I wish I didn’t have to write this blogpost, but here goes. Time to bring out the famous hammer metaphor. As a child I learned how to use a hammer. Not that I’m an expert user, but I’m skilled enough to slap some nails into a wall with it. As a child, I even participated in a yearly week-long ‘carpenter camp’ (timmerdorp, for the Dutch readers) and we built huts together; great fun!
Now, imagine that I’m going to start using the hammer for everything. My sink is clogged?? Time to bring out the hammer and bust it open. My oven has stopped working?? HAMMER TIME. You’re probably already tired of this metaphor and I hope you get the gist.
It’s ridiculous to use a hammer for everything.
Then WHY IN GODS NAME do we think it is okay to equal testing to automation!?
I’m freaking tired of seeing lousy job ads asking for an agile tester, when in the description I read ‘We’re looking for an agile tester who is constantly busy with automating tests. We don’t like manual work, we are too busy for that’. I’m looking at you Albert Heijn (text of the ad is in Dutch). If you don’t like manual work, maybe you should fire all the people and get robots to do the coding for you.
Moreover, during my work I sometimes feel like I have to defend myself when I do some testing myself. Sometimes a developer is truly puzzled why I don’t automate something. They can’t look inside my head and probably think I’m doing the same thing over and over, while in fact I look for subtle variations and new combinations. I’m exploring! I’m using the software while trying to ‘think like a user’, ‘think like a hacker’, or whatever persona I can think of. I always use tools to support me during testing.
Do I hate automation? No, of course not. For the first time, I’m working with developers who are heavily into unit testing and doing it quite good! So I’d rather team up with them to see what we are unit testing and what we can automate on another level. Put that in a CD pipeline and you have a great baseline of checks running without having to lift a finger. Awesomesauce. But that’s not gonna prove your product works. It’s only proof that you’ve built it right.
Did you build the right thing?? That’s only for humans to evaluate. And a tester (or anyone else from the team) can help you with that in various ways.
Please, dear people, stop equating testing to automation. I get that you want the world to be a simple place, but it is not. And if you think I’m wrong, please hire the developer (because you’re not going to hire a tester if you’re asking for automation only) and enjoy testing software with only boolean outcomes.
And now I’m going to relax and sip some tea, cheerio folks
Thanks to Petri Kainulainen and Patrick Prill for enraging me (I see that as a good thing when it’s inspiring me to write blogs), cheers guys!