Update: New Article Published: Man and Machine

My first cover article for Better Software magazine is out this month: Man and Machine: Combining the Power of the Human Mind with Automation. This is an article describing how I bridge the gap between automated software testing and manual software testing. I rarely see software testing as purely scripted vs. purely exploratory, or purely manual vs. purely automated. I see these as a matter of degrees. I might think: “To what degree is this test automated?” or “To what degree will automation help us create a simulation to enhance our exploratory testing work?”

This isn’t a new concept, and I was influenced by Cem’s Architectures of Test Automation , and James’ Tool-Supported Testing ideas. Aaron West just sent me this link that describes a related concept at Toyota: the “autonomation” which is a machine that is used to help employees in their work, opposed to a fully automated robot.

I hope this article helps bridge a divide that doesn’t need to be there. Automation and manual testing are both important and can co-exist for the benefit of our testing efforts.

Update – Feedback:
Software developer Rob Shaw says:

Good stuff. I hadn’t thought of automation in this way. As a programmer with previous unit testing experience, I was definitely more in the ‘unsupervised automation camp’ but your transportation analogy shows the power of IAT (interactive automated testing).