I work with it by being on the sidelines. I know I can step in whenever I feel like it, but no one requires me to. I can look at it both as an insider and an outsider. My place and position is unique. I find that I see things others don't pay attention, and my attention brings out things others wouldn't be paying attention otherwise. And I share about this position for you, my dear reader, because there's something you could consider here:
- if you are deep into automation, what a step back can give you as perspective
- if you are not deep into automation, what you can make sense of just by seeing concepts and reading code "as if it was English"
- Our ability to run automation that kicks off 14 000 clean OS instances up and down a day is quite an achievement, and that from "I want a clean OS to install on" to "I can start installing", it is a matter of a few seconds.
- When a new person joins and isn't left to discover the environment on their own, it takes a day to get started. Comparing this to new person joining discovering it on their own being weeks, basic proficiency being closer to 6 months I'm even a keener fan of pairing new hires for their first tasks.
- It runs and it is kept running. It enables releasing in a way products of this complexity could not be released without it.
- It guides new hires to create a corner of their own over sharing common assets
- It has tons of embedded decisions over time that allows others to be judgmental about "not doing things right" for later hires
- Reuse of things has a manual coding element, taking days of coding to just introduce a concept like "same tests to another environment". And people rather spend the days on the manual task than create an abstraction.
- People think of it as "testing a lot" because it runs often even if for a very limited set of things to test. It distorts *managers* concepts of how well we've tested, when same thing 1000 times is not 1000 times more testing for real.
Test automation is a product that tests our other products. Caring for overall quality of it is just as necessary as caring for the details of each test.