Sail or Fail? Navigating Test Automation Pitfalls

Sailing the treacherous waters of test automation is challenging at best. From executives thinking "it's going to fix all of our quality problems, right?" to team members saying "no, that's YOUR job", our automation initiatives face an uphill battle with a tendency to struggle…or at least to not achieve their full potential. Let's shed some light on several of these challenges and pitfalls while discussing some of the approaches we can use to avoid a voyage on the SS Failboat.

Paul Grizzaffi is the QA Automation Manager for Development Shared Services at MedAssets. His career has focused on the creation and deployment of automated test frameworks, tools, and platforms. He holds a Master of Science in Computer Science and is a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) from Scrum Alliance. Paul has created automation platforms and tool frameworks based on proprietary, open source and vendor-supplied tool chains in diverse product environments (telecom, stock trading, online/digital retail, and now health care). Additionally, he has spoken at both local and national meetings and conferences. He looks forward to expanding his automation and QA knowledge for other product environments.

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  • Sudhir M.

    I agree Paul did a great job and delivered very well. The topic is close to me and we offer a customizable layered accelerator framework. Enthusiasts please get in touch with me.

    August 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I agree great job Paul. I was probably the least knowledgable person in that room and I was able to grasp most the concepts you were discussing.

    August 21, 2013

  • April D.

    Great Job Paul, really enjoyed your delivery!

    August 21, 2013

  • Hiba A.

    Very interesting topic with a very good speaker

    August 21, 2013

  • Sandra J.

    Speaker had excellent delivery combining facts with humor. I appreciate the insight he provided about testing automation.

    August 21, 2013

  • Bryan E.

    Wonderful job, Paul! So many great ideas and conversations to bring back to our teams & customers.

    August 21, 2013

  • Sylvia Bissell C.


    August 21, 2013

  • Lance D.

    The presentation is available on our blog:

    August 21, 2013

  • Lance D.

    Great context to help us get going in the right direction.

    August 21, 2013

  • Kim W.

    I really appreciated how grounded in reality the presentation was.

    August 21, 2013

  • Ritu S.

    Excellent presentation ! thought provoking session! Thanks Paul. Thanks Improvers!

    August 21, 2013

  • Dave N.

    Good intro to an important topic. Speaker was comfortable, confident, informed, and fielded questions very well.

    August 21, 2013

  • Andrew R.

    Enjoyed the atmosphere and the speaker did well.

    August 21, 2013

  • Jessica

    Really captured the practical essence of agile QA. Automated releases and devops are wonderful goals but there will always be a need for manual verification...always

    1 · August 20, 2013

  • Michael A.

    Paul is an excellent speaker. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of meat to how he stood up automation using Scrum.

    August 21, 2013

    • Dave N.

      Anything that helps us deliver effectively is relevant to Scrum teams, even if it isn't mentioned in the Scrum Guide.

      August 21, 2013

  • Paul G.

    Thanks to everyone for your time last night. I hope everyone found something valuable to takeaway. I definitely enjoyed speaking to you. Thank you, also, for the feedback; I always like to hear went well and what could have been changed (whoa! kinda like a retrospective, eh?)

    Thank you to the organizers and sponsors for a great event!

    1 · August 21, 2013

    • Dave N.

      Good job. At one point you mentioned that in hindsight you might have split the Finder layer. If I understood the model correctly, then you might have been looking for something along the lines of the Page Object pattern. There is a ruby gem called page-object that I like to use when setting up automated testing of web apps. It gives you an OO-style DSL on top of the layer where Selenium or Watir lives. It's very convenient for abstracting out implementation details and factoring out common common functionality, such as the Finder part of the common login method he showed in the presentation. The page-object gem won't help you with other kinds of apps, but the concept still applies.

      August 21, 2013

  • Dave N.

    In my work I often help clients get started with automated testing, so it's a topic of interest for me and also a familiar topic. I thought Paul did a great job giving a solid introduction to the topic, nicely supported by his experience report from GameStop. It was very basic, but I think that was appropriate for the audience. I appreciated Paul's layered model and his explanation of the rationale and the context-sensitive decisions around it. All of that was right on the mark.

    August 21, 2013

  • Stephen S.

    I am so thrilled I attended. First, Paul Grizzaffi's presentation really spoke to me on several levels. I walked away with several "golden nuggets" I can put into practice within my company. Secondly, Charles, Lance, and Allison are extremely gracious hosts – so warm and welcoming. Finally, I am simply amazed by their generous attendance prices. Tonight I won a free Certified Scrum Product Owner training course - a $1,200 value! I am sincerely thankful, appreciative, and forever grateful!

    2 · August 20, 2013

  • amit

    Is there am entry charge?

    August 20, 2013

  • Jane P.


    August 18, 2013

  • Keri S.

    I am very excited to attend this meetup. In an Agile environment, it is my opinion that automation is key to a test team's success but without sufficient time allotted and a good organization of the scripts, unfortunately automation often-times becomes an afterthought. When you get behind with automation, it is very difficult to catch back up.

    August 15, 2013

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