Session 9 - Automation - Lesson plan

Learning objectives

By the end of the session students will be able to:

  • Describe what automation is within the context of software testing

  • Break down an application to discover automation opportunities

  • Describe the different characteristics of automated checks

  • Choose specific tools for specific problems that can contribute to a successful automation strategy

Before the session

Students will be recommended to view the following videos:


Start time

End time


Mentor notes




Introduction to the session

  • Ground rules

  • What we are covering tonight including covering before session learning material

  • Other business




Small Group discussion

Group up with a mentor. Discuss how you would define automation.

Start the conversation by giving a brief description of your experience with automation

Encourage students in your group to make observations and ask questions. Employ active listening techniques



Small Group discussion

In the groups try to think of ways in which automation:

Enhances testers both in a positive and negative way

Reverses a testers value when automation is pushed too far

Retrieves a testers skill that is lost without automation

Obsolesces other testing activities or tools

Write ideas on a post it notes and add to the big whiteboard

When students come up with ideas, encourage them to explore the idea deeply. What could be the opposite to what they are saying? What ways could their ideas impact other testing activities?

The four sections are based upon Mcluhans law of media model that you can read up on here:

Four laws of media quadrant printouts for each group, post it notes



Big group discussion

Clinic hosts will group the post it notes and go over discussion points from post it notes.

Hosts will also share their own experiences and points.

Get involved in sharing your experiences, but please remain conscious not to dominate the conversations

Whiteboard, whiteboard pens



Food break



Group exercise - Automation strategy exercise

Students and mentors will group up into larger groups than standard. The group will choose who will be mimicking the activity of a product and who will be recording down details of the product and modelling the product.

Those acting out the product will be given cue cards that they will read and react to based upon actions carried out by others in the group.

The others will ask questions of the product and draw up a model on a piece of paper.

The goal of this exercise is to highlight the many technologies and interfaces of a product. By modelling the product we can discover information to help us judge automation activities.

Encourage students to create a flow model of technologies and how they connect to one another as this will be used in the next exercise.

Cue cards, A3 paper, pens



Whiteboard session

Instructors visit each group and tell them about the next actions

Let the Mentors know that they should now add Risks to their model

Whiteboard and pens



Group exercise - Automation implementation

Groups will take their models and identify risks that could occur in the different technologies and determine tools and automation approaches to check those risks.

Encourage the students to first of all think of risks before diving into tools.

If you have ideas of tools for specific risks, share them. If encourage students to search for tools

Models from the previous exercise, post-it notes and pens



Big group debrief

Students from groups are asked to share their model and strategy for different automation activities

Encourage one of your students to debrief on behalf of their team.



Wrap up

Hosts will wrap up the session and offer additional activities to carry out after the session on the Ministry of Testing Club forum