Why Test Automation Projects Fail (and How We Might Succeed)

Every fifteen minutes or so, in testing blogs, on LinkedIn, at conferences, or on the job, someone raises the question of “why test automation projects fail”. Perhaps the question keeps coming up because there are so many failure modes, and so many possible answers. Here’s one answer, though: “test automation projects” are software development projects, and all software development projects are vulnerable to failure. One of the bigger and more … Read more

Very Short Blog Posts (37): “Testing slows down the project.”

I’ve had a long career in this silly business. All the way along, one of the sillier things that people have said is this: “Testing slows down the project.” This is roughly equivalent to saying that looking out the windshield and attending to the dashboard slows down the journey. Sometimes people say that discovering problems slows down the project, but that’s not true either. Discovering problems can dispel the illusion … Read more

Just Another Day at the Computer (3)

An online chat with a coaching student. I want to set up a Zoom meeting with her tomorrow. At some point during the last couple of days, there was a new version of the Zoom plugin for Outlook. Maybe there was a new version of Outlook, too; I’m not sure. But in any case…

You’ve “Built Quality In”. Are You Sure About That?

It’s common these days to hear people say that they don’t want to focus on finding bugs; they want to focus on preventing bugs. They want to focus on “building quality in”. Let’s face it: building quality in is a pretty great idea, and preventing bugs from reaching customers is a really good thing. On this, reasonable people agree. To prevent bugs from reaching customers, you’ll have to become a … Read more

Just Another Day at the Computer (2)

On my iPad, I’m reading a discussion on LinkedIn. A reply piques my interest, and I want to alert a colleague to it. I tap on the dots in the upper right. The options offered are are “Message (the author of the reply)”, “Share via…”, and “Report”. I tap on “Share via…” Nothing happens. I move to my computer, and go to the same reply. The three dots in the … Read more

Test Tools

Selenium! Playwright! Cypress! Postman! There’s constant hubbub around these tools and others primarily focused on checking output—and now the din is getting louder about low-code or no-code tools for checking output. (Last year I reviewed a couple of those, here and here. Did these companies use their own tools to test their own tools? Either a Yes or No answer would be disturbing.) Want some heuristics for choosing tools of … Read more

Just Another Day at the Computer

I sit down with a coffee, retrieve my mail, and open it up. I’ve received a spammy kind of message. It provides a link to unsubscribe. The link returns {“code”:1020,”message”:”fail”}. I’ve received another spammy kind of message, this time from Yellow Pages ( In the text, it is addressed to “[{Recipient.FirstName}]”. The message asks “How do you show up online?” Better than YellowPages shows up in my inbox, I hope. … Read more

The Developer Who Loves Testing

Deep testing — testing that maximizes the change of finding every elusive bug that matters — is the kind of testing work that engages and motivates serious testers. Developers tend to prefer shallow testing that doesn’t disrupt the developer’s mindset and the developer’s focus on getting the danged product built. (Before anyone gets too upset, note that the shallowness of shallow testing is a feature, not a bug. There’s lots more … Read more

That’s a Rap!

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to a recording of the mind-blowing musical Hamilton (if you haven’t seen or heard it, do yourself a favour and check it out). Our whole family was, for a time, obsessed with it. A few months after that, I was preparing for a talk at Xebia in Amsterdam. I was wondering how I could spice up the talk a little by doing … Read more