The differences: Manual Test vs. quality automation

In my last post I describe out the two kinds of automation that fit in the quality automation space.

People who do quality automation (at least, the part of quality automation that drives and measures the SUT) usually call it “test automation” or something similar. I would like to deprecate the phrase “test automation” in favor of the more powerful, clearer label “quality automation.”

Why bother? Why is this important? … and, do I really think I can do that?

If manual “test” includes scripts that a person follows to test the SUT, and “test automation” means automating that script, then by the logic of industrial automation the value of the manual test script is now attained by automation, and it’s faster, more reliable and it works in the lab or in the cloud and at all hours.

This is a fallacy! Automating a test case is not like industrial automation; it is very different.

In this post I talk about the difference between manual testing and automated checking, or as I describe it, quality automation driving the SUT.

Whether or not the person testing the SUT uses a tool, e.g. generated data, a web client that calls an SUT API, or a network sniffer, it is still manual test because it is the person who decides whether an issue around SUT behavior is actionable (a bug!) or not.

I draw the distinction this way because it offers a clear discrimination between “manual test” and automation for quality measurements and communications, that is, what I call “quality automation.”

Many would call it “test automation” but if you can break that habit it will help you and those around you be more successful.

Automation is very powerful at very different things from manual test, so the distinction is important. Clarity here helps automation deliver much greater business value to the team in quality measurement, communication, and management. That’s a big part of what MetaAutomation is about.

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