar, kicking back and watching as all of his testing nightmares melted away in a flash of computer wizardry and dreamy music…

Unfortunately this was far from the case. Two years and £1 million later, after a lengthy installation and script development programme his team were finally all set to start their first automation! The reality was that there was no computer wizardry, no dreamy music, nothing. It cost the company a small fortune, and needed continuous attention and constant looking after by a team of specialists to be effective. And even with all this TLC, it was still prone to sulk and become unproductive. Every time the application was updated, the specialists then had to re-visit the code and tweak and re-write parts of it so it would be able to continue showing off its silky skills. The upshot of this was that for those areas of the application that were changing frequently, the test automation became very difficult to maintain. Testers with the necessary scripting skills were also very expensive to employ and with staffing cutbacks and no-end of changes to the application, his QA department kept resorting back to manual testing in order to cope with the demand. In short, his £1m investment slowly fell into disuse and was doomed to take its place amongst the graveyard of dusty shelf-ware.

The punishment in Hell will be: to be thrown into snake pits.

Avoidance strategy: beware of smoke & mirrors when evaluating solutions. Make sure they are easy to maintain.

 

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Lust Sin

Lustis an inordinate craving or animal desire for; A lascivious passion or desire for something often to the point of assuming a self-indulgent, and sometimes violent character; It relates to almost anything that you may have a strong desire or drive for, such as the lust of battle or lust for power; Lust prevents clarity of thought and rational behaviour.

Picture the scene: The QA team leader at Lucifer Banking Corp. is fed up with making constant requests to her database administrator for slices of data to run their tests on. It’s a huge bottleneck in the testing phase. She’s lusting after control. When the test database becomes corrupted, it can take up to 10 hours for them to roll back the changes and reset the environment. If only she was able to create her own test database with checkpoints she could revert back to time and time again, her life would be a hell of a lot easier. There’s a tight deadline on the latest software release and she knows that getting the DBA to reset her environment will hold the project up another 24hrs, so she decides to go ahead and test on (the corrupted) test database she has at hand. The regression test picks up a ton of defects that the test team go on to spend days investigating, only, far too late in the day, discovering that the errors were actually in the database and not the latest software build. Because they have wasted time chasing ghosts, real defects have managed to slip through the net in areas of the application they were unable to test. Because some exchange rate changes were not picked up, the application has had to be pulled and the team are destined to spend their weekend bug-fixing.

The punishment in Hell will be: to be smothered in fire and brimstone.

Avoidance strategy: test data management is the bedrock of successful automation.

 

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Greed Sin

Greed - the self-serving desire to acquire material wealth and possessions beyond the need of the individual, especially when this accumulation of possession denies others. It is often manifested in various forms such as miserliness and unethical business practices; Preoccupation with the acquisition and preservation of material things and possessions.

Picture the scene: The IT Manager at RiverStyx Retail had heard about a great job opening. He coveted the idea of the increased seniority, power and responsibility it would give him, and it was paying a lot more money too. There was just one hitch. He needed to prove success with some short, quick wins. Unconcerned about corporate risk or the technical debt he would be leaving behind, he took numerous shortcuts in order to release more applications in a shorter time-frame, hoping to be an immediate hero and not be around by the time the repercussions were realised. He took that gamble but missed out on the new role. Of course, just like in every moral tale, his shortcuts came back to haunt him. He’d bypassed the database testing on their ecommerce application and the value field for the televisions that would normally retail for £1000 had been input at just £1. Unfortunately, because there was no defect reporting system in place, consumer word of mouth acted much faster than the bug-fix, and, by the time the error was resolved, RiverStyx had sold their entire stock. Five thousand televisions at a loss of £999 made a significant dent in the company’s fortunes and in the ensuing witch hunt that followed, his bad practices and lack of planning and strategy were exposed, warts and all, under stadium-strength floodlights. Needless to say, he lost his job and without a reference was condemned to join the ranks of the dole queue rather than the lofty heights of the elite that he had envisaged!

The punishment in Hell will be: to be boiled alive in oil.

Avoidance strategy: Make solid test plans and stick to them. Shortcuts will always come back to bite you.

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Anger Sin

Wrath: intense, fierce anger, rage or fury, usually on an epic scale and often leading to violence. Any action carried out in great anger, esp. for punishment or vengeance.

Picture the scene: You’ve fought for the budget, parted with the money, spent two years implementing your whizzy new test automation solution and now you find that rather than freeing up resource and providing a rapid ROI, you actually need more staff to maintain all the script changes. It’s enough to make your blood boil! Well, that’s the situation the IT Director of 666 Solutions found himself in. His ensuing hissy fit and bad temper made his capable team hand in their notices, doubling his pain and guaranteeing him a stomach ulcer to-boot.

The punishment in Hell will be: to be dismembered alive.

Avoidance strategy: Know what you are buying into and do a thorough proof-of-concept.

 

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Gluttony Sin

Gluttony - Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow. Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste; Often manifests itself as obesity, substance abuse or binge drinking.

Picture the scene: Armageddon Autos had a small QA team of just two testers. To be honest they could have done with another couple of people in the team because the workload had increased significantly in the preceding few months. The senior tester was a bit of a script-monster, he loved nothing more than building scripts for their automated testing solution. In fact, he loved scripting so much, he did very little else. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week…gotta build those scripts, gotta build those scripts. Love those scripts! When an application changed and needed re-testing he was there changing the scripts he’d just spent weeks building. Gotta change those scripts, gotta change those scripts. He loved scripting so much he actually never got any proper testing done. Time and time again, testing held up application delivery, projects were always late, and always went over budget. The problem was, he didn’t seem to mind, he was happy with his scripting solution. “It will automate everything - just as soon as I finish these scripts” he kept saying, but the application was always changing faster than he could keep up. Maybe the QA team didn’t need that extra person after all, maybe they just needed their senior tester to get on and test rather than spend every waking minute writing those scripts. Maybe they didn’t have the ideal set up, but he loved that scripting solution because of his familiarly with it and because it gave him a purpose in life – to build scripts. The QA team was fated to continue going round in circles, being the slow cog holding up the rest of the machinery.

The punishment in Hell will be: to be force-fed rats, toads, and snakes.

Avoidance strategy: Remember what you are trying to achieve. Don’t get hung up on the mechanics.

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Envy Sin

EnvyThis is the desire to possess what others have; Grieving spite and resentment of material objects or accomplishments of others; Those who commit the sin of envy resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of it; Jealousy; Covetousness.

Picture the scene: It’s Friday evening and after a devilishly long day trying to co-ordinate user-acceptance testing, Azazel Application’s Business Analyst is relaxing in the pub, nursing a pint of Hellhound Hops ale and venting his frustration to his close friend, the QA Manager of Dungeon Doughnuts. His problem you see, was that when IT chose to purchase their ALM solution, they didn’t engage him or consider the business needs of the solution. It was purchased purely for the needs of development and testing, nobody considered the bigger picture. Nobody thought about aligning IT with business requirements or how they would be able to conduct user acceptance testing when the selected solution required technical know-how and the ability to read code. As a result, his role has become little more than a glorified call centre operative, going back and forward between IT and the users, trying to work out how they came about particular defects and keep the project on track. His friend tells him about the new solution they’ve just deployed at Dungeon Doughnuts, with a point and click interface, recording activity behind the scenes, with the ability to mark up defects for users to email straight to development. It is obviously brilliant and exactly what he would have liked to have seen implemented at Azazel Applications, but his friend is so smug about it, while he’s at the bar getting the next round in, he childishly flicks fag ash in his beer. His jealousy will eat him alive.

The punishment in Hell will be: to be submerged in freezing water.

Avoidance strategy: Consider your IT / Business alignment and make sure all requirements are in place from the offset.

So, revisiting the opening quote from Kevin Spacey, let’s shake off this apathy and stop tolerating these deadly sins just because they are commonplace. If you want to wear the halo of professionalism and not get burnt by bad practice, take a long hard look inside yourselves at what you are doing and why you are doing it. Don’t get caught out by letting arrogance, inertia, desire, materialism, self indulgence, resentment or temper get the better of your business decision making.

Original Software 7 Deadly Sins - Hellfire

More Stories By Colin Armitage

Colin is the CEO and the founder of Original Software.

Throughout his career Colin has been a key industry player focused on building companies and solutions where technology is aligned to true business needs. From the founding of Original Software in 1997, through its expansion into North America and the broadening of its solution set, Colin has provided the leadership and vision to deliver the track record of continual and profitable growth.

Prior to Original Software Colin was a main board director at AIG, leading their main business division through a period of unprecedented and highly profitable expansion. It was here that he had the opportunity to put his strongly held views on team management and personal style into practice. The results spoke for themselves with staff turnover less than 25% industry norms and a succession of multi-million dollar projects delivered on time and on budget.

Original Software and its flagship TestBench software product, grew out of that experience - as did an awareness of the potential opportunities and rewards offered by the corporate markets, to the proven professional supplier.

A passionate skier, tennis player and golfer, Colin confesses that these interests can create near crisis strains on his commitment to the cause of better software!

@ThingsExpo Stories

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.