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All posts tagged Elon Musk

Automated QA Yada Yada Yada

Another year of recurring discussions online how the silver bullet of automated QA is killing manual QA. This ongoing trend has had several impacts on the market, not all of them positive.

The Impact of Automated QA

1. Craftmanship is dying not manual testing. Do you know one person who is a craftsman in anything or have they been replaced by mass industrialized process? This is progress you say?

Junior testers feel driven to dive head-first into automated QA before they have learnt the craft of testing. They see automation as the end product, not as a means to implementing the tests and methodology they never had a chance to learn about. What do they spend their time learning, how the product works under the hood or the intricacies of their chosen automated QA framework?

2. QA Managers are super-powered, high octane, ninjas but, at a high cost. If you are a QA Manager then you had best be a full-stack test professional, who can manage a team, function as mentor, be an oracle for the product technology, generate dashboards, manage DevOps / ALM tools but also dedicate yourself to hands-on implementation of automated QA yourself.

Why? Because QA professionals have sold to companies that it is possible and optimal that one person is capable of doing this without compromising quality (ironic much?) of management. QA Managers are being forced to sacrifice their strategic responsibilities for tactical operations for what? Burn rate or simply because this idea stands unopposed?

Analogous to this, when is the last time your Development Manager spent a meaningful portion of their work day writing code?

3. Don’t shoot the messenger. Did we forget that the essence of our job is to report our findings? Often we report defects, overall quality of a build but also we raise red flags. We provide preventive treatment for issues before they go to production but if our underlying methodology is flawed where does that leave us?

When the silver bullet doesn’t live up to expectations, the messenger is not always viewed favorably.

The Warptest POV

We frequently cite Michael Bolton on his philosophy regarding testing vs checking and where automated QA falls into this. Here is one of his tweets, yet do we really work this way, evangelize this philosophy to our companies? It doesn’t seem so.

In recent days they asked Elon Musk about delivery problems in his company Tesla and his answer, I built too much on automation capabilities. If Elon Musk can admit that automation is not the magical solution (read the tweet below) then isn’t it time we considered the same?

Elon Musk’s admission has much further reaching implications than simply admitting over-reliance on automation. Musk admits that the role of human workers in successful delivery is underrated.

How do we refactor our methodology to redeem the human role in testing and QA?

In a nutshell, the perceptual bias towards automated QA needs a stake driving thru its heart.

Whilst I have used existing terminology and semantics to avoid confusion (manual vs automated QA, testing, etc.) this is clearly a major reason why Michael Bolton goes to great lengths to use accurate and appropriate terminology (again see his tweet above and many other of his posts, tweets etc for more).

In fact, there are technologies that cannot be tested with Automated QA, the existing frameworks aren’t mature enough to provide a solution. We can create partial solutions but we run the risk of becoming over-enamored with the solution as a product and not executing our tests on the actual product.

If we can get past this misconception about how we test, then maybe we can get to meaningful discussion about how we reframe optimal use and understanding of automated QA.

Two ideas I discussed today on a Facebook group for Israeli testers (in Hebrew) were: –

  • Test planning and design is an umbrella that provides coverage for your tests:

automated QA - umbrella

  • Testing debt – testing should be agile but not just in the sense of testers in the agile team. Not just in the sense of testing as part of the sprint. Every tester, regardless of the tools they use must be aware of how they and their tests integrate into the testing process.

It’s 2018, are you ready to focus on the optimal and correct way to use automated QA?

How Can Leonard Nimoy Get Us To Mars?

Some context, I have spent the past few weeks researching blog posts on Windows10, a follow-up post to how the Messaging App niche is exploding and another testing post.

I switched on my phone this evening at the end of the Jewish Shabbat to see that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. Like many people of my generation, he was an actor who inspired us onscreen and off.

Leonard Nimoy - Spock

Most famous for his performance on Star Trek as Mr. Spock, the Vulcan science officer whose cold logic and wry tone were the perfect counterfoil to Captain James T. Kirk who both on small and large screen won the day with his passion, ability to woo alien ladies and his illogical way of defeating the odds.

Nimoy made science cool and taught the layman that space was not just going to be won by the lantern jawed heroes but by fact, logic and science too.

Thinking about all this led me to some interesting conclusions about various tech news over the past weeks.

Connections That Lead To Space, The Final Frontier…

Microsoft announced Windows10 several weeks ago and with it the astounding Hololens, the innovative holographic, interactive headset poised to change the world of computing as we know it.

Leonard Nimoy - Microsoft Hololens

Image courtesy of Microsoft Hololens Site

Meanwhile, Microsoft and NASA announced collaboration on building an app for Hololens to aid in exploration of Mars.

Leonard Nimoy - Mars Onsight app

The app will be called OnSight and will allow NASA scientists to interact holographically with the Mars Rover according to CNET.

All this is incredibly cool and will reduce the massive overhead and technical challenges with delivering astronauts to Mars surface in the immediate future. However, the problem of Space travel and exploration has always been that so few were able to dream let alone attain this incredible adventure.

This is where current Space travel fell so far short of the ideas we saw in Star Trek of fleets of starships venturing forth to the stars exploring and discovering new worlds and whilst the incredible scientific discoveries and advances due to Space travel can be found in almost every field, most people feel a huge disconnect from the ROI of going into space.

Where Does Elon Musk Fit Into All This?

Along comes Elon Musk and suggests that the key to successful exploration of Mars is internet that reaches all of Mars and back to Earth.

Leonard Nimoy - Elon Musk Mars Internet

Image courtesy of Phys.org post linked above

There is a lot of truth to Musk’s hypothesis and given his ideas on other subjects, I’d bet on him.

The Warptest POV

That said, Mars Internet is the solution to allowing many more of us to fully embrace Space travel and specifically Mars Exploration; if this works in concert with Microsoft Hololens and NASA’s OnSight App.

Imagine if any Hololens owner with NASA’s app can connect using Elon Musk’s Mars Internet provider. NASA will de facto have crowdsourced the exploration of Mars if they timeshare several Mars Rovers (or perhaps in the future Mars friendly drones) using the vital bandwidth of Musk’s Mars Internet.

This will provide an incredible experience for young and old, people of all kinds and races. If this isn’t a similar vision to Starfleet (albeit virtual and holographic) then what is?

This could be the chance for many of us to boldly go where no one has gone before, even if it’s just from the visor of Microsoft Hololens.

Wouldn’t you leap at the chance to explore the Stars?

This post is dedicated to Leonard Nimoy and the inspiration he gave onscreen and off to so many.

Live Long and Prosper.