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Move a Little Faster and Break Less Things

Move Faster and Break Less Things

The phrase, “Move fast and break things” was Facebook’s motto for many years 🔨 Although this is no longer the motto at Facebook, it does summarize the way many tech companies work even today. Even if companies don’t explicitly have this as their motto, every company knows the importance of things like “time to market.” We all face pressure to release quickly, but can we do it without compromising on quality? 🤔

In the TV show Blacklist one of the main characters (Raymond Reddington) says that it is easy to move quickly if you don’t care about quality. However, I’m willing to bet that if you are reading this post you care about quality. In fact, I think everyone should care about quality. Quality is an underestimated business growth driver in my opinion. So how do you navigate this balance? How quickly can we move while still caring about quality? I don’t think there is one simple answer to that question, but let’s explore a couple of ways to speed things up without sacrificing quality.

Data Generation

One of the ways to move faster without sacrificing quality is to have more efficient testing. There are many ways to improve testing efficiency, but one powerful way to do this is by reducing the time spent on getting a site into the state it needs to be when you are testing. Assuming you already have some kind of continuous integration system that builds sites, data setup can improve testing efficiency.

There are many ways to go about generating data. Sometimes when we think of test automation tools, we think only in terms of creating regression tests. However, test automation can be used for many other purposes including data generation. For example, you could use API testing tools to create data using an application’s API. Similarly, you could use UI test automation tools to generate data for you automatically.

If you can get these kinds of scripts to run in your build system, you can have sites that are set up and ready for you to dive into more complicated and interesting testing. There are many ways to automate data generation and doing so can help you move a little faster 🏃‍♂️ Don’t forget that testing efficiency isn’t just about the actual tests that you run. Build good test data and not only will you be able to move a little faster, but you’ll also be able to do better testing 💪

Good Test Automation

For as long as I have been working as a software tester, managers have wanted to have more test automation. What often gets lost in this message, is that not all test automation is created equal. Test automation can help you move faster without breaking more things, but only if it is good test automation. I have seen far too many automated tests that were most assuredly not helping the team move more quickly and probably not even helping them break less things. So what does good test automation look like? Well, it needs to give actionable and timely feedback. It also needs to be efficient. This means efficient to create, but also efficient to run and maintain.

This is just a short little blog post so there is only so much I can say on the subject here, but if you are looking to speed things up without sacrificing quality, you need to take a close look at test automation. You need to figure out how to create quality products. Taking the time to learn how to create good test automation and investing in tools that can help you with this is well worth the effort.

Hard Work

Moving faster is indeed easy if you don’t care about breaking things, but if you want to have both speed and quality it is going to be hard work. There are no magic bullets for this ✨ You can’t just implement a new process or a new methodology or a new tool and expect it to allow you to move faster while keeping high quality. This takes hard work 😓 But don’t be discouraged by that.

Hard work can be incredibly rewarding! Find the tools that will help you with this. Learn the principles of good test design. Think deeply about the ways that you leverage tools to help you solve this problem. Tweak the processes. Study the methodologies. With hard work and persistence, you can move a little faster a break a few less things.

Keep doing that month after month, and year after year, and you will see some pretty astounding results! 🤩 Move fast and break things doesn’t work anymore, but with some hard work and careful thinking, you can move a little faster and break a few less things 😉

Remember: we all face pressure to release quickly, but we CAN do it without compromising on quality!
What is your motto to speed things up without sacrificing quality? 🌟

About the author

Dave Westerveld

Dave Westerveld is an experienced tester who has been involved in various aspects of the testing role. As a strong exploratory tester, he has learned how to leverage many different tools to enhance his testing powers. He has also been involved in many automation projects including building out new automation frameworks. In addition he has helped transition several large and expensive automation suites into lighter weight, higher value systems. A speaker at several conferences, Dave also blogs about his thoughts and experiences at offbeattesting.com

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