"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Testers & their passion for test automation

Once a group of software testers were traveling on a plane to attend a test automation conference. Their plane was hijacked by terrorists and all people on board, including the testers were held hostages.

The situation was grim as terrorists appeared to be dangerous with AK-56 strapped across their chests. The terrorists demanded a lot of things that the government couldn’t meet. After seven hours of flying, the plane was running out of fuel. The only demand government could meet was to refuel the plane.

Terrorists chose an airport to land and the plane was refueled enough to fly for 12 more hours. The terrorists threatened to kill a hostage every one hour if their demands were not met.They demanded the release of a terrorist who was captured by the government last month during an operation. The government had only three options: a) to release the terrorist b) to ignore the threat and get all people on board killed c) to perform a surgical strike during the next refueling session.

The government opted for option c. The surgical strike team consisted of highly skilled commandos who were trained in such rescue missions. The commandos pretending to be refueling the plane stormed into the plane and had concealed the latest FMG (Folding Machine Gun) which they unleashed to kill all eleven terrorists on board with minor bullet injuries to hostages.

After the strike was over, all passengers including the software testers on board stood up and clapped for quite sometime while commandos were preparing to off board the passengers. The news had become viral across the world and there were a lot of people waiting to receive the passengers. The conference organizers felt proud to receive the software testers who were on board this flight that had been rescued.

On the request of the conference organizers, those software testers decided to talk on what lessons can be learnt from the experience to software testing. With a huge round of applause, one of them came on stage, held the microphones and in a bold voice said, “Those commandos used a fully automatic machine gun to kill all the terrorists. That indicates that we should make our testing fully automatic to find all bugs”. Every tester in the hall clapped for the great lesson they learnt. 

Moral of the story: Testers and Test management have forgotten to appreciate their own colleagues and consider processes and tools help them achieve their goals.  Update: Also quoting Julian Harty : "Automation should be a servant, not master of our Software delivery"

If you have a colleague whom you want to appreciate and don't mind doing that in the comments section here, just go for it. Let me start.


Pradeep Soundararajan said...

I want to appreciate Dhanasekar Subramaniam for inspiring testers at Moolya by his superb work of bringing lot of invisible things of a project / product to light and helping our client get the value. Hats off!

Ravisuriya said...


I'm very happy. Keep delivering the values needed.


Ravisuriya said...


I'm very happy. Keep delivering the values needed.

In one of my previous employer place, my manager addressed testing team saying "we need commandos, who can make testing goal accomplished knowing the situation in what we are now."

I still keep remembering his words when I take up test activities every day.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Pradeep. I should thank Moolya for emphasizing on personal freedom and responsibility of ever tester. Looking forward for more such glorious moments for me and Moolya. I got a long list of people to appreciate. I'll post as a separate comment.
-Dhanasekar S

Curtis S said...

Once again you have anticipated my thoughts and written them down first. Not only are they first, they are better. Your metaphor of a hostage situation is much better than mine. I wanted to use a stuffed rabbit toy and a wind up bear. Now that I see yours, I know mine would have been too playful and childish.

Anonymous said...

I would like to opt a way to fire bullets, no matter what type of gun it is.
I would like to thank myself having an undefined eagerness to learn things in Automation Testing.
Last but not least to the people like Pradeep who always love to share their knowledge and experience.

tarun k said...

very bad inspiration and I hope you are not generalizing it with "All Test Automation Engineers & their passion for test automation"

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


You watched the movie inception? Everyday, I get into people's dreams and steal ideas from them :)

Maybe, this one I stole it from you and you don't know that. The movie name would be extraction :)

On a serious note: Not all people would get a metaphor, so your metaphor also helps. Thanks for appreciation.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Tarun K,

Bad inspiration? What do you mean by that? Can you explain in detail so that I will be able to help you.

Abhishek057 said...

The most required Quote that each Tester and the Test Management should have in mind: "Automation should be a servant, not master of our Industry". Thanks for awakening us!. I will pass this Quote to as many Test Industry people as I can.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Please quote Julian Harty.

Prabhat Nayak said...

I have been an automation engineer for last 1 and half years. In these days i have learned a lot of things on automation, especially the limitations of it. As per my understanding, there is nothing called "Automation Testing". Testing can't be automated for it needs intelligence and no tool in the world has intelligence in it. What we are doing thorugh automation tools can be termed as "Automation Checking". And the expectation from automation tools has been rised considerably higher. One such ironical expectation is one of my clients who once stated "We want atlest 90% of our testing efforts to be automated, if not all". Does he really understand testing?

I am a big fan of exploratory testing. It is one of the most efficient and effective way of testing. Can any tool perform exploratory testing? You bet, NO!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Self Proclaimed Testing Expert,

I think you have run out of interesting things to say in your blogs a long time ago. How long can you keep at criticizing the so-called bad guys who dont understand testing using analogies that arent even funny? Do you even understand the first thing about test automation? When did you last say anything technical, original or meaningful in your blogs? I would suggest you stop misleading young testers and spend that time actually learning new tools, techniques and technologies that are out there. And then maybe you can preach about what good testing is all about.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Dear God (who posted the comment as Anonymous),

You opened my eyes. You enlightened me. Thanks. I shall sincerely follow your advice. If you are saying, it must be right.

Yours truly,

-- Pradeep Soundararajan

Anonymous said...

Appreciate you for being a desi testing hero who testers can look upto and model themselves ... you are an inspiration ...

Rajat P said...

Hi Pradeep

FMG and AK56 both are automatic weapons. Only difference is in the intentions of the person using the weapon (Tool)
Terrorists used it for destructive purposes, but commandos used it for saving lives.

Someone has rightly said that
"A Fool with a tool is still a Fool"

but my version is

"A tester with a tool can be cool" ;)


Pradeep Soundararajan said...


"A fool with a tool is still a fool" -- Marshal McLuhan

Your quote is cool, too. You may want to improvise it to "A good tester with a tool is better than a bad tester with hundred" which makes what you want to convey more explicit.

tarun k said...

@Pradeep, This is bad inspiration -

"“Those commandos used a fully automatic machine gun to kill all the terrorists. That indicates that we should make our testing fully automatic to find all bugs”."

I should have been more precise with my first comment #:-S

Ashish Haryani said...

Nicely portrayed! I think if the automation engineer said "we should automate our products to identify all bugs", he has no knowledge about automate-able products; it is WRONG to automate an unstable product at first! Automation should ONLY be used to reduce time occupied by testing most stable (almost defect free) parts of a product that is going to exist for years to come.

Harish kumar said...

HI Pradeep,
That was an excellent blog article .. Appreciate the way it was completely organised to show all of us , how much we are dependent on the tools rather than our skills.

Jagjeet said...

Hey Pradeep,
Thanks you for posting a rich blogs ! and this one is really nice ! Keep it up

Gokul said...


I don't understand why you hate automation. Yes, its definitely a bad idea to dream 100% automation, also to 'automate to find bugs'.

But In my experience, I can say that Automation testing won't find bugs, but it helps testers saving time to do more manual testing and find more bugs
through manual testing. In my project, I have 1000 test cases ( and growing) out of which 600 test cases are checking the GUI
which is tested and rechecking is mentally tiresome task, but if it cracks, leads to a blocker defect. Do you want me to just click and check all the GUI operations for every build? what is the harm in automating
(possible) test cases, so that I don't have to spend my time there and can use that time for more important test cases.

Moreover automation became a norm for any testers in these days. If you take job descriptions of any new testing job offer, you
can notice that 'experience in automation' became a norm.

Many companies requires experience in one scripting language (like perl, python etc), one high level language (like java) and database skills apart from specific skills.
So in this age of enormous testing resumes, automation skills are required to prove your manual testing skills :-) .

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


Just because I love Sachin, does it mean I hate Shewag?

My idea of automation is different from yours and that is why you see that I hate automation. Any use of tools to help testing be done better is automation. I generate lots of test data through tools and it automates, do I hate it? Hell, No!

Think on these lines:

There is:

Test Data Automation
Test Design Automation
Test Execution Automation
Test Report Automation
and so on.

Talk to hundred testers and tell me if you speak about test automation do they think of at least as many things I mentioned or just Test Execution Automation.

Aruna said...

Does the moral "we should make our testing fully automatic to find all bugs" truly make a great lesson?.

Automated tests doesn't necessarily translate to good tests that find all bugs. The moral sounds a bit orthodox to me.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


I suggest you to re-read it without the bias that you appeared to have read it with.

Maybe my writing skill is that poor.

bharani. r said...

nice blog and interesting to learn the moral,I hope, by learning small tips, it shows wide range to learn in the test environment. And, I think, really commandos teachs me with good point. Thanks for posting such good blog and valuable points....