What to Automate?

19 09 2011

I had this interesting conversation on Automation the other day with my colleagues at my new job. It started off fairly innocently on how the automation should be thought out and what needs to be done to automate. We already have an existing framework and test scripts in place, which very efficiently work and report issues. The problem comes when we need to provide data on what automation actually does. How do you prove the effort spent on automation? You could easily say that it saves time and resources by checking for faults early in the development cycle, but how can we be sure that it actually covers scenarios that check the application? This is where a business requirement document becomes a necessity.

The issue which we increasingly face today is how do we relate the business requirements to what we test. There are a few things which are given in textbooks and across such certifications organizations like ISTQB, which provide information on such. The thing is ultimately it depends on the person who is sitting and working on the application (which most of the Program/Product Managers miss out on) and the person who is writing the scripts to automate the application testing. The best way to figure out for a restricted zone (propriety) application is to go and sit with the users and find out what they use the most (or run a key stroke capture software and see where all it goes, limitations of this later). With a public/global reach software, it is best to give out Beta versions of the same, like most of the Big Organizations do and see what is reported back.

The other end of the spectrum is propriety software, which might not have a user interface (system tools like Compilers is one example). For this the technique is basically to read through the Software Requirement Document/Specification and have confidence in your abilities to decipher the jargon written in those and convert them to simple English. I got my initial training on writing code on these only, and the golden rule for us was [in a summary]:

  • Read through the document and write what you have understood for each function
  • Create the Algorithm for each in plain English pseudo code
  • Convert these into test cases, and run those test cases
I think the above rules of going through the steps of Why, What and How has helped us out a lot to become what we are today 🙂




The Religion we Portray – Sikhism

19 05 2007

There are times when I feel as to why are we still having issues related to religion. Sikhs have been a race which is supposed to be the most tolerant towards any kind of caste-ism and open to religious discrepancies. I used to propagate Sikhism based on these virtues. It is Ok, if the religious place is desecrated and a whole army of troops sent in for the people to raise their voices and they have a right to be heard. But is it Ok now to openly revolt in the form of violence that is currently being shown across our television sets. It is understood that we are a hot-headed race, which has become a identity in itself, due to our history of being the warrior race. But, as a rule we are the pure disciples of the teachings of the Guru, which are now in the Guru Granth Sahib. I respect that aspect of our culture and revere the same kind of tolerance which has been taught to us through those teachings. We have a right to express our concern when our religious sentiments are not respected, but not in the way that has been done in the recent violence driven activities.

This brings me to the point that our religion has become Politicized by all these ill-meaning people out there who are just out to gain power and political mileage from these issues. The Dera Chief did a wrong thing by portraying himself as one of the Guru’s, but where has it been said anywhere in the Guru Granth Sahib, that we should not portray his image? And the main point here is, do we even know how they actually looked like. Ok, even if that is there, we should have restrained tolerance and not given in to violence. We have policies in place where without going out and killing people, we ask them to do seva in the Harminder Sahib. This practice is an excellent way to teach the people humility and make them do some good for the place which is a revered one for all the Sikhs. We have never discriminated on the basis of caste or religion. All are free to come and seek solace at the Gurudwara’s. The Dera’s came up, when we as a religious sect deviated from this path and started pushing the people away. The people look for solace elsewhere and these Dera’s gave them that. When did we become like this and why??

The Dera Chief has just tried to gain political mileage and publicity to himself by doing such an act. We should realize that religious sentiments are best left undisturbed and should not be aggravated. But, in these days of Politization by our stupid leaders we seem to have lost that tranquility that the Guru’s had wished to create. These are the days of modernization, but our leaders feel that due to this, the people will get aware of issues and remove them from their positions of power. I am really disappointed with the turn of events and how things have materialized. Hope that the so-called leaders of ours learn soon and start addressing real issues than to fire up people on their religious sentiments and make them fight among themselves; forgetting the real actual issues being faced. I am really disappointed and hope these issues clear up soon. A plea to those leaders also, please refrain from using religion in your politics, keep these two separate.