What automation analogies can help us?

I loved reading @greetomosquito’s story of how working in a hummus factory helped Derek reflect on approaches to automation.

What other things do you do in life, or have experienced, that help you with automation? What automation analogies can help us?


This is not how lawn mowing robots look like, but what many “replace testers by automation / transit from manual to automated testing” advocates preach.
And despite the robots there is still much work left for humans.

I got it from James Bach A Context-Driven Approach to Automation in Testing



I have a half-thought-through idea of an analogy between testing and transport.

Automated testing would be like trains. It takes time and effort to build the tracks, and you need to think about efficient routes based on demand (ie thinking about what is valuable to automate and how to cover this efficiently), but once that’s done the trains can whizz about with little effort.

Unlike manual testing (cars or something?), the automated tests can only run on the tracks that have been laid out, but don’t need a human tester driving them all the time.


I like the analogy of a literal exploration. Some people discovering new lands.

Sure, you plan some things for an exploration. You can not tell what you will find and what the lands will look like.
Sure, you use tools on an exploration. Automation might be one of these.
When is the exploration done? Either when the sponsor has enough information or you are at the end of your resources. (Luckily here has no-one really starve to death being trapped in the ice)

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Guess what, someone can only build tracks where someone else explored the terrain :slight_smile:

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Cooking is a common task that we can apply with testing our ideas and validating our automation.

We need to test our food as we are cooking. If you leave the sauce on the pan too long, then your meal will burn?

Many of us are excited and interested in new products using AI. We need to keep asking questions. Why are we doing this and how is this going to solve the problem?

When I think about automation I want to add more structure for example a safety net. There might be more analogies that help you think about opportunities to reduce risk.

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