30.06.13 - 16:19 - Filed in: Software Testing
Exactly one year has passed since I joined eBay on July 1, 2012, and it has been quite a ride. Overall, the experience has been tremendously positive, mostly because the people I work with are both smart and a pleasure to spend time with.
Since my team is distributed at four different locations in Europe (Zurich, Berlin, Paris, London) and our projects mostly originate in San Jose, California, I am traveling significantly more often than in my previous jobs. For many people, air travel is tiring; I don’t perceive it as such. On the contrary, I enjoy the time on a plane because it allows uninterrupted time to read a book or do some thinking.
My team covers 12 European eBay sites in 7 different languages. In the past year, we have tested roughly 100 projects of features that were rolled out to the European sites. I am impressed by my team’s capability to handle all this.
There are many different approaches to testing within eBay, which often leads to intensive discussions with my colleagues in the US. In many ways, the misunderstandings are not unique to eBay. For some reason, there is a widespread view of dichotomous antagonism between manual and automated testing, whereby automation is regarded by some as a superior form of testing.
In these kind of discussions, I often appear to leave the impression of being against automation. Well, I am not. I am - however - against undirected/unreflected automation. I am against automation for the wrong purpose. I am against automation that is only done “because it is engineering”.
I am fiercely in favor of automation if it helps the team with their testing. I am forcibly in favor of automation, if it does the checking necessary to indicate regression effects. I am emphatically in favor of automation, if it does what automation does best - fast, repetitive checking of facts.
I’d be happy if one day the manual vs. automation discussion was no longer necessary.
Anyway, I am proud that my team does not quarrel with such lack of subtlety. They all have a sound mental model of how to do good testing. What more could I wish for? So, thank you team and everybody else in the organization I am in contact with for the splendid experience so far.