Paradigm Shifts

MetaAutomation asks software quality professionals to consider 6 paradigm shifts on the way to vastly greater productivity.

Paradigm shift 1: automated verifications, aka checks, are very different from the manual test role.

In the traditional paradigm, automated tests are seen as the equivalent to manual tests, but faster and cheaper to run.

This paradigm is in crisis, as it becomes more clear to practitioners that this doesn’t work, but the way forward has only recently become clear.

The new paradigm includes views of the unique capabilities and values of quality automation.

Paradigm shift 2: focusing checks on their unique, important capabilities vastly increases business value.

In the traditional model, manual test cases, and automation of same, provide the model for measuring functional quality.

Freed of the limits of the manual testing view, the business value of running and communicating functional quality measurements can be much greater.

Paradigm shift 3: checks are bounded in time, enabling structured artifacts.

In the traditional model, checks generate logs, just like any process than can go on essentially forever.

In the new paradigm, the fact that checks have a discrete beginning and end is used to create structure, in turn enabling artifacts that are much more informative and actionable.

Paradigm shift 4: hierarchical steps give transparency, robustness, and flexibility.

In the traditional model, if they’re documented at all, check steps are a linear list.

With the new paradigm, they can be structured and hierarchical so steps can be parents to other steps. This means that the steps can document themselves with business-facing high-level steps and technology-facing detailed steps in the same structure, shared around the larger team.

Paradigm shift 5: the internet of things is distributed, so measure quality that way too.

Traditionally, quality automation of a product is limited to one tier at a time, with information available from other tiers through instrumentation.

With the new paradigm, all the tiers can be driven and measured.

Paradigm shift 6: better quality data leads to quality power across the team and across the SDLC.

In the traditional view, the QA team or role maintains, hides and interprets for the larger software team a necessary layer of complexity of what’s going on with the SUT. There’s no way around the opacity layer that QA owns.

In the new paradigm, the layer of opacity goes away. The QA team delivers nearly-complete transparency and reliability on functional quality for the software product.