Gray is a color that we derive from a mixture of black and white. Mixing more black in creates a darker shade of gray. The addition of extra white lightens the shade of gray. Pretty simple thought ... I know! But it was a powerful enough thought for me to head down to the laboratory to stitch together the following idea:
THE GRAY SCALE OF TEST AUTOMATION
Let's break this down in the simplest of terms:
White = White Box Test Knowledge/Skills
Black = Black Box Test Knowledge/Skills
Think of this as a virtual management tool for building out a test automation team. If you were diligent, you would research the going rates for Testers, Test Automation Engineers, and Developers. You could put those in the scale and then figure out your budget and your needs. Testers would fall on the black side of the scale, Test Automation Engineers would fall in the middle of the scale, and developers would fall on the white side of the scale. Do you just need record/playback automation? You could hire people black side. Do you need automation framework/architectural design? Hire somewhere in the middle of the scale. How about people that not only develop tests, test automation, and frameworks ... but also can work on bug fixes. Hire on the black side of the scale. Ideally, you would want to look at picking people up all over the scale. Take a look at your needs and your budget. Ideally, you would pick up a couple of "dark gray" testers and filling the rest of the team with "black" testers. This would give you the ability to design the architecture that supports complex automation AND record-playback scripting. If you strike a deal with the development team, stealing some of their dollars, you could add the "white" tester. That's the one that changes the tire while the car is moving!!
Deep thoughts? Nah ... just a simple rambling of the mind. I am simply offering a thought on how to flesh out a test team. They don't all have to be hardcore automation engineers. However, you shouldn't just rely on your record-playback testing either.
C'mon ... just think about it would ya?!? If you don't like the idea ... let me know. I'm open to suggestions!