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While no one’s disputing that automation is here to stay, whether it should infiltrate every aspect of software testing seems open to debate. My own take is that automation shouldn’t be applied ubiquitously — and certainly not throughout every development sprint without any scrutiny whatsoever. Take user stories, for example.

I’m seeing more and more senior QA managers and chief technology officers (CTOs) that are so keen to automate stories within the same sprint that they forget what a chain reaction this can set off. What often underpins this attitude is management’s impatience to deliver the code and rapidly ship the product out the door. As a huge fan of automation, I also understand that you have to do it properly and not judge your release readiness by the number of automation scripts you execute. Doing this at the expense of comprehensive manual testing is potentially detrimental to the development cycle with sequential consequences that may be difficult to undo.

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