QA Revolution

Building The Automation Test Revolution Department

One of the most successful accomplishments so far has been to build a world class automation testing organization from the ground up. Early in my career, while working at EDS, I had an awesome opportunity to see how test automation can really make a difference within a testing department. Ever since then, I was chomping at the bit to get the opportunity to build an even better model. I had a few attempts at some other jobs I worked at, but I never had the support of upper management to turn my vision into reality. I even attempted it while working at CenturyLink, but again it lacked the support and budget to make it happen.
Finally after an acquisition, the opportunity became a reality. I had executive champions that provided me the tools, hardware, and budget to make it happen. And for that I have been extremely grateful. Here were a few things that were critical elements along the way.
1. Vision. I had seen success before but never had to build something from the ground up. I believed in my abilities to lead and the Automation Revolution team members that formed the nucleus of the automation team.
2. Leader. I needed someone who was highly technical that could lead the team and could carry out the vision. I had recieved a recommendation from my boss that I should use Brad Dye to lead the organization. I am so very thankful that I have had the opportunity to work with him.
3. Plan. I needed a plan that could be presented to executive leadership. It would require development of a business case and a strong ROI to justify the time, budget, and dollars needed for this project. Luckily, the plan was approved and I realized the pressure was upon me to deliver the vision.
4. Tool. I had used WinRunner while working at EDS so I knew the tool could do it. I had also done some automation with Rational Robot, but I just was not that impressed. So I knew that QTP was the next version of WinRunner so we decided to settle on that tool since we had the licensing and it would make a nice complement to HP Quality Center.
5. Execution. I was able to start to get the Automation Revolution team to list out the manual test cases that needed to be automated. The test cases needed to be detailed enough so that I could bring in automation experts to build them who were not as familiar with the applications we were automating as the manual testers. The plan took approximatley 2 years to get all the manual test cases built.
6. Consultants. In order for us to deliver on the plan, we needed to bring in some outside consulting firms such as ATG and Prodapt to help us meet our objectives. Both companies were able to come in, hit the ground running, and provide us with the support we needed to accomplish our vision. For that I am extremely grateful.
7. Maintenance. Test automation is expensive. It requires constant maintenance and updates to scripts in order to keep them running. The bottom line is that it requires dollars to operate. If you hear from a consulting company or anybody else that test automation is a one time thing, you better run the other way, because this is simply not true.
Success was achieved as The Automation Revolution was able to do things beyond my wildest dreams. I pushed and challenged the team to go above and beyond what they could do. The team worked together making countless modifications to The Automation Framework to make it more efficient and effective. The team is still hard at work making test automation even better. I look forward seeing what other things they will do in the years to come.
Long Live The Automation Revolution!

Ron Wilson