STARWEST 2019 Concurrent Session : Industrial-Strength Automation: When You Should and How You Can


Wednesday, October 2, 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm

Industrial-Strength Automation: When You Should and How You Can

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You wouldn't buy a yacht to navigate your swimming pool, any more than you would paddle a canoe to Finland. The first is overkill and the second is dangerous. But we can't conclude that yachts are always overkill or canoes always dangerous; it depends on the context. The same principle applies to test automation. When a simple script is all you need, a full-scale product development effort would be overkill. On the other hand, you will encounter circumstances where inadequate planning or engineering discipline would drown you in a sea of noisy reports from tests that nobody is smart enough to understand, let alone maintain. Drawing on experiences from more than twenty years in the trenches, Mike Duskis will address two questions about industrial-strength test automation: when do you need it, and how can you go about building it when the time comes? As he digs into the second question, he will share specific, realistic strategies for staffing the effort, developing the code base, and integrating the executable tests into a modern DevOps delivery pipeline. He'll also point you to an open source toolkit that contains concepts from the session in executable form so you can start to experiment with them right away.


Mike Duskis got his test automation start in 1997 using Rational Robot on a multimedia interleaving product. Over the years, he rotated through testing, development, and test management roles for industries ranging from children's entertainment to higher education to medical devices, but he rarely drifted far from the source code, most recently experimenting with and sharing methods to make test automation easy to build and comprehensible to ordinary human beings. He currently plays test manager at CyberGRX, the exchange that empowers companies to manage cybersecurity risk from their relationships with each other. The exchange lives in the cloud but the office is a former paper mill in Denver, Colorado.