Have you ever thought about how much work your automated test actually help you do?
I mean real honest work. Don’t worry if it’s low, because for most teams it is. There can be a lot of waste in the automation creation process. Creating unnecessary automated test cases is a huge waste for Test teams. Multiple scripts that test the same thing, for example…
One way to think about waste is in terms of push and pull systems. A push system produces as much product as the company can produce and then gets it out to the customer. The result is usually large inventories.
A pull system only produces what the team needs and has asked for. You want to have as much “pull” in your systems as you can. Toyota has become legendary for these types of systems. You might also hear this concept referred to as “just-in-time production”.
I think of it this way—there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. No more. No less.
Visual indicators allow for communication and sharing, but if you don’t have a way of seeing them the standard practice won’t be followed. This leads to breakdown and waste.
Problems have a way of bubbling up to the surface. The longer you let them simmer the bigger the problem will be when it surfaces. The goal should be to create standardized work processes that bring issues and problems to the surface, while also allowing people are part of the process.
In The Toyota Way, Jeffery K. LikerJeffrey talks about how Toyota has identified seven primary types of non value-adding waste in its business: over-production, motion (of operator or machine), waiting (of operator or machine), conveyance, processing itself, inventory (raw material), and correction (rework and scrap), and untapped employee creativity.
- Overstaffing — hiring people 3 – 6 months before you need them.
- Overproduction — produce test cases, automation, etc that isn’t 100% needed (I would settle 80% needed).
- Waiting — information, automation to pass, builds to pass, deployments to environments, development to be finished.
- Over-processing — meetings, convoluted test scripts, or fallowing process that are not necessary or are incorrectly executed.
- Untapped employee creativity — not enlisting and empowering your team, both intellectually and emotionally, in the testing process.
If you want to avoid a push process stray away from the things above.