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Test Automation Day Keynote 18th June 2015

I attended the Test Automation Day in Rotterdam on the 18th June 2015 to present a Keynote on my experiences with automation as both a manager and a practitioner.

I attended the Test Automation Day in June 2015 to present a keynote on Practical Test Automation Lessons Learned.

Let us forget theory for a moment, and concentrate on the practice of automation. Alan will describe lessons learned from both success and failure; as a tester, an automator, and a manager. But more importantly, you will discover how to apply these lessons and improve your automation. Learn how to stay focused, how to experiment and still add value, how to manage even if you cannot code, and more...

About the talk

I planned to create an experience based talk pulling out lessons I'd learned from roles at different levels of seniority in the testing hierarchy. And as I worked on the talk I discovered that I hadn't ever dived into the history of 'automation'. I had learned about the history of programming and read a lot of older programming texts, all of which I had taken value from.

I do like to 'go to the source' and delve into the history of the various topics I read, even if that simply means looking through the bibliography of a book and reading some of those, then looking through the bibliography of that book and ... etc.

So I started reading older 'automation' books and was surprised to learn that:

  • Automation is a young word and only came into popular usage in the 1950s
  • Many of the management problems with 'Automation' were experienced at its introduction: training, staff skilling, staying up to date, maintenance, change in process, tracking, ...
  • Many of the controversies existed in the 1950s: unemployment fears, will automated processes replace all jobs, will everyone have to automate, ...

So I pulled some of this into the talk as well, so it wasn't just my experience I was presenting, it was also lessons learned, from a history of Automation, that prior to the talk I had been unaware.

I didn't think the talk would be recorded so I captured a recording of a late rehearsal, which I will start to do with all my talks from now on, to build an archive of them later.

I created the slides to support the talk in a fast paced, new slide every 30 seconds or so. I think this also allows the main messages to be understood from the slides, although it does miss out some anecdotes.

If you would like to start your own investigation into the history of automation then I recommend "Automation and Society" from 1959, available for download from


I have released the slides to SlideShare

Prior to the conference

I was interviewed by testnieuws to help promote the conference:

During the conference

People were kind enough to tweet during the talk and take photographs.

After the conference

Alexandra Schladebeck wrote some notes about the conference covering her talk, and additionally my talk as well.

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